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On paper, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shouldn’t need to break a sweat to win the Feb. 28 Michigan primary.
He won the state easily in 2008. He’s the native son of a legendary governor and part of a famous automotive power.
But polls show Romney trailing a surging Rick Santorum by as much as 15 percent. Coming off a political trifecta last week, Santroum heads into Michigan as the news frontrunner not only in the state but nationally.
So Romney is pulling out the stops, setting aside more than $1.2 million in broadcast air time and unleashing the same kind of negative ad strategy that knocked off Newt Gingrich in Florida.
“Santorum has the lead right now but Romney has the money and the organization,” one GOP consultant tells Capitol Hill Blue. “And he has two weeks to turn the tide.”
“This is Mitt country — Mitt’s state,” Oakland County Republican leader L. Brooks Patterson told Politico. “I think he’ll do very well. I would be very, very surprised if we don’t chalk up a big win.”
Other Republicans point to Romney’s strong roots in the state and the popularity of his late father, former Gov. George Romney.
Still, Bush survived the upset and went on to win the nomination.