by Jamie Hale
It wasn’t even close, folks. Despite Ron Paul’s best, last-minute rallies (and Rick Santorum’s best sweater vests), Idaho Republicans overwhelmingly voted for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Tuesday night’s Super Tuesday caucus.
So just how big was Romney’s win? About 70 percent big. He won huge in southeast Idaho, overwhelmingly taking every county in the region. In Boise’s Ada County, he secured nearly 52 percent of the vote. As of this post, caucus results are not in from Canyon and Kootenai Counties, two of the state’s most populated.
Not that they’ll make a difference. Romney is still the undisputed winner of the night. The remaining Idaho support was split between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Paul managed to win a few sparsely-populated counties, like Camas, Latah and Boundary, while Santorum picked up a couple counties in places like Lewis and Washington.
Romney, a national front-runner had a decent night overall, cleaning up in Virginia, Vermont and his home state of Massachusetts. Rick Santorum, his biggest competitor, didn’t do too shabby either, winning Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota.
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich reminded the country of his existence with a big win in Georgia, but most pollsters have been predicting that victory for a while now. Ron Paul scored some delegates his own self with a couple runner-up victories.
Still, some Super Tuesday states are up grabs. Romney and Santorum basically split the popular vote in Ohio. As of this post, Romney is up by about one percent, which is too close to officially call. In Wyoming, Romney is ahead, but counties there have split their caucuses between Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, meaning a winner won’t emerge until the end of the week. Alaska’s winner is still up in the air as well, because they’re in some sort of horrible far-West time zone.
In accordance with Idaho’s caucus rules, Romney will get all 32 state delegates as his prize for winning over 50 percent of the overall vote. That total is good news for Mitt fans, as it puts him that much closer to securing the Republican nomination.
Really, this isn’t that unusual for Idaho. In 2008, the Gem State went overwhelmingly for front-runner John McCain. He also won nearly 70 percent of the vote when all was said and done, soundly defeating runner-up (and only challenger) Ron Paul, who still managed to secure about 24 percent himself.
As much as some Idaho Republicans like to play the radical wild card, the state seems to typically vote in lock-step with the national party establishment. This year, as Romney earned endorsements from just about every important establishment Republican ever, the story was the same.
Contact Jamie at JHaleTBA@gmail.com.