BOSTON—Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was met by a cheering crowd of supporters in his home state on Tuesday night as he celebrated victories in a host of Super Tuesday primaries.
Of the ten states weighing in on the Republican presidential nominating race on Tuesday, Romney won six, including Massachusetts, but political analysts said Romney still failed to separate himself from the pack of Republican contenders.
Romney’s victories in Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, Vermont, and Wyoming on Tuesday will bring key delegates to his campaign.
But his loss in Tennessee and narrow margin of victory in Ohio over Senator Rick Santorum, who won three states’ contests on Tuesday, rendered the night a wash in the eyes of many.
Romney also failed once again to win any Southern states, an indicator that political analysts point to as a sign of his continued trouble with the Republican base.
“If you’re a Republican wondering about Romney’s viability, you still have those doubts,” Institute of Politics Director C. M. “Trey” Grayson ’94 said of Tuesday’s results. “Romney’s still a frontrunner, but he’s a very weak one.”
The story is a familiar one, pundits said. Romney has been the assumed Republican frontrunner since the primary process began in January, yet he has failed at nearly every step to convince party voters he should be their representative on the national stage.The tone at Tuesday’s election night event was upbeat, with a crowd of supporters young and old chanting “We want Mitt! We want Mitt!”
Flanked by his wife and grandchildren, an energized Romney addressed a group of former constituents, thanking them for his victories thus far and reflecting on the weeks and months to come until the general election.
“I’m not going to lie; it’s been a long road to Super Tuesday,” Romney told his supporters.
“There will be good days and bad days, always long hours and never enough time. But on November 6, we will stand united—not only having won an election but having saved a future,” he added.
Super Tuesday is considered the biggest test of the primary season to date. A total of 419 delegates were up for grabs nationwide on Tuesday—a little more than a third of 1,144 needed to earn the Republican nomination.
Analysts said that Romney’s indecisive showing, coupled with Santorum’s continued strong performance, will likely draw the race out well into June.
In the absence of key victories, the night was about Massachusetts. Romney’s speech at the Westin Hotel in downtown Boston marked the first time the candidate has been home in two months. Though energized when talking to the crowd, he looked physically tired, with his eyes downcast or lost in the room, as his wife Ann addressed the crowd.
Romney won in Massachusetts by a landslide, taking home over 70 percent of the vote and all of the state’s 41 delegates.
Romney’s victory in his home state was expected by analysts, who said anything short of a blowout here would have been a major disappointment to the campaign.
Romney served as governor of the state from 2003 to 2007 and is a graduate of Harvard Law and Business School.
“It’s a coronation of Mitt in his main home state,” Republican consultant Todd Domke wrote in an email before the vote tallies came in. “The other candidates didn’t contest him here, so the outcome has never been in question.”
—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.