Their positions on same-sex marriage haven't changed, and Super Tuesday voting showed that the tightly packed nature of the four-man Republican presidential race has not changed eitherexcept, perhaps, for a surprise comment Tuesday night by former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin that she might be interested in joining the fray.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won Ohio, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia (where only he and Ron Paul were on the ballot), Idaho, and Alaska.
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia.
Romney also won the Washington State caucuses on Saturday with 37 percent of the votes, followed by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum with 24 percent each, and Newt Gingrich with 11 percent. The Seattle Times reported that evangelical voters in that state did not appear united behind Santorum, even though that demographic has united behind one candidate in previous caucuses.
"Interviews with evangelical leaders, anti-abortion activists, gay-marriage opponents and other religious conservatives found them split among all four remaining Republican presidential contenders," noted the Times.
But the CNN exit polls Tuesday night found Santorum taking a clear majority of votes from evangelicals in Ohio 47 percent over Romney, who earned only 30 percent of that demographic. Bloomberg news analysis said that "many" of the evangelical voters were motivated by same-sex marriage and abortion. But contraception seemed more in the news, given the publicity around right-wing radio talk man Rush Limbaugh's solicitation for a college student to post videos of her having sex with government-sponsored contraceptives "so we can all watch."
Santorum is against contraception; Romney is for.
Interestingly, Gingrich toned down his opposition to same-sex marriage in Washington State, even though he signed a right-wing "Marriage Vow" last fall, agreeing to fight against same-sex marriage in all contexts. According to the News Tribune of Tacoma, both Santorum and Gingrich visited Republican legislators in the State Capitol the week after Governor Chris Gregoire signed a marriage equality bill. The Tribune said Gingrich "declined" to "outright reject" the new law and, instead, praised opponents for seeking to put the issue before voters in November.
Romney picked up some important endorsements going into Tuesday, including current House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. And CNN estimates Romney now has 404 delegates toward the 1,144 he needs to secure the Republican nomination. Santorum is in second-place in the delegate count with 165, followed by Gingrich with 106, and Ron Paul with 66.
Meanwhile, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has endorsed none of the four major contenders, except to say any would be better than Democrat President Obama.
Catching her at a voting precinct in Wasilla, Alaska, CNN asked her whether she would allow someone to put her name in nomination for the White House at the GOP's convention in Tampa, should none of the four current contenders be able to muster the delegates necessary to secure the nomination.
"I don't close any doors that perhaps would be open out there, so, no, I wouldn't close that door," said Palin. "And my plan is to be at that convention."
Jerame Davis, executive director of the national Stonewall Democrats group, issued a statement Tuesday night, calling the Republican candidates "a field of nincompoops and homophobes."
"Democrats," he said, "can rest assured that they are the big winners again tonight."
The Republican contest now shifts to Mississippi, Alabama and Hawaii where voters will weigh in Tuesday, March 13, followed by Missouri caucuses March 17. The next big state, Illinois, holds its GOP primary March 20.
© 2012 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.