Three Way Tie in Georgia: A Super Tuesday Preview

Georgia’s Republican primary will be held on March 6, 2012, otherwise known as Super Tuesday. Other primaries that day include Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

The latest polling via the Atlanta Journal Constitution has things tied at the top among three candidates.

Newt Gingrich, 26 percent; Mitt Romney, 24 percent; Rick Santorum, 23 percent.

A Southern state, Georgia is viewed as a test of a candidate’s appeal with the core of the GOP base. It’s also Newt Gingrich’s home state and he has a great deal riding on the contest. If he doesn’t win it, it could mean his bid for the nomination is over. Gingrich himself has played up the significance of winning one’s home state by pointing out Mitt Romney’s need to win Michigan.

It would be all but impossible for Gingrich to justifying remaining in contention if he loses GA, given his comments on Romney and Michigan.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hinted Sunday that if rival Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney loses the primary election in his home state of Michigan, he should drop out of the race.

There are 76 delegates available. Check the Georgia Secretary of State’s website for additional details. Recently, both Santorum and Gingrich addressed the crowd at a GA megachurch Mike Huckabee spoke at in 2008 before going on to win the state’s primary.

Over the weekend, Gingrich held several rallies including one in Peachtree City, south of Atlanta, where he stressed that this area has long supported him. “It is great to be home,” Gingrich told the crowd. “I believe that I carried Fayette County in every single election including the two that I lost.”

Gingrich admitted running for the GOP nomination is a tough fight, but he said it’s something he’s prepared to deal with. “This has been a little bit like riding a roller coaster. In fact, I tell folks it’s a little bit like the roller coaster at Disney that’s in the dark,” he said. “If you’ve ever ridden Space Mountain, you don’t know what’s coming next. You don’t know where you were and you’re not sure where you’re going.”

Gingrich calls the contest a “wide open race,” and says recent polls prove that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is not the inevitable nominee. As for Rick Santorum, he says we’ll see in the next few weeks how he does.

Both Gingrich and Santorum are going after voters seeking an alternative to Romney. Sunday night, Santorum appeared at First Redeemer, a Baptist mega church north of Atlanta in the heart of Gingrich’s old congressional district. Even Santorum was surprised at the reception he got from thousands who crammed into the sanctuary.

Santorum didn’t talk about his GOP challengers, but instead criticized Barack Obama saying the federal government is over reaching, oppressive and threatening religious freedom.

Four years ago, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee spoke at this same church and ultimately won the Georgia primary. It is clear Santorum is hoping to capture that same religious conservative block and many voters here are behind the former senator.