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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Island Hopping

Romney won Guam and the Mariana Islands. Go ahead and laugh: a delegate from Guam counts as much as a delegate from Kansas. AP reports:
Another victory for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He's won the Republican caucus in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, picking up nine delegates from the U.S. territory.
Rick Santorum got 6%. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich got 3% each on the main island of Saipan.
Romney was considered the favorite. His son Matt and wife Laurie visited Saipan, and he was endorsed by Gov.Benigno R. Fitial, chairman of the island's Republican Party.
Fitial says he and the eight other delegates will support Romney at the Republican National Convention in Florida.
Romney also picked up all nine delegates from Guam during the GOP state convention there Saturday.
The outcome is another sign that Romney is following Obama's 2008 strategy:  build up a delegate lead even from the unlikeliest places, thus making it hard for the other candidate to catch up.  Four years ago, Lynn Sweet blogged:
Plouffe said the campaign--and how many covering presidential campaigns have ever delt with this--is "organizing heavily in Guam" with a May 3 contest.
In June of that year, The Washington Post reported:
With Clinton's name recognition and traditional strengths obvious in big states, such as California, New York and New Jersey, Hildebrand, Carson and Berman decided it would be more effective to deploy one volunteer to Idaho or Delaware than to send that same volunteer to Los Angeles or Yonkers, N.Y.

In short, Team Obama would make a virtue of necessity.
"It's very hard to gain a big advantage in small states," a senior Clinton staffer asserted shortly before the Super Tuesday contests, which were supposed to seal Clinton's victory.
He was wrong. The small states did matter. Between Idaho, Nebraska, Vermont, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Alaska, Obama would amass 118 delegates to Clinton's 57.
Among the states where Obama strategists worked virtually unchallenged by Clinton were Kansas, Idaho, Utah and Alaska, where Obama staffers used the Internet to reach voters in a district known as the Arctic Circle.