3 Things To Watch For In Tuesday’s Primaries

The contest for the Republican presidential nomination may be over for all practical purposes, with Mitt Romney the all-but-certain GOP nominee. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing of interest in Tuesday’s primaries.

Voters are going to polls in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and New York, though turnout is expected to be low. Still, here are three things to watch.

Does Romney win everywhere? — With Rick Santorum, who had been his most formidable remaining rival, exiting the race recently, Romney is expected to do well in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states holding primaries Tuesday.

In contrast to Romney who’s only made one appearance in the state in the runup to Tuesday’s primary, Newt Gingrich has spent a lot of time campaigning in Delaware as though he expects it’s possible to pull off an upset there in what is being viewed as his last chance to make a statement.

Gingrich, whose campaign has bumped along bottom for weeks, has even received some late endorsements from members of Delaware’s GOP leadership. A report in the Wilmington News-Journal suggests the former U.S. House speaker has benefited from merely showing voters in the small, often overlooked state some attention.

But the same report also indicates that Republicans in the state, like many elsewhere, are ready to move past the primaries and into the general election. If those voters come out in high enough numbers, it could spell the end of Gingrich’s last chance to steal any of Romney’s spotlight.

Does Romney reach 50 percent or more? — Romney hasn’t reached 50 percent in any primary though he did get close in Maryland at 49 percent. He reached 70 percent in Washington, DC which, of course, isn’t a state.

Of course, that was all before Santorum exited the race and left the field open to Romney. So it should now be relatively easy for Romney to exceed the 50 percent threshold. If would be news worth noting if he doesn’t.

What happens in Pennsylvania’s new 12th Congressional District? — Before Santorum dropped out, the big question was would he win his home state?

Now, the most interesting race is a congressional contest. Because of redistricting, two sitting Democratic congressmen are pitted against each other — Rep. Jason Altmire and Rep. Mark Critz.

Critz came to Congress when he filled the vacancy left by his late boss Rep. John Murtha in February 2010. Altmire is a three-term congressman.

Critz has the support of organized labor even though he says that if he had been in Congress at the time, he would have voted against the Affordable Care Act which unions supported. Altmire actually did vote against the law.

In a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Altmire told us what to watch for:

“You’ll be able to tell on election night if turnout is uniform across the district, relatively the same, that’s good for me,” Mr. Altmire said Monday. “Obviously if turnout is higher in Johnstown than in other parts of the district, that’s good for Mark.”

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