Romney vs. Obama: weak challenger faces weak incumbent
After five decisive primary victories Tuesday, Mitt Romney promises ‘a better America’ to general election voters. He has work to do on likability, but a weak economy hobbles Obama.
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In Delaware, Newt Gingrich made a push to win, campaigning heavily there and securing the endorsements of key Republicans, including a last-minute switch by the state’s GOP national committeewoman, Priscilla Rakestraw. Romney still won, but with his lowest percentage of the five states, 56.5 percent. Former House Speaker Gingrich came in second with 27 percent.Skip to next paragraph
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In a speech Tuesday night in Concord, N.C., Gingrich did not drop out of the race, instead vowing to press on.
“Over the next few days, we are going to look realistically at where we’re at,” Gingrich said, who faces a campaign debt of $4 million. North Carolina holds its primary on May 8.
But going into Tuesday, questions lingered over former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who dropped out of the race more than two weeks ago, on April 10, amid signs that he might lose his home state’s primary. Romney won the Pennsylvania primary with 58 percent of the vote, and Mr. Santorum came in second with 18 percent.
“He’s the person that is going to go up against Barack Obama it’s pretty clear and we need to win this race. We need to beat Barack Obama,” Santorum said of Romney.
Morgan replied: “You just endorsed Mitt Romney?”
Santorum told Morgan he could “call it whatever you want.” Santorum also said he would be meeting with Romney staff members on Wednesday. There have been reports that Santorum will meet with Romney himself on May 4.
The Pennsylvania primary brought news of a different sort Tuesday night: Two centrist Democratic House members – part of the party’s dwindling Blue Dog coalition – lost their seats to more liberal challengers in the Democratic primary. In one race, pitting two incumbents against each other due to redistricting, Rep. Mark Critz defeated Rep. Jason Altmire. In another race, 10-term Rep. Tim Holden lost in an upset to political newcomer Matt Cartwright.
Both Congressman Altmire and Congressman Holden had voted against Obama’s health-care reform. Their defeats offer yet more evidence of growing partisan polarization in Congress, a challenge for whomever wins the presidency in November.
In the current Congress, the Blue Dog coalition has only 26 members, down from 54 in the previous Congress.