Mitt Romney may have to fight for Wisconsin on Tuesday, but contests on the same day in Maryland and Washington, D.C., promise to be blissfully uneventful for the perpetually embattled Republican front-runner.
Other than his home state of Massachusetts, it’s hard to think of two places more receptive to his business-centric, pick-me-I’m-electable message in a GOP primary. Romney is expected to coast to victory in both races on the strength of his money and organization, and his appeal to D.C. and Maryland Republicans.
Winning Maryland and D.C. all but guarantees he will increase his already large delegate lead. Romney has 568 delegates to date, according to the Associated Press’s count, compared to 273 for his closest rival, Rick Santorum.
The snooze-fest will be of little interest to even the most tuned-in political observers, who will be far more interested in the night’s marquee contest in Wisconsin. Santorum has focused exclusively on campaigning in the Badger State, whose blue-collar voters give him a shot at victory.
But as has often been the case in the drawn-out primary season, Romney’s dominance in low-profile contests is crucial to his delegate strategy.
—Naureen Khan and Alex Roarty
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Obama Campaign Hits Romney in Energy Ad NEW!
[National Journal, 4/2/12] Hitting back against an attack ad from the American Energy Alliance, President Obama's reelection campaign unveiled a television ad on Monday that defends his energy-policy record and attacks Romney as a pawn of Big Oil.
Romney Goes on Offensive on Immigration in Wisconsin NEW!
[ABC, 4/2/12] Romney attacked Obama on Monday in Wisconsin for reneging on his campaign promise to enact sweeping immigration reform, despite enjoying a Democrat-controlled Congress for his first two years in office. “This has always been a priority for the president he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney said.
New Santorum Ad Links Romney and Obama Policies
[National Journal, 4/2/12] In a last-ditch attempt to warn those thinking of voting for Romney, Santorum’s campaign today began running an ad in Wisconsin comparing his rival’s policies to those of President Obama. Romney's camp issued a swift rejoinder, calling the claims "patently false."
Romney Questioned About Stance on Interracial Marriage NEW!
[National Journal, 4/2/12] Romney’s Mormon faith was thrust into the spotlight Monday when a Ron Paul supporter asked a pointed question: does he believe it’s a sin for a white man to marry a black woman?
Pelosi Would ‘Love’ to See a Hillary 2016 Ticket NEW!
[BuzzFeed, 4/2/12] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday joined the growing ranks of politicians and public figures coming out in support of Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
In Final Push, Romney, Santorum Court Wisconsin Voters
[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/1/12] With only two days left before Wisconsin's presidential primary, both candidates crisscrossed the state on Sunday hoping to garner support for their campaigns. Romney sounded confident that he will prevail on Tuesday and move closer to securing the nomination, while Santorum dismissed Sen. Ron Johnson's endorsement of Romney.
Gingrich to Voters: Help Me Out on Facebook NEW!
[National Journal, 4/2/12] Assuring supporters that his race for the GOP presidential nomination is far from over, Gingrich on Monday proposed to Maryland voters a day ahead of the state’s primary that they use their Facebook pages to bolster support for him.
Rubio Says He’s Still Working on a GOP Immigration Bill NEW!
[National Journal, 4/2/12] Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a top pick on many short lists of potential vice presidential nominees, has been talking about his vision of the GOP as a “pro-legal immigration party” -- but he has yet to offer any legislation.
Sununu: Santorum's 'Softness Under Pressure' Crushes Veep Hopes
[National Review, 4/2/12] Former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu told National Review Online that “credibility” will be a critical factor in the VP selection process should Romney win the nomination, and Santorum will probably not be a contender for the slot.
Report: Rick Perry Used Painkillers to Get Him Through Debates
[Daily Caller, 4/2/12] Rick Perry was under the influence of painkillers during televised presidential debates over the last year to help relieve severe back pain, according to a soon-to-be released eBook from Politico on the 2012 GOP race. Oops.
Obama Leads Romney in New Poll
[National Journal, 4/2/12] With voter enthusiasm down for Romney, President Obama is ahead of the former Massachusetts governor among registered voters nationwide in a new USA Today/Gallup poll, 49 percent to 45 percent. The lead is the biggest for the president in this election cycle.
Ann Romney Says Mitt Isn't Robotic, 'We Better Unzip Him'
[National Journal, 4/2/12] Ann Romney knows her husband better than anybody, and to her, he's not at all stiff or robotic, as he often comes off on the stump. She said during an interview with Baltimore radio station WBAL that "we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.”
Romney Tells Wisconsin Crowd He Is the Likely GOP Nominee
[National Journal, 4/1/12] An April Fools' joke? Probably not. Romney told supporters in Wisconsin that the GOP nominee "will probably be me."
South Carolina's Haley Says She'd Turn Down VP Nod
[ABC News, 4/2/12] Tea party stalwart Nikki Haley said if asked to become the vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party, she’d respond, “Thank you, but no.” The governor of South Carolina has been a passionate and dedicated campaigner for Romney on the trail, but failed to deliver a win for him in the Palmetto State.
Santorum Scoffs at Poll Showing Him Losing Ground in Pennsylvania
[National Journal, 4/2/12] Santorum pushed back today against a recent poll by Franklin & Marshall College that shows him with only a narrow, two-point lead over Romney in his own home state. “There's one poll that's ridiculous,” Santorum said of the survey, which showed him ahead, 30 percent to 28 percent, compared to February when he led 45 to 16 percent.
Santorum Visits Simon's Specialty Cheese in Little Chute
[Green Bay Press Gazette, 4/2/12] In the Cheesehead spirit, Santorum visited a cheese shop just south of Green Bay, Wis., and indulged in some delicious dairy delicacies: cheese curds. Here are some other foods the candidates have eaten across the country, pandering to local traditions.
Pro-Obama Super PAC to Target Romney on Oil Ties
[Associated Press, 4/2/12] Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC, is trying to tie Romney to the oil industry in a new ad released today, arguing that Romney is getting backing from Big Oil to protect its profits and tax breaks. The ad, to run in eight battleground states, is a response to an earlier ad from the American Energy Alliance attacking Obama’s handling of the Keystone XL pipeline and gas prices.
GOP Tries to Woo Hispanics
[Wall Street Journal, 4/2/12] Lawmakers in Congress and the Romney campaign are working to earn the backing of Hispanic voters in advance of the 2012 elections, a demographic group that has been alienated by the hard-line immigration stances of many in the GOP.