Mitt Romney has a head start in Colorado with much of the Republicans’ political establishment getting on board early. But, in 2010, a new force in Republican politics emerged. The Tea Party took over the caucus process and even won primaries with their candidates. Their effort was discredited by poor candidates and campaigns. But, their issues are dominant, and it remains to be seen if they are ready to march for a Michele Bachmann or other Tea Party type candidates.
Romney won the 2008 Colorado presidential caucus, but he did so poorly elsewhere on Super Tuesday that, before the end of the week, he dropped out of the race, leaving the field to frontrunner John McCain and a trailing Mike Huckabee.
Super Tuesday in 2008 was also critical for the Democrats. Instead of ending the race, Barack Obama’s broad wins, especially in caucus states, signaled the battle between him and, up to that point, frontrunner Hillary Clinton would go on for a long time.
Twenty-four states held primaries and caucuses in 2008, which selected 52 percent of Democratic delegates and 41 percent of Republicans.
Earlier 2008 events had propelled McCain into the lead with wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida primaries, but Huckabee’s win in the Iowa caucus and Romney’ early strength in the caucuses in Wyoming, Nevada and Maine and a primary win in Michigan had him in the game.
Clinton and Obama had split the earlier contests in what was clearly developing as a bitter, tough battle. Obama’s Iowa upset, countered the next week by Clinton’s New Hampshire recovery, set the stage for charges and counter charges made by both candidates and their supporters trying to win the African-American vote in South Carolina. Obama mostly won it and the state.
Other Super Tuesday states split between Clinton and Obama setting stage for events that finally settled the race on June 3 and Clinton’s concession. The other Super Tuesday states and results were:
Alabama – H, O
Arkansas – H, C
Connecticut – M, O
Delaware – M, O
Illinois – M, O
Kansas – O (only Democrat)
Massachusetts – R, C
Minnesota – R, O
Missouri – M, O
New Jersey – M, C
New York – M, C
North Dakota – R, O
Oklahoma – M, C
Oregon – H, O
Tennessee – H, C
West Virginia – H (only Republican)
Republican first: M = McCain, R – Romney, H = Huckabee
Democrat second: O = Obama, C = Clinton
At the conclusion, Obama won 847 delegates in 13 states, and Clinton 834 delegates in 10 states. The Democratic primary vote was nearly even. McCain’s lead after Super Tuesday was so substantial, the race was effectively over.
The 2012 presidential nomination schedule has been changed. Republicans, in an effort to pull back the decision a few weeks, have shifted the front of the schedule back. A new schedule is still being formulated at the state level.