Romney Roars in Michigan

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 26, 2011 3:55 AM

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney | Credit: Gage Skidmore - Flickr

A day after Florida Republicans held their Presidency 5 straw poll, it was Michigan’s turn. On Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts scored a big victory over his primary rivals in Michigan -- a state where his family has roots in both politics and business.

Romney, who was born in the Great Lakes State, took a majority of the almost 700 votes cast at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference straw poll with 50.1 percent. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who finished a disappointing second at P-5,  placed a distant second in Michigan with 16.8 percent. Romney’s margin of victory in the Michigan straw poll represents another setback for Perry, whose performance in a debate on Thursday was near-universally panned by pundits. Both Romney and Perry spoke at the Mackinac event on Saturday.

Fresh off beating Perry and Romney in Florida's P-5 straw poll, businessman Herman Cain took third with 8.5 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas -- who unveiled the backing of Michigan U.S. Rep. Justin Amash last week and won a straw poll in California earlier in the month -- placed fourth with 7.7 percent. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota took fifth with 4 percent, followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia with 3.5 percent.  Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania came in seventh with 3.4 percent, while former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah trailed with 2 percent.

With his deep roots in Michigan, it came as little surprise that Romney won the Michigan primary back in 2008. The candidate’s father -- George Romney -- led the American Motors Co., served as governor of the Great Lakes State and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968. With Michigan looking to hold its primary on Feb. 28, 2012 -- after Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- and a scramble of other states, including Florida, the Romney camp has made winning the state a major priority.

Michigan will be on center stage once again in the Republican presidential race on Nov. 9 when the candidates will be there for a debate.

Two favorites of Florida Republicans topped a vice presidential candidate straw poll also held at the Mackinac event. Freshman U.S. Sen. Marco  Rubio of Florida, who garnered national attention for defeating then-Gov. Charlie Crist in the 2010 election cycle, topped the straw poll with 23 percent followed by Cain in second with 14 percent. Two other current candidates for the Republican presidential nomination -- Bachmann and Gingrich -- garnered more than 10 percent in the vice presidential straw poll.

Reach Kevin Derby at derby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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