GOP Primary: Top 5 Need-to-Know Details About Tonight's Contests in Miss., Ala., Hawaii

David Goldman/AP Photo

  1. States/Territories Voting:  Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa
  2. Total delegates at stake: 119 - 75 percent of which come from Alabama and Mississippi
  3. Earliest poll closing: 8 p.m. (Alabama/Mississippi)
  4. Latest poll closing: 2 a.m. (Hawaii)
  5. Recent Polls: The most recent polls in Alabama and Mississippi show tight three-way contests in both states.

There's been no recent polling in Hawaii but Santorum's daughter Elizabeth, Romney's son Matt and Ron Paul's son Ronnie are campaigning there this week, suggesting that this will be a competitive contest (either that or the kids have totally punked their parents into letting them "work" in Hawaii).

The Storyline:   Alabama and Mississippi are the big prizes. Rick Santorum wants a win so he can solidify his standing as the "undisputed" conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  Newt Gingrich wants to prove he can win outside of Georgia. And, Romney wants to put to bed the narrative that he can't win in southern states with large Evangelical populations. Romney is also helped by the fact that Gingrich and Santorum are going to split the very conservative vote, giving him the opportunity to squeak by with a win or two.

Regardless of what happens tonight, Santorum and Romney's campaign schedules today make it clear that they are plowing ahead to the next contests. Santorum will be hosting an election night party in Louisiana (which hosts its primary on March 24) and Romney will be spending the day/night in Missouri (which caucuses on March 17). Gingrich is in Birmingham tonight, but heads to Illinois (votes March 20) tomorrow.

  1. Delegates at stake: 50 total
  2. Poll opening: 8 a.m.  EST.
  3. Poll closing: 8 p.m. EST.
  4. 2008 Results: Mike Huckabee won here on Super Tuesday 2008 with 41% of the vote, McCain got 37% and Romney got 18%.
  5. Interesting Facts: The Pro-Romney's SuperPAC Restore Our Future has drastically outspent the pro-Santorum and pro-Gingrich SuperPACs combined by more than 2-1. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley voted for Santorum, but said he would not publicly endorse.
  1. Delegates At Stake: 40
  2. Poll opening: 8 a.m. EST.
  3. Poll closing: 8 p.m. EST. But, based on past experience and current projections, the Mississippi vote could be slow to come in.
  4. 2008 Results: In 2008, Mississippi voted on March 11, more than a month after Mitt Romney had dropped from the race, and John McCain defeated Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul handily: McCain 79%, Huckabee 13%, Paul 4%.
  5. Interesting Facts: Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant endorsed Romney on Thursday of last week.
Hawaii (Caucus)
  1. Delegates At Stake: 20
  2. Poll opening: Noon EST.
  3. Poll Closing: Earliest projection time is 2 a.m. EST on Wednesday morning. We will not have entrance/exit-poll information on Hawaii.
  4. 2008 Results: Hawaii selected its delegates by convention in May, after McCain had sealed the nomination. All of Hawaii's 20 delegates voted for McCain at the Republican National Convention.
  5. Interesting Facts: Hawaii is 5% Mormon, and Romney will likely receive a lot of support from the BYU-Hawaii campus.
American Samoa (Caucus)
  1. Delegates At Stake: 9
  2. Poll opening: American Samoa is seven hours behind us. Caucus meetings open at 11 p.m. EST.
  3. Poll closing:  The meetings close at 1 a.m. EST there.
  4. 2008 Results: McCain won all nine delegates in American Samoa in 2008, and this year the national committeewoman, Amata Coleman Radewagen, says there's excitement about Romney.
  5. Interesting Facts: No presidential candidate has ever visited American Samoa during a race.