Super Tuesday, State by State
The closest that Americans get to a national presidential primary comes every four years when a large group of states hold their primaries and caucuses on the same day.
It’s called Super Tuesday, a phrase that dates back more than two decades. And it happens again tomorrow.
Ten states, stretching geographically more than 4,500 miles — from Alaska to Massachusetts — will hold Republican contests on Tuesday, giving the candidates a chance to accumulate delegates and prove their vote-getting abilities.
Historically speaking, Tuesday will not be the most “super.” in 2008, nearly two dozen states or territories held primary contests to choose a presidential nominee. but with 437 delegates at stake in the contests, Tuesday’s results could dramatically shape the direction of the campaign as it moves into the spring.
Here’s a brief look at the 10 states:
OHIO: perhaps the most important state is Ohio, where Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are in a tight race. Its working class population and manufacturing economy make it a bellwether for how the Rust Belt might vote in the general election. And it will be a sign of whether Mr. Santorum’s appeal is growing or fading.
GEORGIA: It’s got more delegates — 76 — than any other Super Tuesday state. And it’s a must-win for Newt Gingrich (he says so himself), who represented the state in Congress for years. the South is an important part of the Republican Party’s winning coalition, and Mr. Gingrich is betting that Southerners will like his chances of beating President Obama.
TENNESSEE: It could be part of a string of victories for Mr. Gingrich if he does well. but it also could be a place where Mr. Romney could prove that his appeal can reach into traditionally conservative communities. Unemployment in the state is almost 9 percent, making the economy a central issue.
ALASKA: Ron Paul actually flew to Alaska over the weekend, giving the state the kind of love it rarely gets during elections. A deeply red, conservative state, it’s not much of a swing state in the general election. but Mr. Paul may see its rugged individualism as a plus in his hopes at winning a state on Tuesday.
MASSACHUSETTS: Mr. Obama is the basketball player, but this should be a slam-dunk for Mr. Romney. He served as governor in the state and remains well liked there. It’s a state that leans liberal in the general election, and with Mr. Romney on the ballot, it has not been contested by his Republican rivals during the primary.
IDAHO: the state is holding caucuses — not a primary — on Tuesday, a fact that Mr. Paul’s campaign thinks is in its favor. Mr. Paul came in second in the state in 2008, and is hoping to do better this year. Mr. Romney campaigned in the state last week, appearing before large crowds of supporters, and could also do well there.
NORTH DAKOTA: Like Idaho, North Dakota is not a state that gets much attention during the general election since it’s considered a lock for the Republicans. but Mr. Romney’s strategy of trying to win as many delegates as possible on Tuesday brought him to the state last week. in 2008, he won the state over Senator John McCain of Arizona.
OKLAHOMA: the third of three Southern states that Mr. Gingrich hopes to win, Oklahoma has plenty of delegates and a sizable conservative base. that could appeal to Mr. Santorum, who has said he might do well there. Mr. McCain won in 2008, but only after a strong challenge from Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas.
VERMONT: the Northeast knows Mr. Romney the best, and Vermont is no exception. Mr. Romney’s campaign expects to do well there. (He didn’t do well in 2008, but only because he had dropped out of the race by the time the primary came around.)
VIRGINIA: the ultimate swing state, Virginia might have been the marquee contest on Super Tuesday had Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich not failed to qualify for the ballot. Mr. Paul is campaigning, but polls suggest that Mr. Romney holds a commanding lead and could snag all of the state’s delegates for himself.