Michigan was a must-win for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. After all, it was his home state where his dad once served as governor.
Going into Tuesday, the pundits were dwelling on the fact that challenger Rick Santorum was surging ahead in the polls, and before voting places even opened Romney was being written off by some.
As the polls closed Tuesday night and the numbers began trickling into major news networks, it was obvious from the start that Team Romney had handily won Arizona.
So what happened in Michigan that caused Romney to win by three percent instead of a larger margin?
This article from the Detroit News probably explains it as well or better than most. Then there was the crossing of political lines. Remember "Operation Chaos" in 2008 when Rush Limbaugh urged Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries against Hillary Clinton? The slogan was, "Anyone but Hillary."
In Michigan, Democrats -- with help from Rick Santorum -- played their own "Operation Chaos" as Democrats were urged by Santorum campaign robocalls as well as Democratic operatives to vote for anyone but Mitt. Exit polls showed that one out of every ten voters was a Democrat.
Democrats admitted mounting a campaign against Romney by voting for Santorum and Ron Paul. However, those same Democrats also admitted they will be voting for Barack Obama in November.
The contest continues ... but at what cost to Romney, Santorum, Paul, and Newt Gingrich?
Will Santorum face repercussions from Republicans unhappy at his campaign's blatant partnership with Democrats? RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has already made it known that he was not a fan of Santorum's tactics. Will it become an albatross around Santorum's neck as Romney and others point out not only the fact that Democrats were urged to cross over but also that Santorum still lost?
The win was probably a bigger boost for Romney than the mainstream media or Santorum supporters want to admit. Super Tuesday, coming up on March 6 and including Virginia without Santorum on the ballot, will help tell that tale.
Cross-posted at Bearing Drift