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Michigan primary results, February 29, 2012, Romney wins, Santorum second, Paul third, Gengrich fourth, Mitt Romney winner

Michigan primary results, February 29, 2012, Romney wins, Santorum second, Paul third, Gengrich fourth, Mitt Romney winner

From Flint News February 29, 2012.

“Just 302 votes kept Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney from winning Genesee County in Tuesday’s Michigan primary contest, an area that history shows will be all but impossible for him to win in a general election should he become the GOP nominee.

Romney won his home state Tuesday while losing the heavily Democratic Genesee County to Rick Santorum. Santorum got 12,833 votes here, or 39 percent, to Romney’s 12,581 votes, or 38 percent, according to preliminary results.

Romney’s loss here comes despite his winning other industrial, blue-collar counties like Wayne, Saginaw and Bay.

Romney’s Michigan primary win, even if by only a few percentage points, “really gives him some renewed hope for Super Tuesday,” said Bill Ballenger, editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter.

“You can sit around and scoff at the idea that he didn’t run up a huge margin. … Based on everything he went through. … I think it was huge,” Ballenger said.

Losing his home state would have been a huge blow to Romney’s campaign and secured Santorum’s place as a serious threat heading into super Tuesday March 6, when 10 states vote and 419 delegates are up for grabs.

Ballenger, a Flint native, said he isn’t surprised Santorum did well in Genesee County. Many outside the county misunderstand the area, he said.

“They look at Michigan and they look at these industrial areas, heavily Democratic areas, and they figure, well, that means the Republicans in that area are probably more moderate. … That’s not necessarily true,” Ballenger said.

Many wondered how Romney’s vocal opposition to the auto industry bailouts would resonate with voters in counties with ties to domestic auto companies.

Likely the bailout talk didn’t have a huge effect Tuesday, because all the Republican candidates opposed the bailouts, Ballenger said.

“If you’re an auto worker in the auto industry and you’re mad at someone who didn’t support the bailouts, how does Rick Santorum make you feel any better? I don’t think he does,” Ballenger said.

The bailouts, and their success, will likely be more trouble for the Republican nominee in the general election.
Clayton Township resident Clint Jahr voted for Santorum.

“I think he’s a good man, a godly man, a trustworthy man,” 68-year-old Jahr said.

Jarh went to see Santorum speak Sunday at a rally in Davison.

“I feel like he speaks what he believes, he stays with what he says,” Jahr said.

Romney won the state and Genesee County in 2008’s GOP primary, with 34 percent of the county’s voters, followed by John McCain, with 27 percent.

Hillary Clinton handily won Genesee County in her party’s 2008 primary with 56 percent of the vote. Then-Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards withdrew their names from Michigan’s 2008 primary race because the state broke party rules by scheduling its primary too early.

In the 2008 presidential election, Genesee County went for Barack Obama with 65 percent of the vote and 64 percent voter turnout.”

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From AP:

Results for Michigan Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Feb 28, 2012 (>99% of precincts reporting)
Mitt Romney 410,517 41.1%
Rick Santorum 378,124 37.9%
Ron Paul 115,956 11.6%
Newt Gingrich 65,093 6.5%
Other 29,152 2.9%