Romney Wins Michigan
In a tight vote in the Republican primary, Romney came out on top
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks as his wife Ann (L) watches at his Michigan primary night rally in Southfield, Michigan, January 15, 2008. (Photo: ©Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Mitt Romney looked tired but happy as he took the podium to announce his victory in the Michigan primary. Wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, the former Governor of Massachusetts said Washington, D.C., was broken, but that he was the man to fix it. Michigan voters seemed to agree.
A win in Michigan was important to keep Romney's presidential hopes alive. In Iowa he lost to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. In New Hampshire, Romney lost to Arizona Senator John McCain. Romney grew up in Michigan, where his father served as Governor in the 1960s.
Polls taken before the election showed the race to be close between Romney and McCain. Romney supporters appeared tense as they packed into a small room at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Southfield, Michigan, to await election results.
The party started around 7:30 p.m. About 100 supporters sat on the stage. They seemed anxious to know the results. At one point the crowd behind the empty podium did the wave. Another time they chanted, "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!"
While waiting for the candidate to appear, Scholastic News talked to supporters, including Bill Huizenga, a State Representative in Michigan. Huizenga said he voted for Romney because of his ability to manage people and projects.
"I think he's been a great leader when it comes to business issues and those types of things," he said. "Michigan's really, really hurting right now with not enough jobs, and so I feel very strongly that Governor Romney is going to be able to help Michigan."
U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan campaigned for Governor Romney in Iowa and in his home state. He said he looked at all the Republican candidates before deciding Romney would be the best President.
"He was the guy who believed in running America the closest to the way I'd like America to be run," Hoekstra said.
As results came in, excitement in the room grew. Romney finally took the podium to make his victory speech.
"Tonight marks the beginning of a comeback, a comeback for America," he told his supporters. "Only a week ago, a win looked like it was impossible, but then you got out and told America what they needed to hear."
|Scholastic Kid Reporter Kayla Gough with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in Southfield, Michigan, January 15, 2008. (Photo courtesy Kayla Gough)|
The crowd went wild with cheers every time Romney finished a sentence. At the end of his short speech, he started a call and response with his enthusiastic, happy supporters. "Is Washington, D.C., broken?" he shouted.
The crowd answered, "Yes!"
"Can it be fixed?" he yelled.
The crowd roared, "Yes!"
"Are we the team that's going to get the job done?"
The crowd shouted a final and loud, "Yes!"
He ended his remarks with a call for his supporters to take his campaign into the next big contests on Saturday: the Republican caucus in Nevada and the Republican primary in South Carolina.
"Let's take it all the way to the White House!" he shouted.
With two states to cover in the next four days, the large Romney family is spreading out. Son, Josh, and wife, Ann, will be on the campaign trail in Nevada on Wednesday, while Romney himself will be in South Carolina.
Where Are the Democrats?
Democratic candidates are concentrating their energy this week on Nevada. They faced off in a debate Tuesday night while Michigan was voting.
The only Democratic front-runner on the Michigan ballot was Hillary Clinton, who received 57 perecent of the vote. The rest of the Democratic vote went to "uncommitted." Other Democrats had asked that their names be removed from the ballot to protest the earlier-than-usual vote in Michigan. The Democratic National Committee has said it will strip Michigan of its delegates to the convention for moving its primary to January. The Republican Party stripped the state of half its delegates for the same reason.This Saturday, Nevada voters of both parties will hold a morning caucus, while Republicans in South Carolina vote in a primary. The Democratic primary in South Carolina is one week later, on January 26.
After South Carolinians, voters in Florida will have their say. Republican Rudy Giuliani is hoping for a big win in the Sunshine State on January 29 to put his campaign back on the map. He finished fifth in the Michigan primary.
Check back often to get the latest news from the campaign trail, as the Scholastic Kids Press Corps continues to follow the candidates around the country.
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Kayla M. Gough is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.