Super Tuesday typically signals the final stretch for presidential primary campaigns. On March 6 voters will participate in primaries in 10 states, and with the race for the Republican presidential nomination still too close to call, the Super Tuesday primaries could go a long way in determining who ultimately emerges as the GOP nominee.
Given the stakes, the candidates want to ensure that the voters know where they stand on all of the important issues in this election, from the economy to same-sex marriage to space exploration. Unfortunately, there is one issue that has yet to be adequately addressed: the candidates’ stance on sports teams.
Sure, voters should know where the candidates stand on concerns like taxes, foreign policy, and unemployment. However, knowing what sports and teams the candidates support is important also. After all, as a Michigan fan, it would be hard to vote for an Ohio State fan, because that choice proves that their decision making process is just not up to par.
You might have to question the patriotism of a candidate who chose the Montreal Canadiens as their hockey team of choice. And can you really trust someone who can’t make a simple decision like the Phillies over the Mets to handle something as complex as the U.S. economy?
We at the Constitution Daily sports desk feel it is our duty as educators, citizens, and sports fans to ensure that voters can cast an informed vote in this campaign. As such, we have assembled this Sports Fans’ Guide to the Republican Primary.
Mitt Romney was born in Michigan and readily admits to being a Detroit Tigers fan as a child. He has previously stated that Tigers Hall of Fame outfielder Al Kaline was his favorite baseball player as a boy. However, Romney has lived in Massachusetts for more than 40 years and was governor when the Red Sox broke their 87-year-long curse in 2004. Evidently this was enough to overcome any schoolboy allegiances to the Tigers. Romney now boasts of being a member of Red Sox Nation, with season tickets to Fenway Park. Romney also appeared at this year’s Daytona 500, where he said he has several friends who are stock car owners.
Rick Santorum grew up in western Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University, so it is no surprise that he is a football fan. Where Santorum is from, you either root for the Pittsburgh Steelers or you move, and Santorum still makes his home in that area. Prior to the Super Bowl, Santorum removed all doubt about his NFL allegiance by saying that he would have a hard time rooting for Tom Brady because he was a Steelers fan.
Santorum has also maintained his allegiance to his alma mater. He was seen watching a Penn State football game on his tablet at a campaign event in Iowa—of course, Joe Paterno’s 408th career victory was something no true Nittany Lion would want to miss.
Plus, Santorum went a step further than Mitt Romney in his NASCAR fandom and sponsored a car at this years’ Daytona 500.
Newt Gingrich’s sports allegiances have proven tough to discern. In the absence of fact, we have been left to our own devices to divine the allegiances of the former House speaker.
Gingrich has already had one sports-related misstep during this campaign. During a debate in New Hampshire, Gingrich was asked if there was something he would rather be doing that day as opposed to participating in the debate. Gingrich replied that he would rather be watching the college basketball championships. Unfortunately for him, the NCAA basketball championships are played in March and early April, not early January.
Gingrich’s mistake is evidence that he is (a) really clueless about sports or (b) a fan, albeit a confused one, of college sports. Let’s be generous and assume the latter. In fact, perhaps he meant to say he’d rather be watching college football, since his native Georgia is college football territory. Gingrich has strong roots in western Georgia and that is prime Bulldog territory, so we are further going to assume that Gingrich is a University of Georgia fan. Of course, he also has connections to Atlanta, which could make him a fan of the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech. Gingrich has also spent most of his life in NASCAR territory, so that could also be his sport.
Ron Paul may not be likely to gain the Republican nomination, but he does count Jesse Ventura and Chuck Norris among his supporters. Besides giving Paul the ability to set up the coolest cage fight of all time, this would seem to indicate the Ron Paul is a fan of mixed martial arts. In addition, given the nature of Ron Paul’s political leanings, the free-for-all chaos of the Octagon would likely appeal to him.
We hope that this information will help clarify any remaining confusion on the issue of sports and the Republican candidates and invite the candidates themselves to correct any errors we may have made.
Michael Simzak is the Youth Programs Coordinator at the National Constitution Center and the official sports writer for Constitution Daily.