It’s the final weekend of campaigning before the Michigan and Arizona Republican primaries. Here are ten things you need to know today.
- Romney takes a small lead in Michigan: The polling is looking better for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has he campaigns for the state he grew up in. The new TPM Poll Average of the Michigan Republican primary race now shows Romney with a slightly lead ahead of Tuesday’s vote. Snap polls conducted after the CNN debate on Wednesday night show movement in Romney’s direction as he took the lead from former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).
- Arizona looks solid for Romney: The race for Arizona’s delegates tightened a little bit after Santorum won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses, along with the non-binding Missouri primary on February 7th, but it’s never really seemed out of Romney’s grasp. Now as the actual vote is approaching, Romney appears to have the state firmly in hand — our TPM Poll Average shows him with an eight point lead. Public Policy Polling (D) will be releasing new numbers on Arizona and Michigan on Sunday and Monday nights.
- Quinnipiac Ohio poll out Monday: As the February 28th votes are nearly here, a reminder that Super Tuesday is a week after. Quinnipiac University will be out with a poll of delegate rich Ohio, holding 66 of the 1144 needed, distributed proportionally (here’s a primer on the Ohio GOP’s system). The current TPM Poll Average has Santorum with a sizable lead in the state at the moment but the data is nearly two weeks old.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander endorses Romney: Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R) has endorsed Mitt Romney for President. “All our candidates are good Republicans; I don’t think they really disagree very much. They emphasize their differences, but the important difference is, Governor Romney has the executive experience this country needs, he’s a good Republican, he can attract independents, and I believe he can defeat President Obama and lead our country in a better direction,” Alexander said in comments distributed by the campaign.
- Santorum continues attack Romney on MA record: Santorum has been hitting Romney on social issues over the last few days, citing positions on abortion that Romney took in Massachusetts. Now the Santorum campaign has moved on to tax issues, blasting out emails to reporters on the Massachusetts tax burden and Romney’s inability to lift it, especially citing fee raises as deviation from anti-tax conservative orthodoxy.
- Congressional campaigns trade barbs over energy: The Democratic campaign arm has re-launched thegrandoilparty.com, writing in a release “As gas prices rise, House Republicans have made protecting subsidies for Big Oil companies raking in record profits a top priority, while voting to end the Medicare guarantee for seniors. Sure enough, Republicans have raked in nearly $14 million in campaign contributions from those Big Oil and gas interests they are protecting.” But the National Republican Congressional Committee also think they have a winner in the energy issue. In response, the NRCC sent out releases attacking Dems over Solyndra and the scrapped (for now) Keystone Pipeline Project, muddying the waters.
- The Romney retort — Santorum is a creature of DC: The Santorum campaign is attacking Romney on his record as governor of very blue Massachusetts. But Romney’s team says Santorum should spend less time on the Washington inside game. “Congressman/Senator Rick Santorum may be proud of his days of ‘taking one for the team’ in Washington. But that’s exactly the type of career politician that Republican voters are tired of. If Washington excuses and insiders are the problem, Rick Santorum can’t be the solution.” -Andrea Saul, Romney Campaign Spokesperson said in a release.
- North Dakota Senate candidate may have lifted ad idea: Flickertales from The Hill, a website following North Dakota politics, pubished a story showing some glaring similarity between a new ad from a Republican US Senate candidate Rick Berg and an ad previously run by a state Democratic State Rep. in Virginia. The site’s Kristen M. Daum has a whole report here, saying “similarities are noticeable in both the content and the production.” The comparison was first noticed by Florida blogger Kenton Ngo.
- Santorum, Romney campaign in Michigan: Santorum will be heading to St. Clair Shores, Michigan for a Tea Party rally Saturday morning, following up with a speech to an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event in Troy and then a Tea Party “liberty town hall” in Hixson, Tennessee. Romney is hitting the Ingham Lincoln Day Breakfast in Lansing in the morning, speaking a few hours after Santorum at the same AFP event and then holding his own rally in Flint.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.