Being dubbed “Southern” Super Tuesday, today will bring us primaries in Alabama and Mississippi along with a caucus in Hawaii. Polling indicates that all three states could be toss-ups between Gingrich, Santorum and Romney. Ron Paul is hoping to be competitive in the Hawaii caucus. The territory of American Samoa will also caucus today.
Alabama: 7am to 7pm CT (8am to 8pm ET)
Format: District: Winner take all or top two; statewide: proportional
Mississippi: 7am to 7pm CT (8am to 8pm ET)
Format: District: Winner-take-all primary. Statewide: If winner receives a majority, winner-take-all primary; otherwise, proportional primary
Hawaii: 6pm to 8pm Hawaii Time (12am to 2am ET)
Report from The Note:
Each of the Republican candidates begins this primary day with something to prove.
Mitt Romney wants to show he can win in the Deep South — territory that would seem unfriendly to him, but where polls indicate a razor-thin race.
Newt Gingrich needs at least one victory to make good on his recent prediction that, “I think we’ll win both” Alabama and Mississippi.
Rick Santorum would like to deny his rivals an opportunity to add to their delegate total. His campaign circulated a memo yesterday outlining a path to a prevent Romney from clinching the nomination before this summer’s Republican National Convention.
And Ron Paul is still looking for his first state win. He has been sending surrogates to Hawaii, which hold caucuses today.
There’s been no recent polling in the Aloha State, but Paul’s son, Ronnie; Santorum’s daughter, Elizabeth; and Romney’s son, Matt, have all campaigned there this week, suggesting that it will be a competitive contest.
Alabama and Mississippi are the big prizes and the candidates have the most at stake in those two states.
Wins in both places would help Santorum solidify his standing as the “undisputed” conservative alternative to Romney. Gingrich could show he can do well outside of Georgia and South Carolina. And, Romney could put to bed the narrative that he can’t gain tractions in states with large Evangelical populations.
Romney may also be helped by the fact that Gingrich and Santorum are going to split the very conservative vote, giving him the opportunity to squeak by with one win — or even two.
Regardless of what happens tonight, Santorum and Romney’s campaign schedules today make it clear that they are plowing ahead to the next contests.
These contests could decide the trajectory of the race, especially if Mitt Romney picks up one or both southern states. If Gingrich wins both, his hopes could remain alive. If Santorum wins one or both, he’ll call it a victory and vow to continue. Paul will be hoping to pick up delegates whether he outright wins the popular vote or not. Look for action in Hawaii and American Samoa on Paul’s part.