Virginia's Super Tuesday: A Possible Win for Ron Paul?

Will Virginia's Gingrich and Santorum backers sandbag Mitt Romney by voting for Ron Paul? One political observer thinks it's a possibility.

With three recent wins by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum this week making the GOP presidential primary more competitive, has Super Tuesday and Virginia's role taken on more significance? And with only two contenders on the ballot, where does that leave those who wanted to vote for Santorum or former Speaker Newt Gingrich?

"Probably the best that Romney's conservative opponents can hope for is to somewhat embarrass him by giving some substantial support to Paul," said Mark J. Rozell, professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. 

"Virginia is unusual this year in that only two candidates qualified to be on the ballot—Mitt Romney and Ron Paul," he noted.

In less than a month, Virginians will vote in the GOP presidential primary on Tuesday, March 6, although absentee voting has already started in the state. So far in Fairfax County, 236 ballots have come in and 56 people have voted "in person absentee" as of Wednesday, said Cameron Quinn, the county's chief elections officer.

How much support do the two who are on the ballot have? At least financially, they both come out on top. Here's the breakdown on the donations that Virginians have made, as of Feb. 2, to each GOP presidential candidate remaining in the primary, according to the Center for Responsive Politics:

  • Mitt Romney: $1,982,427
  • Ron Paul: $303,688
  • Newt Gingrich: $254,870
  • Rick Santorum: $87,837

Virginia, which holds an open primary—meaning any qualified voter can vote—has 49 delegates up for grabs, handed out proportionally depending on the votes each candidate receives.

"The GOP race remains unsettled, although all will acknowledge that Romney still retains most of the advantages," Rozell said. "Chances are very strong that two or three of the remaining challengers to Romney will still be in the race by Super Tuesday."

The fact that there are only two candidates on the ballot in the state could mean Virginia will see very little campaigning by the candidates here, Rozell predicted.

"I see very little outreach by any of the candidates in Virginia given the fact that two of the four remaining candidates are not even on the ballot and then there is little doubt at this time as to the likely outcome," he said.

With Gingrich and Santorum off the ballot in Virginia, the Romney and Paul camps possibly won't feel a need to buy much advertising in Virginia to fend off the competition. The situation could mean lost ad dollars for Virginia media. Although they're not spending as much as in previous years, the GOP presidential campaigns, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, as well as outside groups, have spent $28.9 million so far.

Before it's all over, the presidential campaign season is expected to see upwards of $3.2 billion in ad spending according to Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Tommy Funebo February 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
There is really no point in choosing any other republican candidate in the Virginia primary. Enough people will write Paul's name in on the ballot in November to secure Obama's reelection, should Romney, Santorum or Gingrich win the upcoming brokered convention.
David Platt February 25, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Those who would vote for Obama are voting for ternary, oppression, a police state, loss of liberty, freedom and a country destine for bankruptcy. An if your one of those who depend on government handouts from Obama, don't be surprised if he cuts you off as soon as he gets a second term. We are being set up for his global domination objectives. I am sure Obama would like to do away with inconvenient elections and a constitution and Bill of Rights that he ignores anyway.
gtrew March 02, 2012 at 02:40 AM
write "END THE FED" on all of your federal reserve notes and put them in your neighbors mailbox. Ron Paul 2012
T Ailshire March 02, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I believe in using my vote to send a message. Since Virginia does not permit me to write in "NONE OF THE ABOVE" in this primary, my plan is to attempt to cast a blank ballot. Ron Paul hypocritically states he believes abortion rights are up to the states, but continues (what five times? more?) to introduce his "sanctity of life" act in the FEDERAL congress. He continues to introduce earmarks then vote against the overall bill that he knows will pass, so he can say "I don't vote for earmarks." He is a politician, pure and simple. Mitt Romney is probably the better choice for America - we need his business leadership. But his waffling on issues in order to make himself appear more palatable to voting blocs, his pandering to the theocratic right, and his distaste for personal freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights is disgusting. Additionally, he is supported by Bob McDonnell, and I have vowed not to vote for a ticket endorsed by or including McDonnell unless he vetoes the ultrasound (and personhood, should it get to him) bills.
Olderndirt March 06, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I intend to cast a vote for Ron Paul. I am in total agreement with his Fiscal analysis and his position on the financial affairs of this country. I do feel that Newt Gingrich is the one candidate who is strong and is prepared enough to get a lot of things done with the Senate and Congress. I like Romney well enough, but I feel he is not as strong as Newt to be able to persuade Congress and Senate to do what is needed.


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