WAUKESHA, Wis. – Primary voters here will either help solidify Mitt Romney’s grip on the Republican presidential nomination or give Rick Santorum another reason to continue his campaign.
With 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention at stake in Tuesday’s primary, Wisconsin can’t get Romney to the 1,144 he needs to secure the nomination. It can, however, add to Romney’s growing “perception of inevitability,” says John McAdams, a political scientist at Marquette University.
Bob Bohmann and Bud Sielen have never met, but they gave the exact same answer when asked Tuesday which Republican presidential candidate they voted for – and the same reason.
Both voted for Mitt Romney “because he has the best chance of beating Obama,” they said.
Sielen, 72, a retired welding engineer, said he hoped a Romney win in Wisconsin today would prompt his rivals to drop out.
Bohmann, 38, a banker, said it’s “probably time to unite the party behind Romney.”
Sielen isn’t sure a Romney victory Tuesday portends an Obama defeat in this state in November, though. “I don’t think that will happen, but it would be nice,” he said.
Citing state polls that show Romney leading, McAdams says, “It will be a major shock if Romney doesn’t win.” If Santorum pulls off an upset, McAdams says, “he still remains an underdog.”
Santorum said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press that the Wisconsin primary is not “do or die” for him. Maryland, with 37 delegates, and Washington, D.C., with 19, also vote Tuesday.