Election 2012: Super Tuesday is Here
The four Republican candidates compete for 437 delegates
There are a few key events on the Republican primary calendar. First, there was the Iowa caucus. Then came the New Hampshire primary, followed by the South Carolina primary. Those elections were important for candidates to gain momentum and attract voters. But there weren't many delegates at stake.
Super Tuesday — today — is different.
Ten states, or one-fifth of the United States, will hold Republican primaries. Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia all head to the polls today. Up for grabs: 437 delegates, more than the first two months of the primary battle combined.
Whatever candidate gains the most delegates will have the inside track to the Republican nomination.
Out of the ten states, Georgia has the most delegates at stake with 76. This state is seen as a must-win state for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich since it is his home state.
Another key battleground is Ohio. Whoever wins Ohio gains 66 delegates — and a huge symbolic victory.
In the political world, Ohio is known as a swing state. In swing states, residents are not overwhelmingly Republican or Democratic, meaning that the election could "swing” either way. Whatever candidate can pull out a win in Ohio on Super Tuesday will get a big boost among voters. It shows that the candidate can win in Ohio, which makes voters think the candidate can compete in the state in the general election in November.
"You can't be president without winning Ohio," Mitt Romney supporter Raymond Henninger said at a Romney rally on Saturday.
According to numerous polls, Rick Santorum was leading in Ohio heading into the Michigan and Arizona primaries. But after Romney won those contests, he has begun to challenge Santorum's lead.
In Virginia, only Romney and Ron Paul will be on the ballot. They were the only candidates still in the race to gather enough signatures to have their names included.
Paul is looking to win Idaho, the state where he had his best showing in 2008. But Romney is making a serious challenge there thanks to the state's large Mormon population.
Super Tuesday is a big night for candidates, their supporters, and voters. Right now, it's a four man race to the Republican nomination. But that could change after all the votes have been counted.
The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps will be covering Super Tuesday from every angle. Stay tuned to the Super Tuesday Special Report for all the latest from the Super Tuesday states and the candidates on the campaign trail.
—Additional reporting by Kid Reporter Meggie Zahneis
Scholastic News Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail! Keep up with latest election news on the Election 2012 website.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.