6:54 PM PT (David Jarman): 57% are reporting in Michigan, per CNN. Got some minor fluctuation and a slightly bigger Mitt Romney lead: now 40-36 over Santorum, with 11 for Paul and 7 for Gingrich.
6:57 PM PT (David Jarman): Mitt Romney leads by 23,000 votes now (235K to 212K). Hard to see where Rick Santorum can make up the difference, as more rural counties have reported and the gap still isn't closing.
6:59 PM PT: Alas, we didn't shake it up enough to deliver the victory to
7:03 PM PT (David Jarman): We're getting to the point where a statewide Romney victory is looking pretty baked-in, so our attention starts to turn to the individual congressional districts. Winning statewide doesn't get Romney much from a delegate standpoint, as the 2 statewide delegates are allocated proportionally. (Meaning that unless something weird happens in the remaining numbers, Romney and Santorum each get 1.) But for each of the state's 14 congressional districts, the winner of each one gets 2. So it's hypothetically possible for Santorum to net more delegates coming out of Michigan tonight, by winning the majority of the state's congressional districts.
7:09 PM PT (David Jarman): So based on Romney's strength in the Detroit metro area, we can expect him to win the 13th and 14th in Detroit proper, the 12th in Ann Arbor and Dearborn, the 9th and 11th in the northern suburbs, and also the 8th, stretching from exurban Livingston Co. to Lansing. That's 6 for Romney. The real question mark districts are MI-01 (the Upper Peninsula, plus Traverse City), MI-05 (blue-collar Dem-leaning cities like Flint and Saginaw), and MI-10 (suburban Macomb Co, which is going for Romney, plus the rural parts of the Thumb, which are strongly Santorum). These three are the real tossup districts, so keep an eye on them.
7:10 PM PT (Jed Lewison): Santorum takes the stage, says he thankful to so many people.
7:11 PM PT (Jed Lewison): "All I have to say is I love you back." Is that like saying "Fuck you"? I mean, the voters didn't pick him, apparently.
7:12 PM PT (Jed Lewison): As Santorum speaks, Romney opens a 5 point lead according to CNN. These thank yous are really boring. I hope he tells us a story about a tree. Maybe he can focus on the bark? "It had just the right thickness of bark..."
7:12 PM PT (David Jarman): Fear not, Arizonans... we're going to give you some attention too. All of a sudden, 50% of the state's votes have been reported. It's a Mitt landslide, unsurprisingly... he's at 50, with 24 for Santorum, 16 for Gingrich, and only 9 for Paul, despite his strength among the grizzled 1890s prospector demographic, a must-have in Arizona.
7:13 PM PT: NBC projects what we've known for an hour -- Romney will win Michigan.
7:13 PM PT (Jed Lewison): Santorum's mom was a hard working mom, he says. What he means: "I saw the exit polls showed I lost among women. I knew I shouldn't have told them they were sluts for using birth control."
7:14 PM PT (David Jarman): Fresh from the horse (race analyst Chuck Todd)'s mouth: NBC News has called Michigan for Mitt Romney.
7:14 PM PT (Jed Lewison): Oh, shut up Rick Santorum, you worthless asshole. You're no good to me anymore. Let's see another Newt surge!
7:17 PM PT (Jed Lewison): Those are some really, really sad looking people standing behind Santorum. Not quite as bad as Ford Field optics, but close.
7:19 PM PT (David Jarman): Everyone's getting in on the act: CNN, AP and ABC also call Michigan for Mitt. CNN says with 71% reporting, it's 41 Romney, 37 Santorum, 12 Paul, 7 Gingrich. (As I've said, now everyone's eye turns toward the delegates allocated by CD.)