According to the latest CNN estimate:
Romney will win at least 12 Michigan GOP delegates tonight
McCain will win at least 9 Michigan GOP delegates tonight
9 of 30 Michigan GOP delegates remain to be allocated
Watch Romney's victory speech. (Photo Credit: AP)
SOUTHFIELD, Michigan (CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney claimed victory in Tuesday's Michigan Republican primary, his first major win of the 2008 presidential race, calling it a victory over "Washington pessimism" after second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"Tonight marks the beginning of a comeback - a comeback for America," Romney told supporters in the Detroit suburb of Southfield. "Only a week ago, a win looked like it was impossible, but then you got out and told Americans what they needed to hear."
(CNN) - Mitt Romney's victory over John McCain can be credited to three factors, CNN exit polling indicates.
A majority of Michigan voters named the economy as the most pressing issue - and those voters overwhelming chose the former Massachusetts governor and one-time successful businessman: 41 percent of them went for Romney, compared to 29 percent who went for McCain.
Romney was also aided by winning a strong share of evangelical voters. As predicted, evangelical turnout was up this cycle - they constituted 38 percent of GOP primary voters. Mike Huckabee was banking on winning this bloc as overwhelmingly as he had in Iowa, but the exit polls indicate that he and Romney were essentially tied among those voters, with Romney getting the votes of 33 percent to Huckabee’s 31 percent.
Finally, Romney's local ties to Michigan - he was born there, and his father served as the state’s governor - may have put him over the top: 41 percent of Republican primary voters said Romney's connection to Michigan was an important factor in their decision on who to support.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) – Mitt Romney’s win in his native state of Michigan appears to be good news for Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
The former New York mayor is spending most of his time and most of his money campaigning in Florida, which votes January 29. The Giuliani campaign’s strategy has been to de-emphasize early votes and instead concentrate on Florida and the coast-to-coast primaries which follow on February 5.
That strategy only has a chance of success if there’s no clear Republican front-runner heading into the Florida primary. Romney’s defeat of Sen. John McCain of Arizona means that three different candidates have now won the first three major contests of the race - leaving the front-runner mantle up for grabs.
Giuliani’s campaign put out a statement Tuesday night congratulating the former Massachusetts governor on his win, adding that “he race remains fluid and competitive, [and] our strategy remains on track.
"Rudy is going to continue to campaign aggressively in Florida and after the energy we’ve seen on the trail this past week, we’re confident that we’ll be successful on the 29th.”
But while Romney’s victory does leave the GOP field unsettled, Giuliani’s own performance in Michigan was nothing to brag about. With nearly 60 percent of the votes counted, the former mayor was in the low single digits.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
(CNN) - Fresh off his first major win, the Romney campaign is focusing on South Carolina - they're back on the air there with a modest buy after briefly going dark to focus their resources on a Michigan win.The former Massachusetts governor is in a tight race with John McCain and Mike Huckabee in the Republican primary there, according to most recent surveys.
Thursday and Friday, it's on to Nevada, where the GOP race appears wide open.
(CNN) - Voters who made up their minds in the past 24 hours made a break for one Republican presidential candidate, according to CNN exit polls.
When it comes to those who made up their mind more than a month ago, McCain and Romney were just a few points apart, 32 to 26 percent. The two – who have been neck-and-neck in most recent surveys - were just as close, or closer, among voters who made up their minds last month, last week, and over the past few days.
But Massachusetts governor led McCain 41 to 26 percent among voters who made their pick within the last month – which includes a period when Romney, and virtually no other GOP candidate, was advertising heavily in the state.
And in a sign Romney may have had a bit of momentum heading into the race’s final hours, those who made their decision within the past day overwhelmingly chose him over McCain: he led the Arizona senator in that category, 39 to 25 percent.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign said Michigan's Democratic primary vote for the New York senator sent a clear message - despite the fact that she was the only major presidential candidate on the ballot.
“Tonight Michigan Democrats spoke loudly for a new beginning," said campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle in a statement sent to reporters shortly after the polls closed in the state. "You spoke out for an economy that would honor the middle class, not punish it. You spoke out for a president who will fight to create good paying jobs at a time when so many families are struggling to make ends meet.
"You spoke out for an end to the war in Iraq. You spoke out for a quality, affordable health care system that works for all Americans. For that, we thank you. Your voices matter. And as president, Hillary Clinton will not only keep listening, but will make sure your voice is always heard."
The other major Democratic contenders pulled their names from consideration in Michigan, and none have campaigned there, following the national party’s decision to penalize the state for defying its instructions not to hold its primary in January.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Independent voters constituted a significantly smaller proportion of Michigan Republican primary voters this cycle than eight years ago, our exit polling indicates.
Independents made up only 25 percent of primary voters this year - 10 points less than they did in the 2000 GOP primary that McCain won.
As predicted, among independents McCain beat Romney 35 percent to 29 percent. But Romney easily beat McCain among registered Republicans, 40 percent to 26 percent. That could bode well for the former Massachusetts governor in upcoming primaries where independent voters are not allowed to vote on the Republican side.
(CNN) – CNN projects former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to win Tuesday's Republican primary in his native Michigan, his first major contest victory of 2008.
With 11 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 37 percent of the vote, followed by Sen. John McCain at 31 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in third place with 17 percent.
Anti-war Texas congressman Ron Paul ran fourth at 7 percent, while former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson drew 4 percent and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 3 percent.
California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, brought up the rear with less than 1 percent support, while 2 percent went for uncommitted delegates.
Romney will win at least 10 Michigan GOP delegates tonight
McCain will win at least 8 Michigan GOP delegates tonight
12 of 30 delegates remain to be allocated tonight