Mitt Romney has won the Utah Republican presidential primary in an expected landslide. By 10:45 p.m. EST Tuesday, with roughly three percent of the vote in, the Associated Press called the race for Romney, who by that time had already garnered 94 percent. With all precincts reporting, however, Romney would eventually win 95 percent of the vote.
The Utah primary was a tough race to predict. Many analysts thought Mitt Romney might have a few advantages that would be difficult for the other candidates to overcome. Chief among these was a pronounced lack of other candidates.
Technically, Ron Paul was still on the ballot, but he long ago suspended active campaigning. His efforts in Utah were dealt another blow when his own son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, recently endorsed Romney.
Furthermore, Romney graduated from college in Utah, and famously supervised the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It is also rumored that Utah has a substantial Mormon population.
And just in case that wasn???t a steep enough hill for Ron Paul to climb, he had to split the anti-Romney vote with the redoubtable Fred Karger, ???the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history,??? as his website happily declares. Some people love to vote for plucky underdog candidates, but unfortunately for Ron Paul, in the Utah primary even the underdog had an underdog.
Paul ended up pulling about 4 percent of the vote, with Karger well behind at 1.7 percent, just a little ahead of the 1.5 percent taken by Rick Santorum’s long-suspended candidacy.