Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary narrowly over Rick Santorum Tuesday, reclaiming some momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
He also won Arizona, by a much bigger margin.
Romney needed to win both, but especially Michigan (where he grew up when his father was governor) to assert his ability to regain his tarnished frontrunner status.
A Santorum win in Michigan would have raised questions about how strong a candidate Romney is within the GOP, and even a narrow defeat may have done so.
Nevertheless, Romney was 2-for-2 last night. Whether that gives him a critical boost heading into 10 "Super Tuesday" primaries March 6 remains an open question.
Empirically, Michigan's 30 delegates to the Republican convention, where the nominee is actually chosen this summer, will be allocated on a proportional basis.
That's in contrast to Romney's victory in Arizona, which was both expected and more thorough, netting him all 29 delegates in that state's winner-take-all primary.
Santorum portrayed his Michigan defeat as better than expected, even after leading in the polls earlier this month, given Romney's financial and territorial edge.
"This was going to be Romney's night. The question was how big. And it wasn't very big," Santorum said, adding that it's a "two-person race right now" with Mitt.
Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, despite finishing a distant third and fourth Tuesday, have both indicated they are still in this for the long haul to amass delegates.
The Arizona and Michigan primary results, according to Real Clear Politics:Michigan primary results
- Mitt Romney 409,138 (41.1%)
- Rick Santorum 377,119 (37.9%)
- Ron Paul 115,531 (11.6%)
- Newt Gingrich 64,955 (6.5%)
Arizona primary results
- Mitt Romney 215,119 (47.3%)
- Rick Santorum 120,678 (26.6%)
- Newt Gingrich 73,478 (16.2%)
- Ron Paul 38,453 (8.4%)