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Posted on Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Iowa reactions: Local GOP officials expecting fierce battle for Michigan if Romney emerges as nominee

By Ryan J. Stanton

If the 2012 presidential election ends up being a contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, expect a fierce battle for the state of Michigan.

And that means more face time with both candidates.

"It would be very difficult for any Democrat to be elected president without carrying Michigan," said Wyckham Seelig, vice chairman of the Washtenaw County Republican Committee.

"And if Mitt Romney ends up being the nominee, we have an outstanding chance to carry this state for the Republican ticket," he said. "It would be fun campaigning in this state for Mitt Romney. I think he'd win Michigan … absolutely."


Mitt Romney appears at the University of Michigan in 2011.

Melanie Maxwell |

Romney's squeaker of a victory in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday was the first test for the Michigan native and son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who already paid Ann Arbor a visit last May, topped former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by eight votes on Tuesday. Both ended up with about 25 percent of the vote.

Ron Paul finished in third place with 21 percent.

"Iowa looks like it's doing its traditional role of winnowing the field, and we have two candidates — Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum — who are obviously coming out of Iowa very strong, and it looks like we're going to have an interesting race this week in New Hampshire," Seelig said.

Dennis Moore, director of the local Willow Run Tea Party Caucus, agreed that Romney might have an easier path to winning than Santorum, the more conservative of the two.

"Quite frankly, we have a little bit of a splintering or a division within the Tea Party movement across the state," Moore said. "I have publicly endorsed Mitt Romney. That is not going over well with our tried-and-true Tea Party conservatives, which I do believe I am."

Moore believes the Iowa caucus only complicated issues. He said Santorum's performance was notable, but he's not sure if the rest of the nation will come out as strong for him.

"Rick Santorum is everything ideologically that we as Tea Party people are, but Iowa voted on a pastor and the rest of the nation will not do that," he said, referring to Santorum, who is a devout Catholic. "I would love in my heart to be able to endorse Rick Santorum."

Asked whether he's pulling for a particular GOP candidate, Seelig said he's not necessarily taking sides yet.

"I am pulling for getting rid of this disaster of a president," he said. "Twenty-five million people are either unemployed, looking for work or have given up. That's a disaster."

Lonnie Scott, the Washtenaw County Democratic Party's co-vice chair for outreach, called the Iowa caucus results predictable.

"But it's also a testament to the fact that the Republicans are not coalescing around a candidate," he said. "And to me, it's the same situation that the Democrats had when we had John Kerry, or in Michigan with Virg Bernero. It becomes hard to win an election."

Scott predicts it'll be a battle for the state of Michigan no matter who gets the nomination from the GOP.

"We are the state of working people," he said. "And when you see things like Mitt Romney's comments about letting Detroit go bankrupt … I think Michigan is going to stick with Barack Obama. His policies have clearly benefited our state."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

Sparty, YOU get educated. If you'd actually read Turley, you'd have been pointed to this: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Obomber's hand-wringing over the provision's applicability to US citizens was purely for public consumption. The White House INSISTED that the phrase exempting citizens BE REMOVED! So what, if his veto could have been overridden by Congress? Then he'd, at least, have kept his oath of office - at least on this one point. He is guilty of subverting the Constitution, along with anyone in Congress who voted for it!


Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

How - PLEASE tell me - how can ANYONE vote again for Obomber??????? The unvarnished truth is that he has committed treason - the definition of which is subverting the Constitution he was sworn to uphold. Call it anything you like, but treason it is. We've been on this road to tyranny for quite a number of years, but, like the proverbial frog in a pot, we just kept trying to look away, or call it &quot;necessary&quot; due to the realities (NOT!) of the &quot;War on Terror.&quot; Jonathan Turley is another constitutional law professor (Georgetown U), who has quite another view of the recently signed provisions of the NDAA than our Commander In Chief (aka The Closer). Consider what you're not hearing from the MSN: Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011 <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> RON PAUL 2012 - even if I have to write him in...... Time for a reset back to rule of law and worry about the abortions later.


Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

You mean the law that passed by the US Congress on a massive bipartisan basis, with more than enough votes to override a Presidential veto if one had been done? I believe the Senate vote was 100-0? How could Obama be said to commit treason for signing the bill, along with a signing statement expressing his concern with various elements and detailing those that he would not adhere to based on constitutional separation of powers and other issues? Get educated.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Romney is a disgrace.. Ron Paul is witness that America has had enough of war. Yet, Romney fills his foreign policy staff with BlackWater, neo-con types.. Remember how his father , George talked of being brainwashed.. Mitt is brainwashed, but in an opposite direction from his father.. Mittens opposed an auto bailout which has proven to be a success and saved Michigan's economy and he has the ghaul to come here as some kind of Job Saver; when Bain Capital is quite the opposite. Mitt has never made a widget as did his Dad. His specialization in hedge funds and and offshore accounts. This kind of business experience is not something America needs.

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Hank: I'm a Ron Paul supporter, but more importantly I support facts, which you have completely abused, as if you were one of his GOP opponents. 1. Romney was not governor of &quot;NH&quot;. 2. He didn't run MA into the ground. MA's budget was completely out of whack and Romney took/is taking heat for having raised &quot;fees&quot; to in part balance the budget. Which explains why the liberal majority in MA helped elect a Rep, the same way they did her in MI after 8 years of a Democrat. 3. He purchased companies as opposed to them going out of business and ALL of the workers being dumped on the unemployment roles and the products/services being outsourced. 4. Aside from his expensive homes, Romney is legendary within the corporate world for being incredibly penny pinching, down to the family station wagon and brown bagging his lunch. Even the has covered the frugal ways in which Romneys were raised. Very old school Mormon. 5. Why is financial privacy any less important than medical or sexual privacy? 6. As a member of the GOP, I assure you that even here in Michigan it is a minority of GOP participants that are holding Romney up. Most of that impression is actually what is crafted by well paid Romney PAC operators and the media. 7. Corporations are just associations of persons for a common activity. You could debate the particulars of the rights that they can invest in THEIR corporation, but Dems and Reps use and don't dispute the legitimate rights of corporations.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Obama 2012 ! Romney can barely hit 25% within his own base in Iowa, LoL, and actually did worse there this year than in 2008 when he lost. The Evangelicals and Tea Party splits the rest of the candidates running. It will be a long primary season for the sad, sad Republicans.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

Romney wanted to dump the American auto companies and let them sink. This is the only bright spot in Michigan's economy and he expects to get votes. Aside from that, he was gov of NH. and he ran that state into the ground. He has made millions buying companies scraping out their assets and closing them, without a backward glance as to what happened to the families in his wake. He is the product of the silver spoon class, has had everything handed to him but now wants to be your president probably out of boredom. He flips flops on his judgments daily and has refused to release his tax statements. Why because he doesn't want Joe public to see he pays little or no taxes. So this is the man the GOP holds up as a person to defeat President Obama. The man that is on record for calling a corporation a person.


Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Aside from that, he was gov of NH. and he ran that state into the ground. Try Massachusetts....


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

I would vote for anybody except President Obama! He has to be the worst President ever, Yes he beats out President Carter!


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Are you rehearsing GOP talking points or do you have facts to back up your claim?