By Carole on Feb 28, 2012
No matter the outcome of today's Republican primary in Michigan, the entire 2012 GOP presidential race will most likely be remembered in terms of before and after February 28. An overwhelming victory by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in his self-proclaimed home state would finally back up the alleged inevitability of his nomination with voter support. A close second place finish for former Senator Rick Santorum makes this a two-man race that Mr. Santorum could actually win as the next batch of states holding primaries favor a more conservative candidate. But if Mr. Santorum manages to defeat Mr. Romney in Michigan, earth shaking is not too drastic a term for what will follow.
According to Republican strategist Matthew Dowd, "If Rick Santorum wins tonight it's the equivalent of a 9.0 on a Richter scale. I mean it is going to shake Washington, it's going to shake Republican establishment it's just going to shake things to their very core. And I think what you're going to see are the conversations that have been going on behind quiet doors saying we need another candidate in this race."
Congressman Peter King (R-New York) was even more specific this morning about what could happen just hours from now. Appearing on CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien, Representative King said, "I think you will start seeing more activity among the Republican establishment, whatever that is, talking to people like Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels. If Mitt Romney has not been able to break loose at all, can't win Michigan, it raises real problems. Rick Santorum has had a lot of negatives over the last week. If he is still able to win Michigan, that shows a real problem that Mitt Romney has."
For months, Republican voters have switched their allegiance from non-Romney candidate to non-Romney candidate desperate to send a strong message to the party establishment that they will not settle for an uninspiring money man with a less than conservative record.
A Romney defeat in Michigan tonight would be the loudest message yet and the big question then will be who will answer the call?
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