Mitt Romney was unable to decisively knock out Rick Santourm on Super Tuesday, prolonging a brutal GOP nomination process, which means more super fun ahead for political junkies enjoying the circular firing squad. The only truly significant, contested state that Mittens clearly won was his former Massachusetts stomping grounds, a liberal bastion unlikely to deliver him any electoral votes in the general election. Rick Santorum beat out Romney by a large margin in both Oklahoma and Tennessee, and fought the powerful Romney campaign to a near draw in Ohio where votes are still being counted. Romney outspent Santorum $12 million to one in the Buckeye state, yet only about 1% of the million or more votes cast separate Romney and Santorum at this hour.
Romney’s all important delegate haul from last night will be strong, mathematically he may be near insurmountable now when last night’s delegates are counted out and finally awarded (Santorum’s campaign apparently screwed up their paperwork in several key districts in Ohio anyway and therefore cannot be awarded those delegates even if they win). But perception counts too, and because of Santorum’s surprise showing, Romney’s continued weakness with parts of the Republican electorate, and the calender ahead, the path to a rapid nomination for Romney appears to be no easier and arguably more difficult after last night. Next up are Kansas this Saturday, Mississippi and Alabama next Tuesday, followed by Louisiana and Illinois on March 20 and 24 respectively. All states with large gatherings of religious conservatives, crazed Teapartiers, and some neoconfederate voters who tend to prefer Anyone but Romney.