[QODLink]
Americas
US voters get ready for Super Tuesday
Ten states set to hold primaries that could decide which Republican will take on Obama in November presidential poll.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2012 06:28

US voters in 10 states are set to go to the polls in primary and caucus contests, as the battle to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination continues.

Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia are all up for grabs on a day dubbed "Super Tuesday" that has traditionally been decisive in determining who goes on to claim the nomination.

In-depth coverage of the US presidential election

The sheer number of states in play Tuesday, with their diverse demographics and political leanings, could break open a candidate's pathway to the nomination, or spell the end of a failing campaign.

Super Tuesday essentially ended the Republican nomination battle in 2008, when Mitt Romney capitulated and Senator John McCain went on to become the nominee.

Four years later, Romney is the frontrunner and could possibly seal the nomination on Tuesday. However, close behind is Rick Santorum, still hoping to pull off a stunning upset by drawing on growing support among the Republicans' conservative base. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are also still in the race.  

But many analysts predict that no clear winner will emerge.

"I'm not sure Tuesday means that much other than more of the same," said veteran strategist Neil Oxman, co-founder of The Campaign Group.

All eyes on Ohio

"What's going to happen is, Santorum is going to do well enough to continue," while Romney will emerge from Super Tuesday as "the favourite, but not the overwhelming favourite," Oxman told AFP news agency.

With some 437 delegates to August’s Republican National Convention at stake - nearly 40 per cent of the 1,144 needed to secure the nomination - Romney and Santorum have been criss-crossing the country in a frenzy of campaigning.

Romney got a boost going into Tuesday's votes with a win in the Washington state caucuses, but that contest was non-binding.


Rob Reynolds reports on Super Tuesday from Virginia

Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all spent Monday campaigning in Ohio, which for decades has served as a "bellwether" for the general election, voting for the eventual winner.

One important factor is Gingrich, who is hoping to inject some new momentum into a flagging campaign. He is polling ahead in Georgia, the state he served in Congress for 20 years, and which has Tuesday's largest haul of 76 delegates.

Gingrich has been vying with Santorum to be the conservative alternative to Romney, but has faltered since a January win in South Carolina.

With the back-and-forth competition still undecided, some are starting to speculate about a possible brokered convention when the Republican Party gathers to select their candidate later this year.

If no one is able to win the 1,144 delegates needed, then the floor could open to potential candidates not currently in the race.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher in Washington blogged about possible outsiders who could come into the race. Two popular Republican politicians, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who ran alongside McCain in 2008, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the younger brother of former president George W. Bush, are two potential candidates.

“Though anyone who predicts what can happen in this latest campaign may be misguided, the fact that Republicans still hanker for someone else shows deep dissatisfaction with the choice they have before them,” Fisher said.

“But at this late stage, it’s likely to be the only choice they’ll have.”

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The new military government has issued warnings that it will soon start to clampdown on immigration offenders.
As Snowden awaits Russian visa renewal, the world mulls role of NSA and expects more revelations from document trove.
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
join our mailing list