A reluctant Republican Party is increasingly showing signs of rallying around Mitt Romney in the presidential race, with leading members of Congress and influential conservatives signaling that a coast-to-coast burst of voting on Super Tuesday should mark a moment to start concentrating on defeating President Obama.
Two leading fiscal conservatives declared their loyalties for the first time on Sunday, with one, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, saying, "Mitt Romney is the man for this year." The other, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, described Mr. Romney as "best equipped to solve the urgent problems before us." John Ashcroft, the former Missouri governor and senator who served as attorney general under President George W. Bush, is poised to join Mr. Romney's team on Monday, informs New York Times.
Other than the signs outside polling places, Massachusetts residents have seen little indication that their presidential primary is on what is known as Super Tuesday. In contrast to most other states, there have been no television ad blitzes or rounds of last-minute meetings with candidates.
The contrast with most other states is stark. Voters on Sunday could have met former Bay State governor Mitt Romney at the Snellville pancake brunch in Georgia or caught former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum at Corky's BBQ in Tennessee. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich spent Saturday in Ohio, while Texas Representative Ron Paul visited Washington, which caucused Saturday, reports Boston.com.
The latest polls show Ohio is up for grabs and may be the only one of 10 Super Tuesday states in play. While usually a bellwether in national elections, Ohio has played only minor roles in winnowing the GOP field in the primary season because it typically held its GOP primary well after the front-runner is chosen.
In 2008, Ohio Republicans backed Arizona Sen. John McCain; Romney already had dropped out and endorsed the Arizona senator, who was identified as the "presumptive" nominee before Ohio voters went to the polls, according to The Detroit News.
The economy continues to resonate among voters. In Ohio, a bare majority of all registered voters in the poll say the worst is behind them, 42 percent say the financial situation will remain the same, and a third think it will get better. The same poll found that 31 percent said Santorum best understood their problems, while just 18 percent said Romney or Gingrich did.
In his home state, Gingrich has the support of 38 percent of the likely voters surveyed for Georgia News Partnership. In a statistical tie for second place, Romney is the choice of 24 percent and Santorum has 22 percent. Paul is backed by 3 percent, and 12 percent remain undecided, says San Francisco Chronicle.