Romney Wins North, But Other Candidates Draw Voters
The presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, fared well in the north country Tuesday night - but not that well.
Three other candidates pulled substantial numbers of voters. That includes Rick Santorum, who suspended his campaign two weeks ago.
Of course, 'substantial' is a relative term. In each county, you could have fit all the people who voted into a good-sized high school auditorium, and had room left over.
Still, it was hard to see the north country vote as anything but continued unease among some of the Republican base about Romney.
Lewis County and Jefferson County reported 100 percent of the vote by 10:40 pm Tuesday.
In Lewis County, Romney won easily, with 222 votes. But Ron Paul (72 votes), Newt Gingrich (62 votes) and Santorum (53 votes), together got 187 votes.
With all votes counted in Jefferson County, Romney again won easily, with 637 votes. But Paul (200 votes), Santorum (183 votes) and Gingrich (166 votes) together got 549 votes - less than 100 votes from Romney's total.
Only in St. Lawrence County did Romney's overall margin seem comfortable: with 98 percent of the votes counted, Romney got 771 votes, but Paul got 286, Gingrich 151 and Santorum 132, for a 'not Romney' total of 569.
Note also Paul's strength: of the other three candidates, he was the leading vote getter in all three counties.
There were a few signs leading up to Tuesday's primary that not all north country Republicans would fall in in behind Romney.
The Watertown Times' Brian Amaral reported Kellie Greene, who is running as a more conservative alternative to Matt Doheny in the Republican primary for Congress, encouraged votes for Santorum. (Story here.)
Said Greene on her Facebook page: "Stand up for what you believe in today and vote your conscience - not what you think the outcome is going to be anyway!!!!"
- reporting & analysis by Scott Atkinson Tuesday night
Our report from earlier Tuesday
New York's Republicans head to the polls Tuesday to vote for a presidential nominee.
Mitt Romney has a chance to substantially boost his delegate tally.
As expected, turnout was low around the north country.
"I didn't expect a huge turnout but I thought there would be more people," said Donna Eisenhauer, who came out to vote for Romney.
Polls are open from noon until 9 p.m.
St. Lawrence County has consolidated some of its polling places, so it's a good idea to check with the local Board of Elections before heading to the polls.
St. Lawrence County Republican Elections Commissioner Tom Nichols said the consolidation should save the county an estimated $50,000 to $70,000.
Polls have shown Romney with a commanding lead in New York. His nearest competitor, Rick Santorum, quit campaigning.
The former Massachusetts governor has already begun focusing more on the general election against President Barack Obama.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015, Watertown, NY
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