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Super Tuesday delivers a super muddled Wednesday for Mitt Romney

Results: AK, GAG, MAR , NDS, OHR, OKS, TNS, VTR, VAR, IDR

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.

Comments

  1. d cwilson says

    The big wild card in the race is still Gingrich. He’s only won two states, both in the deep south. Will he drop now or bank on wins in MS and AL to swing the momentum back his way? I think Romney actually benefits from Gingrich staying in. He and Santorum are basically splitting the evangelical vote and as long as that happens, Romney has a shot of winning a plurality in many states outside New England or those that do not have a large Mormon population.

    If Newt drops out, then I expect evangelicals to flock to Santorum. He would then pick up a few more states in the south and drag the primary out even further.

  2. says

    I think Gingrich originally started out thinking book sales and DVD marketing … but now he may be looking mostly to jack Romney for serious cash or cash equivalents somehow. I’m not clear on how he does that, but I’m sure Newt is very clear on it. So he’ll probably be using that leverage over Romney in some way, if he stays in we have to assume the leverage is working to Newt’s financial advantage either immediately, or soon down the road. Meaning Romney has promised him something explicitly or implicitly.

  3. d cwilson says

    You can always count on Gingrich being in it for himself. If he stays in, it’ll be because he’s working some angle that will help him sell more books and DVDs down the road. He knows he’s not going to win the nomination, but he’ll probably leverage his delegates into some deal that will fill his pockets.

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