With Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum splitting the conservative vote, polls put Mitt Romney right in the thick of it in both Alabama and Mississippi.
“Thanks so much for giving me this birthday present. Hopefully, I can unwrap it tomorrow,” he told a crowd at the Whistle Stop restaurant in Mobile, Ala.
If Mr. Romney does score a victory on Tuesday in either Alabama or Mississippi, it will be a first for the former Massachusetts governor. Though he won in Florida in January, that state isn't considered a part of the cultural and political South (and he lost the more conservative Florida panhandle badly).
Despite Romney's struggles in that region, it's just possible he could get the birthday gift he's hoping for on Tuesday.
Right now, polls show him virtually tied with both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in Alabama. (The most recent poll from Public Policy Polling actually has Romney leading with 31 percent, compared with 30 percent for Mr. Gingrich and 29 percent for Mr. Santorum – but the differences are within the poll's margin of error.)