Romney's win last night was 1st time GOP frontrunner failed to reach 60% after last major challenger dropped out

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A review by the University of Minnesota’s Eric Ostermeier of Republican primary election data since 1972 finds that Romney’s performances in Delaware (56 percent) and Pennsylvania (58 percent) mark the first time a GOP frontrunner has failed to reach the 60 percent mark in a contest conducted after his last major challenger dropped out of the race.

“Over the last 40 years there have been nearly 80 contests in which the presumptive Republican nominee played out the string after their last credible challenger exited the race,” he writes. “The lowest vote tallies recorded by these eventual nominees were 63.8 percent by Ronald Reagan in New Mexico in 1980 (after George H.W. Bush exited), 68.0 percent by George H.W. Bush in Nebraska in 1988 (after Bob Dole exited), 61.3 percent by Dole in Montana in 1996 (after Pat Buchanan exited), 63.3 percent by George W. Bush in Utah in 2000 (after John McCain exited)and 69.7 percent by McCain in 2008 in Idaho (after Mike Huckabee exited).”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.