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Does it all come down to Ohio for Rick Santorum?
All eyes are on the Buckeye State as the GOP gears up for Super Tuesday
 
If Rick Santorum wins Ohio on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful may be back on sure footing, but the GOP will again be left without a clear nominee.
If Rick Santorum wins Ohio on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful may be back on sure footing, but the GOP will again be left without a clear nominee.
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Super Tuesday features 10 primaries and caucuses, with a total of 437 delegates up for grabs. But no state is attracting more attention than Ohio, a perennial general election battleground. The state is especially important for Rick Santorum, following his losses to Mitt Romney in Michigan and Arizona. Many say Ohio's March 6 primary represents Santorum's best — and possibly last — opportunity to convince the GOP that he's the party's best bet against President Obama in November. Is Ohio Santorum's last stand?

Yes. A loss in Ohio would be devastating: Santorum's "candidacy will realistically be at an end if he loses the Buckeye State," says Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal. Michigan was Santorum's "best shot at delivering a fatal blow" to Romney's campaign — instead, the state confirmed Mitt as the frontrunner. Romney could survive an Ohio loss fairly easily, given his expected domination in the Northeast on Super Tuesday. Indeed, even an Ohio win for Santorum "leaves him on life support," unless he can beat Romney in Super Tuesday's Southern states.
"Romney takes the GOP lead"

Ohio's demographics make the state crucial: Ohio is so important to Santorum that he might as well call it "Super Ohio Tuesday," says Peter Grier in The Christian Science Monitor. "It's a Rust Belt, union-heavy place," and Santorum is differentiating himself from Romney by accentuating his blue-collar roots and pro-manufacturing policies. Ohio also has a higher percentage of evangelical Christians than Michigan, another advantage for a rock-solid social conservative like Santorum. If he can't win with that coalition, his campaign is in trouble.
"Why Rick Santorum really needs Ohio on Super Tuesday"

Santorum is not the only one with something to lose: If Santorum manages to win Ohio, says Alexander Burns at Politico, the race could "easily find itself back where it was a week ago: That is, in a nearly even two-man race between an establishment favorite rejected by the grassroots and a conservative challenger with serious flaws." That's the type of contest that could eventually cripple Romney in the general election, since it would require him to slide even further to the right to shore up the base, dooming him with independent voters come November.
"Ohio dominates Super Tuesday fight"

 

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