Can Ron Paul Pull Off A Coup Tonight?
Republicans here helped boost his chances of capturing delegates at the state caucus.
As Republican candidates vie for the affections of Michiganders tonight, many pundits will be focusing on whether Rick Santorum can rob Mitt Romney of a victory in the state of his birth, but Ron Paul could pull off another trademark delegate victory in parts of Ann Arbor and Dearborn.
Because Michigan's delegates are awarded by congressional district, two at a time, and because the 12th Congressional district has few registered Republican voters, Paul could mount a charge to flood the polling places with his supporters.
It would be a similar victory to what appears to have been an upset win in the Minneapolis and Minnesota caucuses at the start of this month. As Paul said at a campaign rally after a second-place finish in the Minnesota straw poll, "there's a little thing called delegates!"
As reported in these pages, Paul's supporters flooded the caucuses—and most importantly, stayed around until after the closely-watched but non-binding straw poll was completed. The move let them have great sway over the delegates sent to endorsing conventions, even though they didn't have the manpower in most of Minnesota's precincts to beat Santorum in an outright popularity contest.
In Southwest Minneapolis, Ron Paul managed to sweep even the straw poll, winning 113 votes. He was trailed by Mitt Romney (94 votes), Santorum (69 votes), and Newt Gingrich (28 votes).
The New York Times' poll analyst Nate Silver believes Paul has a fighting chance in Michigan's heavily-urban 12th Congressional District.
The concern for Mr. Romney is that the district does not contain many Republican voters period, so there is some chance of a loss to Ron Paul if the turnout is dominated by college students. Arab-American voters could also be drawn to Mr. Paul if they like his more tolerant stances on immigration and his hands-off stance toward American intervention in the Middle East.