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mitt romney michigan Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks to supporters in Novi, Michigan, after his victory in the Michigan and Arizona primaries on February 28. (Photo courtesy Charlie Kadado)

Election 2012: Romney Wins Arizona and Michigan

Crucial victories sets the stage for Super Tuesday showdown

By Charlie Kadado | February 29 , 2012

Mitt Romney reclaimed his frontrunner status by winning the Arizona and Michigan Republican presidential primaries last night.

Heading into election day, Romney was expected to win easily in Arizona. And he did. He claimed victory with 47.3 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum with 26.6 percent, Newt Gingrich with 16.2 percent, and Ron Paul with 8.4 percent.

The real test for Romney's campaign was Michigan.

Romney, whose father was the former governor of Michigan, struggled in his native state. He thought he would have an easy victory in Michigan, but Rick Santorum made a late push to upset Romney. Polls showed Romney in a neck-and-neck race with Santorum going in to primary day. A loss in Michigan could have seriously damaged Romney's campaign.

But when the final results were announced, Romney had won Michigan with 41.1 percent of the vote. Santorum was a close second with 37.9 percent. Paul finished a distant third with 11.6 percent, followed by Gingrich at 6.5 percent.

"Tonight is all the more special because we're celebrating in the state where I was born, surrounded by Michiganders we consider family," Romney told his supporters at a victory party in Novi, Michigan. "We didn't win by a lot but we won by enough, and that's all that counts."

Romney's victories in Arizona and Michigan give his campaign a needed boost going into the crucial Super Tuesday elections.

On March 6, 10 states will vote — Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia — and 466 delegates will be on the line.

A delegate is a member of a political party who helps determine the party's presidential nominee. They vote on the nominee at the party's national convention. Their vote is determined by the result of primaries or caucuses in their home states.

Here's how it works: In Arizona, Romney won 29 delegates. That means at the Republican National Convention, the 29 people representing Arizona will support Romney's nomination as the Republican candidate for President. But in Michigan, Romney and Santorum each received 11 delegates. So at the convention, Michigan will have 22 delegates — 11 will support Romney and 11 will support Santorum.

In order to win the nomination, a candidate must secure 1,144 delegates.

Romney is currently leading the field with 165 delegates. Santorum is next with 44, followed by Gingrich with 38, and Ron Pal with 27.

ELECTION 2012

Scholastic News Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail! Keep up with latest election news on the Election 2012 website.

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