In perhaps one of the strangest days in what has been a very strange 2012 Republican Presidential Primary season Mitt Romney inched closer to the nomination. The states of Kansas and Wyoming along with the territories of Guam, the Northern Marians and the U.S. Virgin Islands culminated their caucuses today. I say culminated because Wyoming has been holding theirs over the course of five days.
For the benefit of my foreign, (and perhaps some of my American), readers the fifty states and the District of Columbia get to vote for the President in the November Election but both political Parties let the American territories participate in their nominating conventions. This will give you some perspective of what transpired on Saturday.
Mitt Romney won all nine delegates on both Guam and the Northern Marianas. The Guam vote was a unanimous show of hands, I’m serious – a show of hands in one room. In the Northern Marianas Romney won 87% of the 848 votes that were cast. Romney can credit this to his financial advantage, he sent his son Matt and his daughter-in-law over there and they were the only presence of any campaigns. Not bad, a very wealthy guy gets to send his wealthy son and his wife on a nice warm vacation at the expense of his contributors – America, what a country!
Romney also won the Virgin Islands taking at least 7 of the 9 delegates. Ron Paul got one and one is at this point uncommitted. Is this Paul’s Caucus strategy? How can he take money from his supporters with a straight face?
Kansas had the only caucus that was credible. They actually attracted 29,857 voters; 10,724 more than in 2008. The increase is contrary to the trend thus far in 2012 and to my memory only the second state to post a significant increase. Rick Santorum continued his middle of the country magic blowing out Romney 51% to 21%. Newt Gingrich had 14% and Ron Paul 13% with 531 votes separating them.
But Kansas took the prize for the strangest event of the campaign to date. The Westboro Baptist Church picketed a Santorum event in Topeka early on Saturday. Before I go on a disclaimer is necessary. The Baptist Church has disassociated itself from the Westboro Baptist Church. I have many friends who are devout Baptists and the actions of the Westboro people in no way represent the actions, opinions or thoughts of my friends, the Baptist Church or its teachings! A dozen people from Westboro demonstrated outside a Santorum event holding signs that read, “Thank God for IEDs”, “God Hates the World”, “Israel is Doomed” and “Antichrist Obama” among others. When reporters asked them why they were demonstrating at a Santorum event they said they really didn’t know much about Santorum and were just informational pickets. Santorum is the most religious of all the candidates so why a supposed church group would picket his event is bizarre. My understanding of Christianity is that such hatred is outside the teachings to say the least. Perhaps a fairer characterization of the Westboro group is that they just don’t know much, period.
With 87% of the precincts reporting Mitt Romney was cruising to a victory in Wyoming. He had captured 46% of the 1,222 votes counted at that reporting. Santorum was trailing badly with 30% of the vote. Ron Paul’s caucus strategy had garnered 152 votes, good for 12%. Newt Gingrich had yet to get a single vote. In fact others, which include write-ins, account for 144 votes – more than Gingrich can realistically hope for at this point and almost equal to Paul’s 152. To add insult to injury Wyoming caucuses over five days. Five days and they will be lucky to crack the 1,400 vote ceiling. To put this in perspective the Northern Marianas, which doesn’t even get to vote in the real election in November cast 848 votes out of a population of less than 54,000. Wyoming with more than 10 times the population can’t even double that and they get 3 electoral votes in the big show. I know it counts, but it is difficult to take it seriously.
Willard’s world is indeed weird!
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