By Mallory Londeck and Liz Magee
Ingham County Chronicle staff writers
INGHAM COUNTY –- The national political spotlight falls on Michigan Tuesday for its 2012 Republican national primary.
The front-running candidates are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.
The overall winner of primaries and caucuses across the nation will become the Republican candidate for president and challenge Barack Obama, in the November election.
Political experts say Romney to do well in the Michigan primary because of his strong ties to the state. Romney, 64, was born in Detroit and grew up in Bloomfield Hills. His father, George Romney, was Michigan’s governor from 1963 to 1969.
Mitt Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and served one term.
Ingham County resident Jeannie West said she plans to vote for Romney in the primary. “He’s a Michigan boy, and to me that’s an important factor,” she said. West said she agrees with most of his policies and considers Romney to be a capable leader.
Michigan State University senior Joe Habib said, “I see Romney winning, especially here in Ingham County where there is a large student base because he is more appealing to the younger Republican voters. He also has a strong pool among the older Republicans in the area because Gov. Snyder endorses him.”
Romney’s top challenger in Michigan is Santorum. A loss here would deal Romney a setback in his run for the nomination.
Political experts consider Michigan to be a critical state to win, as it has 30 delegates at stake in the election. The delegates will be allocated proportionally statewide and winner-take-all by congressional district. This means that the overall winner of the state will secure all the statewide delegates, but other candidates may receive delegates from each congressional district they win.
Matt Frendeway, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, said the organization has been busy preparing for the primary. “We have been utilizing social media like Twitter and Facebook. it’s a great way to keep the public informed,” he said.
In addition to the primary, there are a number of local issues and office at stake around Ingham County. The biggest local issue is a $53 million school issue in the East Lansing Public Schools.
You can find your voting precinct at Michigan.gov/vote