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Semi-Super Tuesday

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, 2012. As in real life, some Supers are more super than others. There have been dreadful, for instance, Superbowls and, for that matter Superbowl ads.

As we discussed last week, this year's version of Super Tuesday has only 10 contests: Georgia (76), Idaho (32), Massachusetts (41), North Dakota (28), Ohio (66), Oklahoma (43), Tennessee (58), Vermont (17), and Virginia (49), along with Alaska's two-week-long caucuses, Mar. 6-24

According to the Christian Science Monitor, in addition, "Wyoming starts GOP caucuses on March 6 and wraps them up on March 10." Leading to, again according to the CSM, "The total number of delegates to be meted out on the basis of Super Tuesday results is 526 - almost half what a candidate needs to win the nomination."

The magic number is 1,144.

Four years ago there were 21 states on the GOP side up for grabs on Super Tuesday. McCain won 9, Romney 7, and Huckabee 5.

But, McCain won 511 delegates that day, Romney 176, Huckabee 147 and Ron Paul 10. That meant McCain's march to the nomination was not diminished by the fact that he had won less than half of the states; because he had garnered 61 percent of the available delegates.

Tomorrow night the campaigns will parse the results the same way.

If Newt Gingrich wins Georgia he will proclaim it evidence of the Third Coming. Everyone else will say "The big story would have been if he hadn't won Georgia. Of Gingrich's 11 Congressional endorsements five are U.S. Reps from Georgia.

If Rick Santorum wins Oklahoma and Tennessee that will be good for him, but if he loses Ohio for the price of it he will be seen as having done nothing more than marking time.

Mitt Romney is on a roll. He's won five straight election events and, as I write this, had pulled into a tie with Santorum. The Buckeye state has been determined by the national political press as the lynchpin of tomorrow night's activity so Romney losing Ohio will be seen as a major dip in his campaign fortunes.

Santorum was leading in three polls released Friday by +2, +2, and +4. In the one poll released last night, Romney was leading by one percentage point and according to a Tweet from the survey research firm, Public Policy Polling, "This seems like it could be a key stat- Romney up 40-23 with folks who decided in the last few days in Ohio."

Nevertheless, Ohio is a coin toss.

As we know, only Ron Paul and Romney are on the ballot in Virginia so the only story there would be Paul winning and getting the 49 delegates. There are no write-ins allowed in Virginia so one of them is very likely to get the 50 percent +1 necessary to claim all the delegates.

Santorum's safe state is Oklahoma. Several weeks ago the Gingrich campaign suggested that Oklahoma might be within their reach, but that does not appear to be the case.

In Tennessee, where Santorum had commanded a healthy lead, the race has tightened over the weekend and his victory there is far from a sure thing.

Romney will likely win the Northeastern contests - Massachusetts and Vermont but may not win by enough to grab all the delegates in both.

According to the NY Times, Idaho has the second largest contingent of Mormon voters and, even in this caucus state where Paul will be strong, it would appear Romney has the upper hand.

If Romney does well in North Dakota, look for the campaign to crow about having won in just about every section of the country in the past two weeks: East to west and north to south. If he doesn't do well, the spin will be that it is next door to Minnesota (which Santorum won) and is a caucus state (in which Ron Paul does well).

Alaska being Alaska we may not know the answer until the Spring thaw which will be about July 15th.

There may only be half the number of primaries and caucuses in 2012, but it's still fun to try and handicap the results.

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