(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section.)
(Updated as of 7:00 Pacific. Romney has 36.7% and Paul and Santorum are tied for second at 24.5% and 24.4% respectively.)
(Updated: As predicted, the contest is a close three-way race with Romney currently in first at 30.9%, Ron Paul in second with 27.1%, and Rick Santorum in third with 24.1%. Twenty one counties have yet to report as of 4:00 Pacific.)
Washington State holds their caucuses tomorrow and there is no clear frontrunner. In fact, as a result of Washington’s non-binding, open caucus the polls have been swinging like an unmanned and out of control wrecking ball. Generally speaking Santorum and Romney have been trading places at the top for a few weeks. But don’t count Ron Paul out either. Because it’s an open caucus and anyone can vote, many Democrats and independents are planning to show up on Paul’s behalf.
Washington also just made gay marriage a reality which runs counter to some of Rick Santorum’s points and may be having a negative impact on his numbers. Even Nate at Five Thirty Eight is remaining quiet about this race (Ed. note: Nate and Micah just posted an article on the subject).
About the only thing anyone can say with any degree of certainty is that Newt Gingrich isn’t going to get any love in the Great Pac NorWest. But Newt is focused on a Super Tuesday carpet bombing strategy that will likely achieve marginal results. If Gingrich remains in the race past that it will be out of his sheer petulance and the size of his bloated ego.
Currently, Mitt Romney has a slight lead in the polls. Public Policy Polling has him up by five as of Friday with Paul in a strong third place. But making a prediction will be difficult because this is one time in recent history that Washington has mattered in a Republican primary. As a result, turnout promises to be unpredictable but speculation predicts that it will be higher than usual.
“This is the first time any one GOP presidential candidate has paid attention to us in recent memory, and my memory goes back to the 1970s,” Kirby Wilbur, chairman of the Washington state Republican Party, told CNN. “We used to be the ugly sister invited to the dance, but no one asked to dance. Now we are the princess.”
But the real prize of Washington is the potential momentum maker going into Super Tuesday. If one of the candidates wins big, the theory goes that it will translate into a wave that will propel them into multiple victories on Tuesday and possibly shorten the nomination process.
538Refugees is predicting that this will be a close three-way race with Ron Paul performing beyond expectations and Mitt Romney underperforming expectations. But first place will likely belong to Mitt Romney. Conventional thinking says Rick Santorum will come in second but it would not be surprising to see Ron Paul take second place. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?
- Polls Boost Mitt Romney in GOP Race Headed to Super Tuesday (usnews.com)
- Who’ll Win in Washington State? It’s Anybody’s Guess (Real Clear Politics)
- Washington State a Player in GOP Race (CNN.com)
- Washington’s GOP Defualt Choice: Mitt Romney (Seattle Times)