Election 2012
11:49 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Mitt Romney wins popular vote in a close race in Michigan

Mitt Romney pulled out a close victory over Rick Santorum in Michigan tonight. The win gives Romney momentum heading into his next challenge - "Super Tuesday" - when 10 states will hold primaries next Tuesday.

Update 11:49 p.m.

An analyst for the New York Times says Romney's "anti-bailout position" did not hurt him in this race:

Even Mr. Santorum's campaign made a last-minute push to get disgruntled union workers to vote against Mr. Romney for this reason. While primary voters were almost evenly divided on the issue, those who supported the bailout were no more likely to back Mr. Santorum over Mr. Romney.

11:25 p.m.

The Michigan Republican Party is tallying the results for Michigan's congressional districts. There are 30 delegates up for grabs in the state.

Even though Romney won the popular vote, Santorum can still pick up delegates by winning in a district. The delegate distribution will be determined after the Party crunches the numbers.

10:56 p.m.

Mitt Romney addressed his supporters in Novi, Michigan after his victory.

MPRN's Laura Weber is in Novi, she reports "Romney gave a 15 minute speech to a room full of excited supporters. He spoke as if he is a shoe-in for the GOP nomination to face President Obama in the general election this fall."

Romney didn't mention Rick Santorum in his speech, but instead spent much of the speech going after the policies of President Barack Obama.

The Romney campaign released text of his speech - from that release:

"President Obama is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated.  I will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter," Romney said. "He raised the national debt.  I will cut, cap, and balance the budget. He passed Obamacare.  I’ll repeal it. He lost our AAA credit rating; I’ll restore it. He rejected the Keystone Pipeline.  I’ll approve it.  I will open up our lands for development, so we can finally get the energy we need at a price we can afford."

Here are some highlights from the speech blogged by NPR.org's Mark Memmott:

  • The election is about "two very different visions of America," says Mitt Romney. One is "a nation of and by Washington" and the other (his) is a nation "of and by a free people." 4 minutes ago
  • After saying he would create jobs and raise wages, Mitt Romney also says that if he's president "we will finally balance America's budget." 6 minutes ago
  • "My highest priority will be worrying about your job, not saving my own," Mitt Romney says as he continues to address supporters in Novi, Mich. 8 minutes ago
  • "We've seen enough of this president over the past three years to know we don't need another five years of President Obama," Mitt Romney tells supporters. 11 minutes ago
  • Turning his attention to President Obama, Mitt Romney says the president has steered the nation "toward debt and deficits and decline." 12 minutes ago
  • "Our campaign is about restoring the promise of America," Mitt Romney says, and the themes he is going to stress are "more jobs, less debt [and] smaller government." 14 minutes ago
  • "What a win. This is a big night. Thanks you guys!" Mitt Romney says as he greets supporters in Novi, Mich. 16 minutes ago

10:30 p.m.

NPR is projecting that Mitt Romney has won the popular vote in Michigan.

MPRN's Laura Weber who is at Romney's campaign headquarters in Novi reports:

Mitt Romney's staffers are passing out signs that read "Michigan Believes" to supporters gathered in Novi. Perhaps an indication Romney will speak soon, and perhaps declare victory in Michigan? With most precincts reporting, Romney appears to be pulling away with the lead.

Votes are still rolling in and even though Romney is projected to win the popular vote, Santorum still could pull in delegates from Michigan depending on how he performs in Michigan's congressional districts.

More from Mark Memmott at NPR.org:

  • Mitt Romney's campaign just posted an acceptance tweet from the candidate: "I take great pride in my Michigan roots and am humbled to have received so much support here these past few weeks. On to the March contests." (link) 43 seconds ago
  • Though he came in second statewide in Michigan, "Rick Santorum could get slightly more delegates" from the state today, says NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving, because most will be awarded based on results in individual congressional districts. Here's how it works: (link) 2 minutes ago
  • About 70% of Michigan's precincts have reported. Mitt Romney has about 42% of the vote, to Rick Santorum's 37%. 5 minutes ago