A political tip sheet for the rest of us

By Darlene Superville

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 2 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to the Hood College Republicans during a campaign stop at Hood College in Frederick, Md., Monday, April 2, 2012.

Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

A political tip sheet for the rest of us outside the Washington Beltway, Monday, April 2:

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

TUESDAY'S PRIMARIES: Two states and the District of Columbia vote, but the marquee contest is in Wisconsin. It's the kind of big industrial state where a win by Mitt Romney will further solidify his standing as the likely GOP nominee and a Romney loss will infuse Rick Santorum's campaign with new energy. Both candidates have spent the past several days rallying their supporters across Wisconsin — and eating cheese. Romney has the advantage in Wisconsin, based on the latest polls. He was also favored to win in Maryland and Washington, D.C. A total of 95 delegates to the GOP convention are at stake in the three contests.

TUESDAY'S DELEGATES UP FOR GRABS:

— 42: Wisconsin

— 37: Maryland

— 16: District of Columbia; whoever wins the primary gets all 16 delegates.

AP DELEGATE TRACKER:

Delegate count heading into Tuesday's primaries.

— 572: Romney, exactly half the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.

— 273: Santorum

— 135: Gingrich

— 50: Paul

WISCONSIN FACTS:

— The GOP presidential primary has been largely overshadowed by the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, scheduled for June 5.

— Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to win the state in a presidential election, in 1984.

— Known as America's Dairyland, Wisconsin ranks first nationally in cheese production and second in the production of milk. It has more than 1.2 million dairy cows, about one for every five residents.

FLOOR FIGHT: Santorum says a floor fight at the GOP convention over who should be the nominee would be "energizing" and a "fascinating display of open democracy" that would encourage more Republicans to participate. The former Pennsylvania senator has pledged to stay in the race, arguing that Romney has yet to win the needed delegates and isn't the strongest Republican to put up against President Barack Obama. Santorum, for one, thinks settling the matter on the convention floor will boost his chances of becoming the nominee. Other Republicans think such a scenario would only ensure Obama's re-election.

RUNNING FOR VP: Republicans eyeing a possible invitation to be Romney's running mate would do well to brush up on American political history. It's been nearly 100 years since a losing vice presidential nominee was also a politician skilled and lucky enough to eventually become president. The year was 1920 and his name was Franklin D. Roosevelt. So one takeaway for this year's much-talked-about group of potential vice presidential candidates is this: If you hope to be president one day, accepting the No. 2 spot is a pretty good deal if the ticket wins — and a possible pathway to political obscurity if it loses. Of the dozen presidents since FDR, just five were former vice presidents. George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon were elected but the others — Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald Ford — became president because of death or resignation.

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