Johnny Isakson: Ohio will make ‘great’ night for Mitt Romney, ‘terrific’ night for Rick Santorum

Updated at 10:10 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson was on a Wall Street Journal webcast this evening:

Said Isakson:

”I think the preliminary surprise might be a surprise showing by Santorum in both Tennessee and Oklahoma. Quick frankly, it’s not going to be a conclusive night , it does not look like.

“….If Romney is able to pull Ohio out, and add it to Vermont, Virginia and Massachusetts, he will have had a great night. If Santorum pulls off Ohio, he will have had a terrific night.

As for Newt Gingrich, Isakson had this assessment, post-Georgia: “He has a tough row to hoe.”

Updated at 9:40 p.m.: In 2008, Mitt Romney won Gwinnett County with 35 percent of the vote. He won Fulton County with 40 percent.

Tonight, Romney is losing Gwinnett County with 29 percent of the vote — despite his Sunday pancake breakfast in Snellville. Newt Gingrich has 48 percent.

In Fulton County, Romney is doing better, pulling 45 percent. Ann Romney’s visit to Alpharetta last week is paying off.

Updated at 9:30 p.m.: Here’s Rick Santorum’s problem in Georgia: He’s coming in second in eight of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts.

But in six of those districts, Gingrich is either over or approaching 50 percent. Gingrich could sweep the three delegates in each.

And we have yet to really hear from Mitt Romney tonight. His metro Atlanta voters have yet to be tallied.

Updated at 9:10 p.m.: Why did Newt Gingrich pick the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly in the Cumberland-Galleria complex for his party tonight?

Because it’s where, in 1994, he learned he would be the next U.S. House speaker.

Who was standing behind him in the TV picture? The fellow who looked like Robert E. Lee was Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, a member of the state Public Service Commission. Then, left to right, were former state Sen. John Wiles of Kennesaw, former state Sen. John Douglas of Social Circle, and current state Sen. Judson Hill of Marietta.

Updated at 8:35 p.m.: Here’s an odd point for you: According to exit polls, Mitt Romney, who is very famously not Catholic, won the Catholic vote in Georgia (41 percent). Over two Catholics, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

And thrice-married Gingrich gathered up the support of 50 percent of white evangelicals — while Santorum came in a distant second with 24 percent.

Updated at 8:25 p.m.: Newt Gingrich is above or close to the 50 percent mark in 10 of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts. The only area where Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are close to parity with him is the First District, occupied by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston.

Updated at 7:45 p.m.: In returns now being tallied by the secretary of state’s office, Newt Gingrich is showing strong form in the two north Georgia congressional districts where Rick Santorum must do well in order to salvage the night.

Returns are still sketchy, but in the 14th District, occupied by U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, Gingrich is pulling better than 35 percent. Santorum is at 34.7 percent, and Mitt Romney is at 22 percent.

In the 9th District, which stretches to Georgia’s northeast corner, Gingrich is at 49.9 percent – on the verge of being able to claim all three delegates awarded with that district. Romney is at 25 percent and Santorum is at 22 percent.

Updated at 7:15 p.m.: Now that Newt Gingrich has been declared winner of his second Deep South state, we can say – as we poke through the exit polls:

– Rick Santorum will struggle through the night to maintain the 20 percent needed in Georgia to take a share of Georgia’s 32 statewide, at-large delegates. Unless he does very well in north Georgia, he could be shut out entirely of 42 delegates awarded by congressional district.

– Gingrich won the economy argument: 57 percent of Georgia voters said the economy was the most important issue. The former U.S. House speaker won 48 percent of those votes.

– Gingrich also did best (46 percent) among those picking a Republican who could defeat President Barack Obama in November. Romney came in second with a close 38 percent.

– But Gingrich won the support of only 10 percent of those who said a strong moral character mattered most to them. Santorum shone there, 55 percent.

Original: By exit polls, an angry tea party crowd – but not one particularly fueled by illegal immigration — showed up to vote in Georgia on Tuesday. Among some of the details:

– Georgia’s GOP presidential primary is definitely a tea party contest. Seventy percent said they “strongly” or “somewhat” support the movement.

– Likewise, 91 percent of voters described themselves as “angry” (41 percent) or “dissatisfied” (50 percent) with the federal government.

– Unlike electorates in previous states, last-minute decisions weren’t the rule among today’s Georgia voters. Only 31 percent said they had made up their minds on a candidate within the last few days.

– Two-thirds identify themselves as evangelical.

– But when it comes to the importance of shared religious believe with a candidate, voters expressed some ambivalence: 34 percent said it matters “a great deal,” 35 percent says it matters “somewhat,” and a combined 31 percent said it mattered “not much” or “Not at all.”

– 58 percent said abortion should be illegal in “all” or “most” cases.

– 58 percent identified the economy as the major issue facing the the nation. Only 2 percent said illegal immigration – a measure of how that fiery issue has faded since only last year.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

98 comments Add your comment

purple rain

March 6th, 2012
6:56 pm

No surprises here. After all, look who our governor is.

Teddy Roosevelt

March 6th, 2012
7:13 pm

No surprises here. After all, look who our president is.

hl

March 6th, 2012
7:13 pm

The state has already been called for Newt. How can two-thirds of evangelicals vote for a liar and a cheater. I don’t get it.

Shark Punch!

March 6th, 2012
7:14 pm

Hey, at least we didn’t pick Santorum.

Michael

March 6th, 2012
7:15 pm

I grew up in the embrace of the federal government in Maryland and have never understood the states-rights crowd. Must be all that banjo music clogging your ears.

[...] picksChattanooga Times Free PressMass. exit poll: Economy top issue for GOP votersWorcester TelegramAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -The Hill (blog)all 16 news [...]

hl

March 6th, 2012
7:22 pm

Teddy, you are so right. I wish the president had cut spending and decreased the debt like Cameron did. England’s gnp is just growing by leaps and bounds..haha
I wish the president would just slash taxes and not worry about collecting them cuz that has worked so well for Greece…haha
Maybe if Newt wins he’ll appoint you for a cabinet position.

Georgia gives 'em hell!

March 6th, 2012
7:29 pm

The rest of the country can have that socialist Obama or that empty suit Romney. Georgia went for NEWT!!!!!

Go Buddy!

Newt wins!!!

March 6th, 2012
7:34 pm

This is still our state! You bed wetting liberals can cry all you want. White males still run Georgia!

majii

March 6th, 2012
7:35 pm

GA went for Newt, but the nation won’t!

MD

March 6th, 2012
7:36 pm

You dems better think before you vote for obama.How are things working out for you now.If obama gets reelected their won;t be enough beans left for you to eat.

sara

March 6th, 2012
7:38 pm

The Pink Pony needs to keep the light on late tonight-after Calista and Herman’s old lady go nite-nite-big daddy cain and the newster are gonna make it rain.

hl

March 6th, 2012
7:42 pm

MD… you are so right …we just need more spending cuts and tax cuts so that is working out so well for the Cameron government. You don’t read much do you.

Just Wait

March 6th, 2012
7:53 pm

Newt wins Georgia!
Georgia ranks 49th in education.

Any correlation?

td

March 6th, 2012
7:59 pm

Way to go Georgian’s!!! Send Newt the message that we really appreciated his service to the state and to the conservative cause.

Edward

March 6th, 2012
8:05 pm

mistresses rejoice. daddy done good.

Buckhead Boy

March 6th, 2012
8:07 pm

I can for sure tell you two Republicans who didn’t vote for Newt today — Newt and Calista.

As for the comment that “white males still run this state.” please narrow that down a bit so not to libel a bunch of us.

hiram bronson granbury

March 6th, 2012
8:08 pm

@just wait
I think that a lot of Dems joined the Dims(tea-party) to stir the pot…

BLACK PANTHER

March 6th, 2012
8:10 pm

The South shall rise again. Georgians continue to show their stupidity when it comes to leadership, but oh, wait the Klan needed a new Grand Dragon and now he doesn’t have to wear a sheet. He fits in great with the rest of the Racist in this state.

BLACK PANTHER

March 6th, 2012
8:13 pm

White males don’t run nothing but their mouths and these nuts.

GaBlue

March 6th, 2012
8:13 pm

****Yawwwwwn!****

I’m glad the Republicans of Georgia are enjoying feeling relevant tonight. Oh sure, they want your delegates. SURE they do! They want our electoral votes too! And yes, like good little uh… uh… What’s that word Limbaugh used? Slots?

Like good little slots, y’all hand ‘em right over! Yoo-hoooo! Here, take mine! Please take mine! And y’all think that means they care about Georgia circling the drain. HAHAHA!

Round and round…. and you’re forgotten.

td

March 6th, 2012
8:18 pm

BLACK PANTHER

March 6th, 2012
8:10 pm

“The South shall rise again.”

If we were so lucky this nation would be a great place if it followed the values of the south.

“wait the Klan needed a new Grand Dragon and now he doesn’t have to wear a sheet”

Pulling out the race card. How sad indeed.

SouthernGal

March 6th, 2012
8:25 pm

I cannot believe you people supported Newt…

Aquagirl

March 6th, 2012
8:26 pm

I can for sure tell you two Republicans who didn’t vote for Newt today — Newt and Calista.

He says he can run the country, but can’t even figure out how to get on his own ballot. Of course Jawja voters love the guy.

td

March 6th, 2012
8:27 pm

BLACK PANTHER

March 6th, 2012
8:13 pm

White males don’t run nothing but their mouths and these nuts.

Sorry, wrong again.

td

March 6th, 2012
8:29 pm

SouthernGal

March 6th, 2012
8:25 pm

I can not believe at least 70% of the state did not vote for such a great leader in this state. Probably the most accomplished leader this state has ever had.

jb

March 6th, 2012
8:31 pm

Let’s get on to the REAL race…what are the returns for Sunday Sales?

D man

March 6th, 2012
8:37 pm

I’m not excited about any of these candidates, but one of them has to beat Obama. He is destroying America with his socialistic give away programs which we can not pay for. There has got to be a middle ground. He tells america that the rich will have to fund it thru tax increases on the rich but the rich will just turn around and raise prices on the goods we all buy to cover their losses. Raising taxes is not the answer. Making able body people work instead of handouts for votes is the answer. This guy needs to go no matter who wins the GOP. We must beat Obama…

honested

March 6th, 2012
8:41 pm

Tuesday, March 6 2012,

The last flatulent burst for the 21st Century’s ‘transformational figure’.

Transforming into a bad memory and one would hope, with the grace to quietly disappear.

honested

March 6th, 2012
8:42 pm

D man

Just wait quietly until 2016, then you can pretend you ‘beat Obama’.

4 more years!!!

March 6th, 2012
8:43 pm

Obama beats romney with ease!!! 4 more years!!!!

D man

March 6th, 2012
8:46 pm

Honested, quietly is something I will not be. I’ll will be campaigning extremely actively for whoever ends up winning the GOP nomination. Me and my many friends voices will be heard in November when we cast our votes against Obama…

B-Bro

March 6th, 2012
8:50 pm

Worst President = Obama

Not so much

March 6th, 2012
8:52 pm

TN to Santorum… what does that mean for our Southern Son?

td

March 6th, 2012
8:52 pm

Wow!! We actually have some conservatives on the blog tonight. Welcome and please come back often to help help educate the uninformed and the intellectual weak minded Obamaites.

Ol' Timer

March 6th, 2012
8:53 pm

I’m listening to Gingrich and don’t recognize who he’s talking about. He’s absolutely DELUSIONAL!

D man

March 6th, 2012
8:53 pm

4 more years – we can’t afford 4 more years of high unemployment, high gas prices, no way to pay for Obamacare, bowing down to international leaders who should be slapped down, and out of control budgets that are bankrupting our nation.

td

March 6th, 2012
8:55 pm

Newt= $2:50 gallon gas.

td

March 6th, 2012
8:58 pm

Drill baby Drill

Dave

March 6th, 2012
9:00 pm

As a white male – all I can say is I’m not very happy with the white male who is ruining, ah running, this state.

Travis McGee

March 6th, 2012
9:00 pm

Ignorant folk are eating up the drivel and half-truths that the demogogue is putting out! He continues to talk about debating the president — but he can’t get the nomination. Sorry about that, Newt.

td

March 6th, 2012
9:01 pm

Mr. President: How do you think we have a hundred years supply of natural gas? Drill baby drill.

honested

March 6th, 2012
9:01 pm

dman,

So you want to go back to the ‘bush depression’?
Sorry, I try to learn from disastrous mistakes and I like seeing things return to prosperity.
You remember prosperity, back when Clinton was President.

honested

March 6th, 2012
9:02 pm

td,

Is noots blowing up balloons and selling them for $2.50?

D man

March 6th, 2012
9:02 pm

Dave- please explain how he is ruining our state?

honested

March 6th, 2012
9:03 pm

Yes drill everywhere for natural gas.
Disturb water tables and poison wells.
We don’t need water, we need cheap hydrocarbons because many of us are far too stupid to conserve.

honested

March 6th, 2012
9:08 pm

dman,

I guess he is just following the sure to fail policies that have been standard here since 2003.
You remember 2003, when everything began to swirl down the drain while our legislature started to concentrate on the really important stuff like:
The marriage protection amendment.
State funded land purchases for sonny.
Scraping out the Savannah river so there would be a one-way channel for the boats too busy to wait for high tide.
A constant barrage of unconstitutional abortion bills.
Cutting education funds and when that didn’t work, cut some more.
And so much, much more blind incompetence and unbridled corruption.
Are you new to GA?

Moon Mullins

March 6th, 2012
9:08 pm

I can’t understand how Newt’s gonna do all he says he’s gonna do when he keeps coming in third with about a 15% vote count. CNN has called six states and Newt won one. Maybe he can go up to the White House next year and debate the President over beers on the White House porch.

That Ol’ Newt travels a different highway that most of us do. He’s tuned in to a different station.

TRUTH

March 6th, 2012
9:09 pm

OBAMA = worst president ever

honested

March 6th, 2012
9:09 pm

Moon….

And I think it is the station at the end of the spectrum that only gets white noise.