WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney hopes to use the “Super Tuesday” to reaffirm its position as the uncontested leader of the race for the Republican nomination, which aims to select a candidate to face President Barack Obama in the presidential election of November in the U.S. States.
On the eve of Super Tuesday, the biggest day of voting since the early Republican primaries, Mitt Romney has raised new important support on Monday: those of the representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, Conservative Senator Tom Coburn and former Senator John Ashcroft, former Attorney General under the administration of George W. Bush.
The outcome of the voting day could again reshape the race for the Republican nomination in which several candidates have seriously reduced the gap with Mitt Romney, the most recent being Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania.
Over a third of delegates needed to obtain the Republican nomination are at stake Tuesday, more than all other primaries and caucuses that have already occurred since the start of the race. President Obama, meanwhile, has chosen this day to hold his first press conference of the year, an opportunity to divert attention from the Republicans and defend his record of economic stewardship constantly attacked by the opposition.
Mitt Romney is well positioned after his fourth consecutive victory in Saturday’s caucuses in Washington State. But many of the most conservative Republicans do not believe in the ideological purity of the former Massachusetts governor, because of his past positions on sensitive issues such as abortion, gay marriage and reform the health system.
Rick Santorum is leading the charge in a debate increasingly keen on conservative social values, but these issues threaten to overshadow economic concerns of Americans, who may well be the key to victory in November. President Obama is seen as vulnerable on the economy, which experienced great difficulties in the first three years of his presidency, after a near collapse of U.S. financial system in the last months of President George W. Bush.
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney spent the day on Sunday to campaign in Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio, four of the ten states participating in Super Tuesday.
To supporters gathered at a plant in Canton, Ohio, Mitt Romney tried to divert the discussion of social issues and bring it back to the economy.
“I look at this campaign right now and I see many people talking about many things, but we need to talk to defeat Barack Obama is to create good jobs and reduce the size of government, “said Romney.
Rick Santorum has meanwhile told the residents of Ohio that an election should be earned and not “bought” in reference to Mr. Romney’s fortune and his political machine well oiled.
“Look at what the candidates have overcome and what they offer in this country, not just how much money they have,” he said before hundreds of students and supporters at the Dayton Christian School.
“Where is the soul, which is the belief, which is the fight?” He asked.
The State’s key Super Tuesday may well be Ohio, where MM. Santorum and Romney have spent much time and invested significant resources in recent weeks. Rick Santorum’s performance in Ohio could seal his fate – and that of Mitt Romney – for the rest of the race for the Republican nomination. The most recent polls put the two candidates neck-and-neck.
A total of 419 delegates at stake Tuesday, and a candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the nomination. Mitt Romney arrives at the moment leading the race with 203 delegates, followed by 92 delegates with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich with 33 delegates and Ron Paul with 25 delegates.
The campaign team of Mr. Romney was confident he would win more delegates than his rivals on Tuesday. MM. Santorum and Gingrich have not collected enough signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary, while Mr. Santorum can win 18 of 66 delegates from Ohio for the same reasons. A victory for Mr. Santorum in Ohio would send the signal that Mr. Romney, long considered the leader, is lower than appearances suggest.