Tuesday, February 21, 2012

GOP primaries enter critical stage; "must win" states for Romney

*** One week out: The next seven days until Michigan's primary may very well be the most important of Mitt Romney's political life. They could determine if he becomes the GOP nominee; if he does not; and if we might enter -- as we've described it before -- the political equivalent of Thunderdome, with either a "brokered" or "contested" convention in August. All of these things are on the line for Romney next Tuesday. And in between, he will have two big opportunities to right his campaign’s ship: 1) Wednesday night’s debate in Arizona and 2) Friday’s economic speech in Detroit.

*** Campaign cash drying up? For Romney, what’s also at stake at next week’s Michigan primary is whether or not his campaign funds begin to dry up. Yesterday, the Romney campaign reported raising $6.5 million in primary funds for the month of January. Yet more importantly, its burn rate was more than 287% (spending $18 million-plus last month, versus raising $6.5 million), and it now has $7.7 million in the bank (compared with President Obama’s nearly $76 million). This begs the question: When will we start seeing Romney writing checks to his campaign, like we saw in 2007-2008? In fact, has he already written the check? (We won’t know that until March 20, the next reporting period.) Here are the other fundraising hauls for January: Gingrich $5.6 million ($1.8 cash on hand), Paul $4.5 million ($1.6 cash on hand), and Santorum $4.5 million (nearly $280k cash on hand). And on Friday, we found out Obama raked in $11.9 million in January, with the DNC and other committees bringing in an additional $17.2 million.
Read the rest here.

My take: Romney urgently needs to put a couple states in the "win" column.  Michigan, his native state and one where his father was a very popular governor is a must win.  If Romney loses Michigan and especially if he also loses in AZ his campaign will be in deep trouble and we will be entering uncharted political waters for the GOP. It's way to soon to be predicting a brokered convention, but a Romney defeat in MI and AZ would increase the possibility of such an event.

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