Maryland and Wisconsin GOP primary discussion thread

Former Senator Rick Santorum has indicated that he’ll stay in the presidential race at least until the Pennsylvania primary later this month, but tonight could be the de facto end of his candidacy. Early returns from Maryland show Mitt Romney above 50 percent of the vote and Santorum below 30 percent. Wisconsin should be a closer contest, but recent opinion polls indicate that Romney is the likely winner.

President Barack Obama targeted Romney by name in a speech to Associated Press writers and editors today. Click here for the full transcript.

I’ll update this post later with more results from Maryland and Wisconsin. Any comments about the presidential campaign are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: Santorum conceded early, speaking on television less than a half-hour after Wisconsin polls closed. I’m surprised, because unofficial results indicate that Romney didn’t win by much there: 42 percent for the front-runner, 38 percent for Santorum, 12 percent for Ron Paul, and 6 percent for Newt Gingrich. Maryland was a blowout, as expected: 49 percent for Romney, 29 percent for Santorum, 11 percent for Gingrich, 10 percent for Paul. Romney received 70 percent of the vote among roughly 4,000 Republicans who voted in Washington, DC. Santorum wasn’t on the ballot there. Paul received 12 percent and Gingrich 11 percent.

Excerpts from last night’s speeches by Santorum and Romney are after the jump.  


“The clock starts tonight,” Santorum said to supporters in Pennsylvania. “Half the delegates in this process have been selected, and who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?”

Speaking on familiar turf, the former two-term senator from the Keystone State urged supporters to dismiss attacks from his opponents ahead of Pennsylvania’s primary later in April.

“You know me. You know how hard I work,” Santorum said. “They’ll say all the things, that I’m someone who doesn’t stand up for what I believe in. You know me.” […]

In an interview on Monday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Santorum acknowledged that “April would be a very tough month for us,” but he intends to compete through May and onto the convention.

“May is rich with delegates and are strong states for us — states like Texas and Arkansas and Kentucky and Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina. Those are the states that we know we can get this back, right back to where it is right now, which is a lot closer than what Mitt Romney and the pundits are spinning,” he said.

Unfortunately for Santorum, it’s way past halftime in the race for the GOP nomination. My guess is that Romney will win the Pennsylvania primary, thanks to strength in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Romney sounded extremely confident last night and focused his speech on President Obama.

You know, we all know that President Obama cannot run on his record. We know that he can’t run on his broken promises. And after the 2010 election, when the voters told him to go a different direction, to change course, did he moderate? Did he do that? No. He doubled down on his partisan agenda. So, if he can’t run on his record and if he won’t change course, then what does he have left? You know, we found out today he is going to try to divide us in order to distract us.

You know, I seem to remember him saying that he was going to be a uniter, not a divider. Frankly I think this is one of the worst of his broken promises. We don’t need a campaigner in chief. We need a commander in chief. We need a leader that America deserves. […]

This campaign is going to deal with many complicated issues. But there is a basic choice that we’re going to face. The president has pledged to transform America. And he’s spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new government-centered society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of a opportunity society led by free people and free enterprises.

(APPLAUSE) ROMNEY: And you know, the different visions we have I think are a product of the different lives we’ve led, the life experiences, the values we have. When he was a community organizer and communities were hurt by plant closings, his reaction was to turn to the government for help. He saw free enterprise as the villain and government as the solution.

He never seemed to grasp the very basic point that a plant closes when a business loses money. So today, when the president attacks business, and when his policies make it more difficult for business to grow and prosper, he’s also attacking the very communities he had wanted to help. Or at least that’s how it works when America is working.

But under Barack Obama, America hasn’t been working. The ironic tragedy is that the community organizer who wanted to help those that were hurt by a plant closing became the president on whose watch more jobs have been lost any time since the Great Depression.

In Barack Obama’s government-centered society, the government has to do more because the economy is doomed to do less, because when you attack business and you vilify success, you are going to have less business and less success.

And then, of course, the debate becomes about how much to extend unemployment insurance because you’ve guaranteed there will be millions more unemployed. In Barack Obama’s government-centered society, tax increases not only become a necessity, but also a desired tool for social justice.

In that world of shrinking means, there is a finite amount of money. And as someone once famously said, you need to have some taxes to spread the wealth around.


ROMNEY: In Barack Obama’s government-centered society, government spending always increases because, well, why not? There’s always someone who’s entitled to something more and who’s willing to vote for anyone who will give them something more.

Now, by the way, we know where that kind of — you know, that transformation of a — of a free society into a government-centered society leads, because there are other nations that have followed that path. And it leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt and stagnant wages. This is beginning to sound familiar, isn’t it?

I don’t want to transform America. I want to restore to America the economic values of freedom and opportunity and limited government that has made us the powerhouse of the world.

  • MD turnout

    somewhere near historical lows. One reason: most of the candidates haven’t bothered. Ben Cardin made his way to some metro stations for the first time this past weekend.

    Biggest upset of the night (?), maybe, based on early voting: Dem primary, MD-06 (old MD-08 and MD-06, Van Hollen/Bartlett). Establishment favorite Garagiola may be upset by challenger Delaney to take on Roscoe Bartlett in new MD-06, which now includes some of the DC suburbs. Dems are trying to oust Bartlett via redistricting. Establishment means everyone but Bill Clinton, who has been robocalling for Delaney.

    Second surprise: turnout highest in Prince Georges and Charles Counties (??) PG is usually at the apathetic end, Charles is next-door to the south. It may be the case that there’s better than expected turnout for Anthony Muse, who is challenging Ben Cardin for US-Senate. While Cardin will win, regardless, any better-than-expected performance by Muse will re-start the rumblings about the lack of support for African American candidates for US Senate in MD.

    It is hard, under any circumstances, to root for Muse. He sent out the following mailer, highlighting that Jews have political representation at rates higher than census vs African Americans. Basically, Muse is a creep. He is also a NOM favorite.

    Speaking of which, apparently their troops are out in full force collecting signatures based on a peppy “Would you like to see gay marriage on the ballot in Nov” question w/ lots of smiles, as though it would be a position favoring marriage equality.

    Hoyer actually had a challenger on the ballot — a woman I’ve never heard of.

    Have no idea what is going on GOP side, but I’m sure Romney will win unless nobody showed up.

    • Cardin crushing Muse statewide

      (US-Sen) even winning thus far in Prince Georges (Muse’s home county), although by a much narrower margin.

      MD-06, looks like Delaney to unseat Roscoe Bartlett in Nov.

      Pres – GOP – Santorum now under 30%

      Delegates to the Dem convention;

      all UNCOMMITTED in double digits. One, in CD-07 has almost 30%.

      Steny Hoyer’s challenger “Cathy Johnson Pendelton’ has 15.3%

    • why did Bill Clinton

      get involved against the establishment candidate in that Congressional race? Interesting.

      If Muse’s mailer got any significant local media coverage, it probably generated way more Jewish turnout against him than AA turnout for him.

      • I believe

        Delaney was a big supporter/fundraiser for the HRC campaign. The Clintons are very good about remembering their friends. Delaney is described locally simply as “wealthy Potomac businessman/banker.”

        He lives just outside the district by one block. I learned recently that Donna Edwards also endorsed him — I’m guessing this was a finger to the MD pols who screwed up her district; not voting-wise, but putting her strong $$ supporters outside her district.

        O’Malley was phone-banking for Garagiola. The new MD-06 was designed for him by MD power brokers. He had the SEIU support, was considered a shoe-in. He makes all the rounds. (I met him briefly at a PP event a few years ago.) The magnitude of the loss is a real shocker. That said, the district itself is dysfunctional and unfair to its constituents. It combines the “panhandle” region (Appalachia, former manufacturing) with the wealthiest area in the state near DC.

        Muse’s mailer did get a lot of publicity in the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post, none of it good, of course. He is a state senator who got in because he’s a bishop/pastor at some megachurch and his wife is a local news personality. The type of stuff he put in the mailer isn’t anything I didn’t hear during Mfume-Cardin campaign four years ago. He ran a 100% resentment campaign with a splash of social conservatism. He didn’t do much in terms of campaign structure because he was planning to exploit low turnout. Apparently Cardin did campaign hard in other parts of the state. While Muse did manage some success (but not the majority) in his home county, the other logical area for his resentment campaign was Baltimore, where Cardin is probably the strongest.

        An aside: I’m about to read Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American city

        Baltimore is the setting for (and typifies) one of the most penetrating examinations of bigotry and residential segregation ever published in the United States. Antero Pietila shows how continued discrimination practices toward African Americans and Jews have shaped the cities in which we now live. Eugenics, racial thinking, and white supremacist attitudes influenced even the federal government’s actions toward housing in the 20th century, dooming American cities to ghettoization.

        The author is a former Baltimore Sun reporter, and his work is highly-regarded. Baltimore pioneered these practices that were also adopted by many other American cities. I think what people underestimate is how deeply-rooted resentment campaigns are, so it’s not as simple as demanding tolerance or wagging fingers. The so-called “NOM strategy” actually relies on goading liberals to make accusations of bigotry. I have long thought this is a counter-productive reaction.

        Muse is still a creep, though.

  • Delaney's win

    You can look at Delaney’s win in several different ways.  I think electing a guy like this deflects a lot of the criticism that Republicans throw up about Democrats not knowing how to create jobs.  

    I think you can look at his win in another way as well, having read the articles about his company’s business holdings and way of doing things, I think we should all agree on a simpler tax code.  

    • interesting comment

      the part of the district near the PA line might as well be small town Iowa. I bike through there often, and have stopped to talk to people in Cumberland and similar. They talk about “brain drain” and about the major companies that left the area in the 80s and 90s. That part of the district does slant conservative, so a pro-business attitude works. However, I thought that “wealthy from Potomac” would be a problem. If you look at ranked lists of most affluent areas in the country, Potomac is always in the top 10. Some people automatically cop an attitude.

      There is a biotech corridor in the district as well, near the DC area.

      Well, one of the establishment power brokers (an ass) was bitching this morning that Delaney needs to show his tax returns so that we can see if he pays more or less in taxes than Romney.

      Turnout was worst in the Dem strongholds, at around 14%. Sure, not many competitive races, but I’m not yet convinced turnout will meet the polling expectations.  

      • Good info.

        Romney may have a larger effective tax rate than John Delaney, but it is hard to say.  The same can possibly be said about two of my favorite politicians, Jared Polis and Mark Warner,  Jared actually cites The Fountainhead as one of his favorite books.  Boulder gets the same reaction that the Potomac does.  

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