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The Repub­lican primary has come and gone for Hillsdale County.

GOP can­didate Rick San­torum, while second in the state, won the county with 43.6 percent of the vote. Hillsdale’s votes accounted for 2,269 of the nearly 380,000 votes San­torum received in the state — enough to make opponent Mitt Romney sweat but not enough to make the former Michi­gander lose.

“We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough, and that’s all that counts,” the former Mass­a­chus­setts gov­ernor said in his victory speech Tuesday night.

Romney won Michigan’s primary after receiving just less than 410,000 votes, or 41.1 percent.

Former Sen. San­torum fol­lowed with 37.9 percent. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gin­grich were a distant third and fourth, fin­ishing with 11.6 and 6.5 percent, respec­tively.

Romney placed second in the county primary with 32.9 percent. Paul was third with 15.0 percent and Gin­grich fourth with 5.6 percent.

Pres­ident Barack Obama, running uncon­tensted on the Demo­c­ratic ticket, received the last 5 percent of Hillsdale County’s votes.

“I was 95 percent sure Romney was going to win in Michigan,” said Gary Wolfram, pro­fessor of political economy and Hillsdale City res­ident.

Wolfram served as a policy adviser for Romney’s cam­paign. Over the past month, Wolfram has written op-ed pieces, fielded ques­tions on Romney’s tax policy for the national media, and helped the cam­paign frame policy issues for Michigan voters. He was even thanked by Mitt Romney’s wife, Anne Romney, in Tuesday night’s victory rally.

“My wife pointed out I was the only non-politician to be thanked,” he said.

The Romney cam­paign asked Wolfram to help with the Michigan primary after he defended Romney’s con­ser­vatism in his weekly column for Detroit News’ opinion blog, The Michigan View, in January.

“Anne had called me months ago and I’d just sort of gotten a little bit busy and for­gotten about it,” Wolfram said. “I wasn’t thinking about getting that involved, but then it became more obvious to me that Romney was the best can­didate and I should do some­thing about it.”

Senior Johnny Burtka, who described himself “unin­formed” polit­i­cally, got involved with the Romney cam­paign too, but for a dif­ferent reason.

“With the primary coming up, I felt like I should go out and find out more,” he said.

On Monday, Burtka and four other Hillsdale stu­dents drove to a Romney rally held just outside of Albion, Mich. They helped pass out signs for the cam­paign.

“The rally itself was good,” Burtka said. “He seemed to focus more on Obama than the other Repub­lican can­di­dates.”

Burtka said Romney seemed to be trying to talk himself up as “a Michigan guy.”

Kid Rock songs were played as the can­didate took the stage and Romney told the crowd he had gone to high school in Michigan and how he met and married his wife here.

At the end of the speech, Burtka said he and the other stu­dents got to shake hands with him.

Although Romney won the popular vote, of Michigan’s 14 con­gres­sional dis­tricts, San­torum won eight.

CNN reported Wednesday, Feb. 29 that each can­didate received half of Michigan’s 30 del­e­gates.

“Overall, I think the people [of Hillsdale County] made it pretty clear who they like: Rick San­torum,” said Park Hayes ’67, former city clerk and long-time Hillsdale res­ident.

Hayes said he doesn’t have a favorite can­didate. He said he thought all the can­di­dates had a lot to work on.

“I think Romney has a lot of work to do, but I think Wash­ington has a lot of work to do, and espe­cially Con­gress,” Hayes said. “So far they have not shown they have the for­titude to do what they have to do.”

Voter dis­sat­is­faction with the GOP can­di­dates has been a theme of the 2012 primary.

That was what got Wolfram writing on Romney in the first place. He said he didn’t like voter’s or the media’s mis­con­ception of Romney as a non-con­ser­v­ative.

“I have that column and when things start to irritate me, I’ll write about it,” he said.

Sophomore and Hillsdale res­ident Ethan Gehrke is irri­tated too, except he’s irri­tated at Mitt Romney.

Gehrke attributed Santorum’s success to his con­nection to blue collar voters.

“The truth is the working class is tired of rich guys,” Gehrke said. “People of the working class like to be stared in the eye and told the truth. That is what San­torum did in Iowa and I think that’s why he won [in Hillsdale County].”

Wolfram said he believes Romney will be the Repub­lican nominee.

“[T]he problem is, by making him spend money from this point forward, and the Repub­licans trying to spend all this money on the nom­i­nation process, it’s all money that can’t be spent on the general [election],” Wolfram said. “It would I think be our best interest to get behind him.”

The next primary will be held in the state of Wash­ington on March 3, fol­lowed by pri­maries in 10 states on March 7, “Super Tuesday.”