Less than five weeks away is the Oklahoma presidential primary, when Republicans will help choose the GOP nominee to oppose Barack Obama. Didn’t know Oklahoma had a primary? Perhaps that’s because the state hasn’t yet shown up on the radar of the remaining contenders or the media. On March 6, the state will join 10 other “Super Tuesday” states. Between now and then, a primary or caucus will be held in eight other states. By then, we hope, Mitt Romney will have emerged as the clear choice for the nomination. Romney’s front-runner status was on display with his convincing victory in Florida, but this is far from over. The prolonged campaign and debate schedule is tiring enough for voters. Imagine how hard it is on candidates. Yet Romney himself rejects the argument that competitive primary seasons hurt the eventual nominee. Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have alternated as the primary and caucus winners so far. They remain the only contenders (Ron Paul isn’t really in it to win it). Seven Republicans (and five Democrats) filed to be on the Oklahoma ballot, but three GOP candidates no longer seek the office. From the limited, preliminary polling results here, we conclude that Romney’s support has remained soft in Oklahoma as other candidates have risen or fallen over time. The Gingrich appeal here could mirror South Carolina: Intense dislike of Obama may translate into support for the candidate mostly likely to give Obama fits in the fall debates. Yet national polling continues to indicate that Romney has a far better chance of beating Obama. Voters should weigh the appeal of Gingrich as a fighter with the appeal of Romney as a winner. Also, a presidential primary in the recent past indicates that the choice of Oklahomans doesn’t always sit well. In 2004, Wesley Clark won the Oklahoma Democratic presidential primary. It was his only victory; he soon left the race. What stood out that year wasn’t Clark’s victory but the attention the candidates and the media paid to Oklahoma. This didn’t happen in 2008, and it’s not happening now. The 2004 primary was in early February, not early March. The race for the choice to oppose a second term for George W. Bush was still very much in play. John Kerry got the call, reported for duty and went down to defeat. The race for the choice to oppose Obama is also still very much in play. The Oklahoma results will be reported on the night of March 6. This might be the first and only time the state’s primary gets much national attention. We questioned the wisdom of holding a presidential primary here, especially considering the expense and the March date. But that’s moot. We also urged Republicans to rally behind Romney sooner rather than later. That rally is under way — just later than we’d hoped. In less than five weeks, this may all be over and Obama will have his opponent. The candidate best qualified for the job, best aligned with Heartland values and best positioned to beat the president is Mitt Romney.