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Posted at 09:08 AM ET, 02/28/2012

Michigan, Arizona primary day: Is Rick Santorum gaining on Mitt Romney?

It’s the final countdown.

Today is primary day in the two big states before Super Tuesday, Arizona and Michigan. They’re both states that Mitt Romney had been expected to win easily – until Rick Santorum began gaining momentum among conservative voters as the “not-Romney” alternative.

Of the two, Michigan is by far the more competitive race – the candidates have been spending the bulk of their time there in recent days, and both Romney and Santorum hold their primary-night parties there tonight.

Santorum holds events today in Grandville and Kentwood, Mich., then makes a swing over to Perrysburg, Ohio, before returning to Grand Rapids in western Michigan for his primary night rally.

Romney starts off the day in Livonia, Mich., and holds his primary night rally in Novi, 30 miles west of Detroit. (Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of Romney’s top surrogates, visits a Romney primary-night party in Phoenix on the candidate’s behalf.)

Newt Gingrich, who all but bypassed Michigan, is spending the day in his home state of Georgia, where he holds three campaign events, two news conferences and a primary night rally.

And Rep. Ron Paul, who campaigned only lightly in Michigan, is spending his primary night in Springfield, Va.

Here’s a closer look at today on the trail (Courtesy of candidate schedules and the PBS NewsHour Political Calendar; all times Eastern):

8:45 a.m.: Rick Santorum meets with patrons of the Rainbow Grille in Grandville, Mich.

9:15 a.m.: Mitt Romney holds a campaign event in Livonia, Mich.

9:15 a.m.: Rick Santorum greets patrons at the New Beginnings restaurant in Kentwood, Mich.

11 a.m.: Newt Gingrich holds a rally and news conference in Dayton, Ga.

11:30 a.m.: Rick Santorum holds a rally in Perrysburg, Ohio.

1:30 p.m.: Callista Gingrich visits St. Mary’s Catholic School in Rome, Ga.

3 p.m.: Newt Gingrich holds a rally at the Richard B. Russell Airport in Rome, Ga.

3 p.m.: Rick Santorum visits a Santorum for President field office in Grand Rapids, Mich.

6:30 p.m.: Ron Paul holds an election-night party at The Waterford in Springfield, Va.

7 p.m.: Newt Gingrich holds an election-night rally and press conference in Carrollton, Ga.

8 p.m.: Mitt Romney holds a primary night event in Novi, Mich.

8 p.m.: Rick Santorum holds a primary night rally at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich.

9 p.m.: John McCain attends a Romney for President primary night event at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix, Ariz.

By  |  09:08 AM ET, 02/28/2012

Tags:  presidential election, Michigan primary, Arizona primary, Republican Party, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum

 
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