Breaking News: Big Win For Romney In Illinois

His first win in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.

More primary news and updated map and schedule after the jump.

This Saturday, Republicans voted again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. Most Caucuses feature two events. A Presidential preference vote where people select the candidate of their choice, and a second vote in which each voters select one of their neighbors to represent them at the County level. The first vote is the vote which everyone talks about on TV, but it is the second vote that actually counts. Everything boils down to delegates. The networks guess the delegate counts will be similar to the Presidential preference vote, but that is unclear. It depends on whose supporters actually stay to the end of the meeting  for that final vote, and it depends on how the county convention goes one or two months later.

Missouri is unique in that the Presidential preference vote did not occur yesterday on caucus night but occurred rather last month. Romney belittled Santorum’s victory at that time saying that no delegates were at stake, but the contest yesterday was impossible for the major networks to clearly report on, so they basically ignored it.

Missouri allows each county to set its own rules. The resulting confusion led to turmoil at several sites. In St. Charles County, the caucus was cancelled and a Ron Paul supporter was arrested amid disputes over the rules. See video above.

The moral is that estimating delegate counts is premature before the dust settles and the county and district conventions play out.

Puerto Rico
Today, Romney scored an impressive victory in Puerto Rico hitting the 50% threshold necessary to lock up all  20 delegates at step. Santorum had announced that he favored statehood for Puerto Rico only if it made English its sole official language. However, 95% of Puerto-Ricans speak Spanish at home, so this was not a popular stand for Rick Santorum to take. See our Q&A for more information on the voting in the various US Territories.

This Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum an 86.4% chances of winning there.

 Other Key Dates

  • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
  • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
  • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
  • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
  • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

Color Key  
Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No Votes: Black.
No vote yet: Grey.

States Won
Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO TN OK ND KS AL MS
Newt Gingrich: SC GA
Ron Paul: VI

Next Contests  
Mar 24: LA
Apr  3: MD DC WI  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT


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