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Riding the Tiger > Category: Caucuses

Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

So long, Newt. Hello, General Election.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich, photo by Gage Skidmore

Today, we bid adieu to Newt Gingrich, who officially announced he will end his campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination. His campaign produced many memorable moments (check out this ABC video of Gingrich’s greatest hits), not least of which was his grandiose promise that by the end of his second term, “we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American.” Alas, after 354 days on the campaign trail and more than $4 million in debt, Gingrich only won two states (South Carolina and Georgia) out of the 38 states that have held Republican primaries/caucuses thus far. 

Santorum Wins Louisiana Primary

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum at the Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. on October 7, 2011. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Rick Santorum's definitive win in the Louisiana primary on Saturday shows that the race to become the republican candidate for president is not yet over. Santorum won 49% of the vote; Mitt Romney came in second with 27%; Newt Gingrich was third with 16%; and Ron Paul received 6%.

Though his win in the conservative Southern state was Santorum's best showing date, it does little to change the overall delegate count, in which he trails Romney by a signficant margin. It does give Santorum some momentum going into the next contests in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which he must win to keep Romney from taking the nomination.

Following Win in Kansas, Santorum Takes March 13 Southern Primaries

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum at a rally in New Hampshire.  Photo by Patrick Gensel.

In what is shaping up to be a two man race with no definitive end in sight, Rick Santorum won the GOP primaries in Mississippi and Alabama yesterday, while Mitt Romney claimed victories in the caucuses of Hawaii and American Samoa. Santorum won Alabama with 35% of the vote and Mississippi with 33%. Romney’s wins in the smaller contests of Hawaii and American Samoa were more definitive. He garnered 45% of the vote in Hawaii, and picked up all nine delegates in American Samoa.

Newt Gingrich barely edged out Romney to claim second place in the Deep South contests, giving his campaign a slight boost as the candidates hit the midway point in the presidential primary race.

Last weekend, Romney captured all 18 delegates at caucuses in two other U.S. possessions in the Pacific – Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Ron Paul took the U.S. Virgin Islands. The weekend’s main attraction, the Kansas Caucus, was won handily by Santorum (51%), who was trailed distantly by Romney (20%).

U.S. Territories and the Republican Contest

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Photo by Jason P. Heym

On Saturday, three of the five U.S. territories held their caucuses for the Republican nomination. Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands each began their caucus process on March 10, and will be followed by American Samoa on March 13, and Puerto Rico on March 18. Each of these territories will award 9 delegates, except for Puerto Rico which will award 23. And given the length and contested nature of the Republican nomination thus far, these relatively obscure contests are not being taken for granted.

Romney Ahead in Split Contests on Super Tuesday

The results of the Super Tuesday contests were a mixed bag, though former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney emerged the victor in seven of the eleven races. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won three contests, including North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, while former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich captured the vote in his home state of Georgia.

In the much anticipated Ohio primary, Romney appears to have narrowly defeated Santorum by just one percentage point.

Click "Read More" for full Super Tuesday results.

Super Tuesday: Will Romney Make It or Break It?

Super Tuesday map, 2012

States holding March 6 Super Tuesday contests

Today's guest post is from Lara M. Brown, an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and the author of "Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants."

Today, the contest either reopens or begins closing. With 422 pledged delegates at stake, Super Tuesday’s ten contests are an opportunity for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Should he amass, as Nate Silver forecasts, a majority of the day’s available delegates and come out on top in Ohio, he would again be headed towards winning the Republican nomination. Should he underperform in these races, talk of a brokered convention would again abound.

No Presidential Primary for Washington

Washington Republican Presidential Caucuses

The Washington caucus results by county were: Mitt Romney (orange), Ron Paul (yellow), and Rick Santorum (green).

On March 3, 2012, the Washington State Republican Party Caucus was held at precincts across the state with registered voters (although not necessarily Republicans—you do not have to be a registered Republican to participate in the caucus although you do sign a pledge that you consider yourself a Republican). Like most caucuses, this one involved participants gathering together to pick delegates pledged to a candidate to go on to the county convention (and then the state convention). The Republican Party also held a presidential straw poll which was won by Mitt Romney, but those results do not affect the caucus delegates in any way.

Maine Chooses Romney in Disputed Caucus (UPDATED)

With a final tally of only 84% of precincts reporting, the Maine Republican Party has declared former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney the winner of the Maine caucuses, beating runner-up Ron Paul by a slim margin. Romney received 2190 votes, or 39%, while Paul received 1996 votes for 36%. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich came in third and fourth, respectively; neither campaigned actively in the state.

The Maine caucuses hold unofficial, non-binding polls in which they ask participants to select which Presidential candidate they prefer. Some caucuses declined to participate in this poll (or were delayed by weather) before February 11, when results were officially announced. This led to some consternation, especially within the Paul camp.

UPDATE, February 17: An updated tally upholds earlier results, showing Romney beat Paul by 239 votes.

Why was the Missouri Primary Called a “Beauty Contest”?

St. Louis Gateway Arch

Photo by Bev Sykes

On February 7, 2012, Missouri held a presidential primary for the Republican candidates, the same day that Colorado and Minnesota had their caucuses. Rick Santorum won all three contests, surprising many who expected a better showing from Romney.

Many in the media referred to the Missouri primary as a “beauty contest,” because the primary did not count as it was non-binding, which means that the delegates that Missouri will send to the Republican National Convention in August will not be affected by the way voters voted in February. The Missouri Republican Party will hold caucuses beginning on March 17, 2012, that will actually decide which candidates the delegates will support at the convention in August.

So why did Missouri hold a primary that didn’t matter?

Santorum Sweeps Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri in Feb. 7 Contests

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won yesterday’s Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, as well as Missouri’s “beauty contest” primary, introducing an element of doubt into Mitt Romney’s status as frontrunner for the GOP nomination. Santorum is the only Republican contender with four notches in his belt, having previously won the much maligned Iowa caucus.

Santorum won with 55% of the vote in Missouri, 40% in Colorado, and 45% in Minnesota. Romney came in second in Missouri and Colorado, but Ron Paul claimed that position in the Minnesota contest.

Romney Takes the Nevada Caucus

Mitt Romney in October 2011

Mitt Romney at the Values Voter Summit in DC in October 2011.  Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney captured 50% of the vote in the February 4 Nevada caucuses, winning 16,486 votes, compared to runner-up Newt Gingrich’s 6,956 votes for 21% of the total. Ron Paul came in a close third with 6,175 votes (19%), and Rick Santorum finished fourth with 3,277 votes (10%).

Romney’s second straight campaign win puts some distance between him and the other candidates in the field, and confirms his status as the prohibitive front-runner in the GOP presidential race. In his victory speech, Romney focused his remarks on President Barack Obama instead of his Republican rivals, a clue to who Romney considers his real competition.

So Who Won the Iowa Caucus?  No One!  WAIT, No, Rick Santorum (UPDATED)

In a reversal of earlier reported results, the final vote certification process in Iowa has shown that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum received 34 more votes than rival Mitt Romney.

Party officials found inaccurate counts in 131 Iowa precincts, leading to a revised tally showing Santorum, with 29,839 votes, ahead of Romney, who received 29,805 votes. Initial, but uncertified, results immediately following the Caucus had Romney the victor by 8 votes.

However, results from eight precincts are missing and will not be counted, so the ultimate tally remains inconclusive.

The news comes at a pivotal moment, two days before the South Carolina primary, which is often a proving ground for the eventual GOP nominee.

UPDATE, January 21: The Iowa Republican Party has officially declared Santorum the winner of the 2012 caucuses.

Flouting the RNC Rules

Red, White, and Blue Elephant

Photo by Jonathan McIntosh

In 2010, the Republican Party changed the rules that governed the schedules for primaries and caucuses in the 2012 presidential election. The changes included allowing states that award their delegates proportionally in either a primary or caucus to hold their contests in March, but winner-take-all states have to wait until April to hold their contests.

Romney—no, Santorum—the Winner of the Iowa Caucus (UPDATED)

Rick Santorum on the campaign trail in Iowa

Rick Santorum campaigns in West Des Moines, Iowa.  Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

In the official kick-off to the 2012 horse race, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney barely edged out rival former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania to win yesterday’s Republican Party Caucus in Iowa by the slimmest of margins. Romney won 30,015 out of 122,255 cast votes, narrowly beating Santorum’s 30,007 votes. Coming in a close third was Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, followed more distantly by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman.

UPDATE, January 19:  After the official vote certification process, the Iowa Republican Party has declared Rick Santorum the winner of the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes.