It’s “Super Tuesday,” only Romney and Gingrich can emerge to challenge Obama

It is “Super Tuesday” in the GOP race to select the Republican nominee for November’s general election against incumbent President Barack Obama. “Super Tuesday” represents the biggest polling day so far in what has been an intense and sometimes bitter GOP race and will see contests in Ohio, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska. There are 419 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the party’s nomination up for grabs.

The biggest fight of the day will see current front-runner Mitt Romney, and unexpected rival Rick Santorum battle it out in the State of Ohio. Romney’s new slogan of “more jobs, less debt, smaller government” is part of a broader strategy, to counter Santorum’s appeal for both working-class voters and conservatives. A win for Santorum in Ohio is crucial as his support and lead in the polls is gradually being eaten into by Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Santorum has most to lose of all the candidates going into Super Tuesday, a failure to meet expectations and grind out a significant state victory will only add to the resurgence of conservative rival Gingrich. Gingrich was applauded by many yesterday, for a string of brilliant appearances on the Sunday political shows. A Santorum victory in Ohio, would yet again, turn the race on its head, while he is also aiming for victories in conservative Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Romney has been gaining ground on Santorum in the Ohio polls all week, eliminating a double-digit lead for the former senator from Pennsylvania, with one poll giving Romney the advantage, one gave Santorum the lead and the third showed a virtual tie. Romney is expected to easily win in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Romney’s superior organization and establishment support, combined with his massively funded Super PAC, has enabled him to compete all across the Super Tuesday landscape and potentially pick up more than half of the 419 delegates up for grabs.

In the state of Virginia, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul made the ballot, as both Santorum and  Gingrich failed to meet the strict state criteria. This contest virtually guarantee’s a Romney victory in the state where he enjoys prominent backing in the shape of notable Republicans Governor Bob McDonnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for the states 46 delegates.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who has yet to win a state primary or caucus despite his fanatical ground level support, is finally expected to pick up his first wins in Alaska and North Dakota’s caucuses.

Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, seeking a path to a comeback, leads his home state of Georgia. Gingrich anticipates doing well in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio and intends to carry on in the race, even if he finishes third overall on Super Tuesday, behind former Romney and Santorum. Gingrich hopes a Georgia victory will kick off his Southern Strategy of taking Alabama and Mississippi on March 13 and possibly Kansas, resulting in his third comeback in the GOP race, as the conservative alternative to Romney.

Former Presidential candidate Herman Cain hailed Newt Gingrich’s promise to push the price of a gallon of gas under $2.50 as the new “9-9-9” of the presidential campaign, he said, that gives voters a concrete promise of action. Gingrich has estimated that Americans will see a whopping $16 trillion to $18 trillion in federal tax revenue from the energy explosion, wiping out the national debt in one fell swoop.

I expect Romney to meet his expectations and win Ohio. Santorum will just fall short in Ohio but while he has enjoyed a strong six weeks of momentum, the pendulum is starting to shift away from him. He simply cannot discipline himself on the campaign trail in terms of some of his rhetoric and his constant commentary on social issues is playing into Team Obama’s hands. Santorum has raised his profile and in my view, exceeded expectations in this race so far and I credit him for that. However, if anyone believes he is actually capable of beating President Obama in a general election they are delusional.

I believe Gingrich will exceed expectations by winning Georgia comfortably, but will turn in stronger than expected performances in some of the other states in contention today. Gingrich is the solutions candidate, anybody observing him deliver a master class on topic narrative with the liberal media on Sunday, can’t help but realise, he is the real alternative to Romney.

Santorum’s bid will start to flounder after today, Newt will surge again, and the only matter that remains to be seen is how Romney, will cope on the campaign trail once he comes out from under the “Mittness Protection Programme.”

Newt can win the race still however, it is Romney’s to lose at this point.

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