AFT - American Federation of Teachers

Shortcut Navigation:
 
Email ShareThis

2012 Presidential Primaries Update

Update: March

March was a big month for the Republican presidential primaries and the candidates. Heading into April, Mitt Romney holds the lead with the most delegates, notching wins in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Still, none of the remaining candidates have indicated they will drop out of the race anytime soon.

Rick Santorum held his own in March, winning in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, was only able to win his home state of Georgia, and Ron Paul has yet to win a single state primary.

On deck for the April Republican primaries are the District of Columbia, Maryland and Wisconsin on April 3, and Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island throughout the month.

Right now, the delegate count stands at 569 for Romney, 262 for Santorum, 136 for Gingrich and 71 for Paul. And so the race for the Republican candidate continues.

Update: February 16

The topsy-turvy Republican primary season continues.

On Feb. 6, primaries were held in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. This time, Rick Santorum won a clean sweep of all three states. In Colorado, Santorum won 40 percent of the vote, over Mitt Romney's 35 percent, with Newt Gingrich coming in third with 13 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 12 percent. In Minnesota, Santorum handily won with 45 percent of the vote. Paul came in second with 27 percent, while Romney finished third with 17 percent and Gingrich finished fourth with 11 percent. And in Missouri, in the final contest of the night, Santorum crushed Romney 55 percent to 25 percent, with Paul coming in third with 12 percent. Gingrich was not on the ballot in Missouri.

The Maine caucuses were held on Feb. 11, and the lead bounced back to Romney with his win of 39 percent of the vote. Paul got 36 percent of the vote, with Santorum coming in third with 18 percent and Gingrich in the single digits with 6 percent.

The Republican candidates continue to sling mud at each other to win the votes of conservatives. So far, they are failing to convince voters that they have a good plan to put people back to work and move this country forward. President Obama, on the other hand, just released his budget blueprint that includes real solutions to provide relief to struggling Americans and much-needed investments in our future.

Update: February 1

The Republican presidential primary version of “Wheel of Fortune” continues, this time landing on Mitt Romney, who took the Florida primary with 46.4 percent of the vote, with Newt Gingrich getting 31.9 percent.

Working families should not have to play “Wheel of Fortune” with their futures and the futures of their children. The candidates vying to become the Republican nominee for president continue to batter and bruise each other on the campaign trail and ignore the everyday struggles of working families who have been battered and bruised by this economy. 

The rules are not the same for everyone in this country when a multimillionaire presidential candidate pays a 13.9 percent effective income tax rate (much less than most of us pay), or when he says he has been “unemployed” while making $20 million a year, or when he says he thinks the $375,000 he received for speaking fees is “not much money.” Meanwhile, the other leading candidate wants to build a colony on the moon and make it the 51st state. It’s time to get serious and start discussing real ways to help Americans and the economy.

In stark contrast to the Republican candidates, President Obama continues to offer commonsense solutions to get Americans working again. In his State of the Union address, the president said he wants to build a nation where “everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules.” That’s all working families want too—but unfortunately, that’s not what they are hearing from the Republican candidates. 

Update: January 23

The South Carolina Republican primary results are in, and the winner is Newt Gingrich with 40 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney with 28 percent of the vote. The next step in the Republican primary process is the Florida primary on Jan. 31.

As Republicans continue their efforts to select their nominee, one thing is clear: These leading Republican candidates are out of touch with the concerns of middle-class America, and as president, neither would fight for the 99 percent of Americans.

The candidates’ own words and actions illustrate this point.

Newt Gingrich: “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in … child laws, which are truly stupid. … Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.” Remarks at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Nov. 18, 2011.

Mitt Romney: “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.” Press conference, Florence, S.C., Jan. 17, 2012. (Romney has an unusual definition of “not very much,” as he reportedly made $374,327.62 in speaker’s fees from February 2010 to February 2011. CNN Political Ticker, Jan. 18, 2012.)

The other Republican candidates aren’t looking any better. All are on record in support of so-called right-to-work legislation (or “right-to-work for less,” as it should be called). And all have been wasting time and millions of dollars funneled through Super PACs—a result of the controversial Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations and corporate donors to use their record profits to try to silence the voices of hardworking Americans. According to the Federal Election Commission, Super PACs supporting Gingrich have spent more than $4.8 million, and those supporting Romney have spent close to $13 million, to attack their opponents and their campaigns without laying out a clear plan for the country.

Americans want to work, and it’s this kind of “politics as usual” that is standing in the way. 

Update: January 11

The results of the New Hampshire Republican primary are in, and the topsy-turvy season of the Republican presidential nomination process continues. Mitt Romney, as expected, won the primary, but we saw other candidates make their way into 2nd and 3rd places. The top four finishers in New Hampshire were Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich.

As we move on to the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21, it is clear that the Republican candidates continue to be more interested in marginalizing workers and their families than developing real plans for creating jobs and helping the middle class. Each candidate has expressed strong support of so-called right-to-work—a policy that seeks to silence our voice in the workplace. A better name for this policy would be “right-to-work for less.” It is a continuation of the attacks on workers’ rights that we faced in Wisconsin and Ohio this past year, and those we are currently facing in Indiana and other states across the country.

Here’s what the leading candidates have said about “right-to-work for less.”

Mitt Romney: “I believe right-to-work legislation makes sense.” Boston Globe Aug. 8, 2011. “If there were to be a federal right-to-work law that reached my desk, I would support it.” Boston.com, Aug. 24, 2011.

Ron Paul: “As a congressman, I’ve been a consistent co-sponsor and supporter of national right-to-work legislation.” RonPaul.com, Sept. 12, 2011.

Jon Huntsman: “My campaign recently met with [New Hampshire] Speaker William O’Brien to see how we can help him and other advocates for individual liberty revive right-to work legislative to benefit New Hampshire workers and jobs.” Op-ed, UnionLeader.com, Aug. 11, 2011.

Newt Gingrich: “I hope that New Hampshire does adopt right-to-work. I frankly keep it at the state level because, as each new state becomes right-to-work, they send a signal to the remaining states: Don’t be stupid.” CNN debate, Manchester, N.H., June 13, 2011.

Americans expect their presidential candidates to have a plan for creating jobs and strengthening the middle class, not one to weaken workers’ voice in the workplace and attack the middle class.  

Update: January 4, 2012

The 2012 presidential nominating process is officially under way with yesterday’s Iowa caucuses. At various times over the past several months, at least seven different Republican candidates led in the pre-caucus polls, but on January 3 Mitt Romney narrowly defeated former Sen. Rick Santorum, with both candidates receiving approximately 25 percent of the vote. Ron Paul finished third with 21.5 percent, and Newt Gingrich finished fourth with 13 percent. This race continues with the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Despite the fluidity of the Republican race, one thing has remained constant: These Republican presidential candidates do not stand with us on the issues that are important to AFT members and our families. Here’s a sampling of what Romney, Santorum, Paul and Gingrich have been saying on critical issues, including the recent fight in Ohio: 

Mitt Romney:
“My friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low. I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio’s leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending.” (Facebook; Politico.com, Oct. 25, 2011)

Rick Santorum: “I do not believe that state, federal or local workers … should be involved in unions. And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated.” (Fox News/Google debate, Sept. 22, 2011)

Ron Paul: In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Paul reiterated his belief that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all unconstitutional, saying, “Technically they are [unconstitutional]. … There’s no authority in the Constitution. Article I, Section 8, doesn’t say I can set up an insurance program for people. What part of the Constitution are you getting it from?” (Fox News interview, May 15, 2011)

Newt Gingrich: “You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re, what, 14, 16 years of age—fine. You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.” (Remarks, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Nov. 19, 2011)