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Romney sweeps Arizona, Michigan primaries

JRK06 Debate
Candidate Mitt Romney comes out on stage and greets Newt Gingrich at the Arizona Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNN in Mesa, Ariz.

Candidate Mitt Romney greets Newt Gingrich at the Arizona Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNN in Mesa, Ariz. on Feb. 22. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Knop)

Arizona Republicans chose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee after Tuesday’s primary, according to preliminary polling results.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was trailing Romney by roughly 20 percent Tuesday night. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and congressman Ron Paul finished third and fourth respectively.

Romney tallied more than 50 percent of the Arizona vote early in the night before falling back to 47 percent. Santorum gained 26 percent of the votes compared to Gingrich's 16 percent and Paul's 8 percent.

Michigan’s primary gathered similar results, with a Romney and Santorum separated by just 3 percent.

Romney had about 40 percent of votes in Michigan, and Santorum was close behind with 37 percent. Paul had 11, and Gingrich had 6 percent.

Romney's success could put him in position to become the 2012 Republican presidential frontrunner.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Tom Morrissey said he felt Romney has claimed the momentum needed for the Republican nomination.

“He brought business and government experience to the campaign,” Morrissey said. “It's exactly what (Republicans) need.”

Morrissey said he believes the Republicans have a good chance of taking the presidency this year.

“I think President Obama is a one-term president,” Morrissey said. “His politics are so wrong-minded, and I believe he is the wrong guy for the job.”

Political science associate professor Richard Herrera said Romney gained an advantage after his performance at the Republican presidential debate Feb. 22.

“For the most part, Romney was on the attack (during the debate),” Herrera said. “Rick Santorum spent most of the night explaining, which is never a good thing in politics.”

Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party Tom Morrissey speaks at the Arizona GOP primary gathering at Grace Inn in Phoenix Tuesday night. It was announced that Mitt Romney won the primary. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

Herrera said the debate has given Arizona a political spotlight for the past week because of its potential influence in the decision of a Republican frontrunner for the general elections.

Arizona Republican Party spokesman Shane Wikfors said his only concern regarding the debate was its lack of discussion of Arizona issues.

“It seemed to me (the candidates) were trying to be more national in appeal,” Wikfors said. “(The Arizona Republican Party) would have liked them to appeal more to what falls into voters' beliefs in Arizona.”

Wikfors said the debate made the Republican candidates stronger in their campaign platforms.

East Asian studies freshman Will Smith said though he is a fiscal Republican, he did not see strength in this year's candidates.

“None of them strike me as someone I would love to see run as a presidential candidate,” Smith said. “In my opinion, they're making Obama look better and better with these debates.”

Smith said he felt Romney showed more potential than Santorum in ultimately achieving the Republican nomination.

“With some of the things Santorum says and supports, he seems to be a loose cannon,” Smith said. “I think (Romney) has the level of experience and the level of understanding that allows him to come off as a more presidential candidate than Santorum.”


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