By Ryan Collett
Almost two weeks after what was supposed to be a decisive Super Tuesday, the GOP race for Presidential candidacy still looks wide open to many. Between the three front-running candidates — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich - recent state primary results show that voter preferences are spread across the board.
With the August GOP national convention approaching, former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, leads the Republican candidates with 498 state delegates out of the 2,285 total delegates. Romney will win the Republican Party nomination if he is able to win a majority, totaling 1,191 delegates.
In the past, states would assign a majority-takes-all winner when assigning delegate votes to candidates. However, this year, many states are choosing to assign delegates to the candidates proportionally depending on the number of individual votes a candidate receives. For example, Romney won the Alaska vote on Super Tuesday with 32% of the vote. Because Santorum came in second with 29% of the vote, Romney only received 8 delegates and Santorum received 7. Alaska’s remaining 9 delegates were divided and awarded proportionally to the trailing candidates.
The race is by no means won, as Romney faces heat from rivals Gingrich and Santorum. The three candidates differ concerning their views on economic and foreign policy, and each uphold strict social policies. The three agree on same-sex marriage, as Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum have each expressed the need for a federal, nationwide amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Santorum has been the most vocal about marriage laws since 1996, when as a Senator, he voted in favor for a traditional marriage amendment at the federal level. In the early stages of the GOP presidential race, Santorum signed a pledge drafted by The Family Leader that committed him to upholding his views on traditional marriage throughout his campaign.
Key upcoming GOP state primaries include Missouri on March 17th and Wisconsin on April 3rd. Since 1904, excluding 2008, the winner of Missouri in the final election has gone on to win the presidency.