Mitt Romney campaigns on Memorial Day in San Diego. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Texas, home to the last two Republican presidents, will be the state that pushes Mitt Romney across the 1,144 delegate threshold Tuesday. The presumptive Republican nominee is 68 delegates shy of that mark with 152 up for grabs in the Lone Star State.
The math should add up for Romney, as he is the only Republican still actively campaigning, although Texas Rep. Ron Paul may draw some support in his home state.
It has been nearly two months since there was any doubt about the outcome of the GOP primary process, but Tuesday will officially close that chapter of the election, just as the summer campaign season kicks into full gear.
With Romney on the delegate doorstep, the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker looks back at his path to the nomination:
It seems like forever ago that Rick Santorum and Newt GingÂrich were waving Etch a Sketches at their rallies in a last-ditch bid to stop Romney’s march to the nomination. The long slog of primaries effectively ended on April 3 with Romney’s victory in Wisconsin. Three weeks after that, the former Massachusetts governor returned to New Hampshire, where he launched his campaign on a windswept farm one year ago this week, to claim the mantle of nominee.
But it should become official on Tuesday, when Texas voters are expected to push Romney over the finish line in the delegate race. And with that, the Republican Party will have selected an unlikely standard-bearer for 2012: a New Englander in a party rooted in the South; a man of moderate temperament in a party fueled by hot rhetoric; a Mormon in a party guided by evangelical Christians; a flip-flopper in a party that demands ideological purity.
There will likely be little time for reflection on Tuesday’s achievement, with a bruising general election fight ahead and national polls showing Romney and President Obama deadlocked.
VOICES FROM TEXAS
Voters in Republican-heavy Texas may live in a reliably red state, but as they head to the polls for Tuesday’s primary contest, their concerns about the country are far from uniform. The NewsHour is asking voters across the country what’s on their minds this election season as part of our Listen to Me project. On Monday, we showcased the concerns of Virginians. Here’s a sample of what we found in Texas, with contributions from the NewsHour team and The Daily Texan.
“The disparity in taxes is what drives me crazy,” says independent voter Gregory Nelson of Odessa. Watch him here or below:
In Dallas, Caroline Freden is a Democrat and a Catholic whose main issue is birth control. Watch her here or below:
Republican Perry Waymire owns a construction business in Spring, Texas, and sums it up this way: “It’s always jobs.” Watch him here or below:
You’ll notice the videos from this project are being translated. If you speak another language, please join us here.
FUN WITH THE ELECTORAL MAP
On the NewsHour Monday, Stu Rothenberg and Christina outlined the biggest presidential battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The bottom line? It’s going to be a close race, and the president has more pathways to 270 than Romney.
Watch the segment here or below.
You can use the same tools we used on the air. Explore demographic data we have housed in the Vote 2012 Map Center or play with the Electoral College calculator below.
Here are the Rothenberg Political Report’s ratings.
MOMENTS FROM MEMORIAL DAY
The two campaigns took a breather Monday to honor the nation’s veterans. (Watch our report on the ceremonies here.) The president put a special emphasis on honoring those who served in the Vietnam War, since, he said, that didn’t happen properly when they returned home during a time of turmoil.
Gov. Romney used his speech to outline threats to the United States, suggesting he’d be better on foreign policy than the president. “I wish I could tell you that the world is a safe place today,” Romney said.
Watch the Republican’s speech here or below.
2012 LINE ITEMS
- The New York Times devotes more than 6,000 words to the president’s counter-terrorism strategy, including details about how Mr. Obama has personally overseen decisions about specific drone strikes.
- Romney has a new web video focused on the Solyndra scandal. Watch it here or below.
- As Romney prepares to hold a fundraiser with Donald Trump, the Obama campaign is tweaking the duo by comparing the billionaire’s claims about the president’s birthplace with Sen. John McCain’s dismissal of such false rumors in 2008. Watch the campaign’s web video here or below.
- While Trump may still be casting doubts about the president’s birthplace, others have found themselves a new target: Mr. Obama’s college transcripts.
- Jon Ralston reports for the Las Vegas Sun that Romney has a $2 million goal for the Trump fundraiser.
- The Democrats will hold their convention in Charlotte in 100 days, and they are celebrating with a peppy new web video you can watch here.
- Politico’s Mike Allen got an early look at this new ad from American Crossroads.
- The Hill takes a look at the Obama campaign’s ongoing identity crisis.
- The Boston Globe asks Mormons how they feel about Romney’s candidacy.
- USA Today’s Susan Page talks with First Lady Michelle Obama about the White House vegetable garden, her political future and the campaign.
- And if you wanted Michelle Obama’s recipe for corn soup with summer veggies, well, here you go.
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) May 29, 2012
Remember when TX primary was going to be Perry’s safety net? Then Gingrich’s comeback? Now it clinches Romney’s bid, w/out a campaign stop.
— Susan Page (@SusanPage) May 28, 2012
What food expiration dates really mean huff.to/LsxSL9
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) May 29, 2012
“Jerk,” McCain says of protester who interrupted his Memorial Day remarks. #2012
— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) May 28, 2012
I’m grateful to the men and women in uniform. Especially the ones in camouflage uniform. They get left out a lot, cause they’re hard to see.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 28, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
- The Associated Press’ Chris Tomlinson looks at the five questions Texas primary voters will answer Tuesday.
- NPR’s Wade Goodwyn reports on the GOP Senate primary in Texas.
- Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz outlines the Texas House primaries to keep an eye on.
- The AP’s Paul Weber writes about the candidates for two new Congressional seats in Texas who are “not exactly what Hispanic leaders pictured” when drawing the lines to reflect the booming Latino population.
- Jury deliberations in the John Edwards trial enter a seventh day Tuesday.
- The New York Times’ Raymond Hernandez notes that Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., is relying on his House colleagues to help fund his re-election bid.
- Politico sees a new Sarah Palin strategy emerging from her most recent primary endorsements, which will be put to the test again Tuesday in Texas.
- The Chicago Tribune reports that Sen. Mark Kirk’s ex-wife, who was paid by his campaign, is now filing an FEC complaint asking for a probe into payments he made to his then-girlfriend.
Elizabeth Summers, Katelyn Polantz and Alex Bruns contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
- President Obama will honor Medal of Freedom award recipients at the White House at 3:25 p.m.
- Vice President Biden has no public events scheduled.
- Mitt Romney holds an event in Craig, Colo., at 11 a.m., and an event in Las Vegas at 6:35 p.m.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.
Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.