Mich. primary could be sneak preview of Ill. vote

February 21, 2012 10:17:07 AM PST
On this President's Day, we look to the next presidential primary, which is in Michigan.

In this Intelligence Report: Michigan shapes up to be a political precursor of what we'll see in Illinois, where primary is voting March 20.

Monday may be a federal holiday, but not in a presidential election year. Across the lake, on the west coast of Michigan, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum gave his stump speech in the banquet room of a Holiday Inn. Romney arrives Tuesday morning for a town hall meeting.

Both candidates took potshots at President Barack Obama Monday, but during this week-long run up to the GOP primary in Michigan, they are still going strong after each other.

In a Santorum commercial running on Michigan TV stations, a Mitt Romney look-alike runs around with a machine gun firing mud. It is being called the "Rombo" ad. Since the spot has been running, Santorum's 15-point lead has fallen to 4 points.

Romney, who would like to be considered a Michigander even though he hasn't lived there in decades, is running a slightly softer attack ad.

When it is over in Michigan, Romney, whose father was once the governor of the Great Lakes state, will have raised $3.2 million about three times what Santorum raised.

In Illinois, according to the latest federal campaign filings, Romney has raised almost $2 million, much of it through Restore Our Future, a super political action committee. Santorum is only on the books for $43,000, but that doesn't reflect money brought in since his popularity surged.

The pro-Santorum super PAC, called the Red, White and Blue Fund, has been spending money hand over fist in Michigan, almost $700,000 in TV air time across the state.

Congressman Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are well behind in both Michigan fundraising, spending and in the voter polls.

In the money race, though, Obama is a landslide winner. In his home state of Illinois, Obama has raised almost $8 million, according to the latest state records.