Posted: January 15, 2008 10:45 PM
Romney Tops McCain to Win Michigan Primary
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is projected to win the Michigan Republican primary, according to the Associated Press and major news networks. Tuesday’s primary had been considered by many a “do-or-die” contest for Romney, who had suffered losses in the two previous major contests.
“It’s a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism. The people of Michigan said they believe in someone who is going to fight for them,” Romney told the Associated Press. “I’m obviously very, very pleased. Now on to South Carolina, Nevada, Florida. This campaign is going to go to all 50 states.”
Romney edged out Arizona Sen. John McCain, who won in New Hampshire, and easily defeated former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won in Iowa.
Of the three candidates, it was Romney who most needed a victory in Michigan, the state where he was born, where his father was governor and where he had spent a considerable amount of time and money. Romney’s victory further jumbles the race for a clear GOP front-runner, with three different winners in three contests and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani looking for their first wins in South Carolina and Florida, respectively.
“I congratulate the governor. I just talked to him on the phone and congratulate him on his victory. Starting tomorrow, we’re going to win South Carolina, and we’re going to go on and win the nomination,” McCain told the AP. “I congratulate him on that Michigan welcomed their native son with their support. I said we would win in New Hampshire. We will win in South Carolina.”
Asked to respond to Romney’s comments that his win was one “of optimism over Washington-style pessimism,” McCain said, “I would not know what he’s talking about.”
Huckabee, who along with McCain was in South Carolina gearing up for Saturday’s primary, told supporters there: “So it looks like I won Iowa, John McCain won New Hampshire, Mitt Romney won Michigan, but ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to win South Carolina.”
Four in 10 voters in Michigan said Romney’s roots factored into their votes, and more than half of that group backed Romney, according to surveys taken for the AP. Romney also led among voters who said the economy and illegal immigration were their most important issues.
With 58 percent of the precincts reporting, Romney had 39 percent of the vote, according to the AP, followed by McCain with 30 percent, Huckabee with 16 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 6 percent, Thompson with 4 percent and Giuliani with 3 percent.