In a Sandy Primary, Is There Room for Santorum?

Every 12 years, the U.S. presidential election coincides with the one in Mexico, and 2012 is one of those years. There are a host of issues to talk about, particularly those that overlap with the Obama administration, like drug interdiction and legalization, the "Fast and Furious" gun program, and Attorney General Eric Holder's involvement, the Mexican judicial system, and NAFTA.

Still, even a perfect approach on key issues might not be enough for Santorum or another candidate to steal the vote from Romney.

Romney's campaign apparatus, consistently the most organized and well funded among all the candidates, has already paid off big with a commanding win in the neighboring Nevada caucus. And unlike in other states, a demographic with an unusually large number of Mormons will benefit Romney.

Mormons make up about 6 percent of Arizona's population, and because they're overwhelmingly Republican, their sway in the primary will be palpable.

"Mitt Romney's 'Mormon problem' ain't a problem in Arizona," said Jennifer Steen, a political science professor at Arizona State University.

Arizona's primary isn't important for its delegate count so much as it is for the momentum it will either give Romney if he wins or deny him if he loses (or barely wins). The biggest primary event of the year, Super Tuesday on March 6, is just a week later. Romney can enter that race as the decided front-runner if he wins in both Arizona and Michigan on Feb. 28, but short of that his campaign will have to do some mighty spinning to shape the narrative otherwise.

"If Santorum were to pick off a victory in one of these two states," Coughlin said, "that would be a serious dent in the Romney momentum going into Super Tuesday."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...