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Michigan Primary Results

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on January 16, 2008

The votes from yesterday’s Michigan primary elections have been fully counted, but the results are a bit confusing.

Hillary Clinton won the Michigan Democratic Primary election, beating “uncommitted” 55% to 40%.

Over the summer, the Michigan Democratic Party and Michigan Republican Party authorities decided to move their primaries earlier to have more influence, against the wishes of their respective parent organizations, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC). In retaliation for disobeying instructions (and for escalating a timing race between New Hampshire and Michigan, as New Hampshire state law requires its primary to be a certain number of days before any other primary), the DNC stripped the Michigan Democratic Primary of all delegates to the Democratic Party nominating convention this summer, making that primary meaningless. Barack Obama and John Edwards removed their names from the Michigan primary ballot in solidarity with the DNC, so Hillary’s “victory” is very unusual.

The RNC punished the Michigan Republican party by removing one-half of Michigan’s delegates to the Republican Party’s nominating convention. The Michigan Republican Primary still affects the race for their party’s nomination, as with 30 total delegates allocated by the primary Michigan has more Republican delegates than New Hampshire.

Mitt Romney won the Michigan Republican Primary with 39% of the vote to John McCain’s 30%. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee won 16%, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 6%. Romney was born in Detroit, and his father George W. Romney was one of the most popular politicians in Michigan state history (serving three terms as the governor of Michigan before being appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Richard Nixon). Mitt Romney faced a “must-win” in Michigan, and his victory there ensures that he will not have to abandon his bid for the presidential nomination.

John McCain’s second place finish in Michigan ensures that he and Romney will split the state’s delegates, with Romney receiving around 20 delegates and McCain earning around 5. The current delegate count places Romney in first with 52, Huckabee in second with 22 (depending on how you count Iowa’s delegates), and McCain in third with 15. Each of the three men has won a major competitive contest, and no one has gained clear command of the race. They now move on the South Carolina, with a primary this Saturday, and Florida’s January 29th primary. Fred Thompson (who has won 6 delegates) and Rudy Giuliani (whose strategy involves skipping the early primaries and caucuses) respectively are essentially making their last stands in those two states, so it is very difficult to predict which Republican will be riding a wave of popularity into February 5th’s “Super Tuesday”. On that day, the majority of the delegates for both parties will be in contention across 24 states (including Illinois, New York, and California). For the Democrats, Super Tuesday will almost certainly be a slugfest between Obama and Clinton, with the overall tone of the race determined by whoever seizes the mantle of national front runner via the upcoming Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida Democratic contests.

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