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Super breaks

Mar 7, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

The modern English vernacular has in the past 20 years or so come to include the term Super Tuesday, and it has nothing to do with a football game.

It's the time in the residential primary campaign when a lot of states hold their primaries or caucuses on the same day.

Super Tuesday 2012 came this week, and it brought us electoral competition in 10 states as hotly contested a primary season as we've seen in many elections in the Republican Party.

Wyoming was part of Super Tuesday this year, although our state's long and complicated caucusing system is only about half finished.

Mitt Romney won six of the 10 states Tuesday, scraping out the narrowest of victories in the big prize, Ohio. Rick Santorum was just a millimeter behind Romney there and found enough support in three Bible Belt states to claim more than enough justification to keep slugging it out with Romney in the weeks ahead.

Even Newt Gingrich got a win (in Georgia, his home state), which probably will be enough to bring in another million dollars in campaign funds and keep rolling through the Deep South primaries coming up.

Although Romney is having a much bumpier ride toward the nomination than he might have expected, virtually every time he's been defeated the timing of the next important primary has favored him.

He was announced as the winner in Iowa, and before it was learned that Santorum actually had won, Romney already had taken New Hampshire.

He lost to Gingrich in South Carolina but then had three weeks, not just one, to outspend Gingrich in Florida. Newt went in with a nice lead in the polls, but the relentless Romney machine whittled it all away during the long layover, and Romney won.

In February, Santorum pulled off the four-state upset in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, and Romney went staggering into Michigan, the first big industrial state to vote. Again, however, there was an extra week to bludgeon Santorum with money and attacks, and Romney escaped with victory.

To Ohio this week, where Santorum showed a hefty lead following the Michigan primary. Had Ohio voted just a week after Michigan, things might have been different. As it was, there was extra campaign time again, and it allowed the well-funded Romney organization to pound away at Santorum, who was outspent 4-1 by Romney -- who escaped with a victory by less than 1 percent.

Each time a potential tide-turning situation has confronted Romney, he's had the time and money to stem it. Moving forward. In a close campaign, even the richest candidate needs a few breaks, and Romney so far has had a wealth of those too.

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