A Report on March 6th
By James Van Riper
Following the ten-state battle on Super Tuesday only two candidates can win the party’s nomination for president. Barring a drastic turn of events, either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum will face Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Election. Let’s examine the Super Tuesday implications for the GOP Final Four:
Both staunch supporters and detractors can agree that Paul’s chances of winning the GOP nomination are slight. The states he pursued most (North Dakota, Idaho, and Alaska) offered three of the four lowest delegate totals on the day. Paul needed momentum wins in the caucuses, where his followers could have had the most impact. In Idaho, where the Texas congressman campaigned most, Mitt Romney took over 60 percent of the vote. Let’s just hope he keeps his promises and does not go 3rd party.
Mitt Romney: Romney did what he had to, and not much more. Certainly picking up over 200 delegates on Super Tuesday puts him on a clear path to the nomination, but Rick Santorum’s gains will keep the race contested. The former Massachusetts governor’s weaknesses in the Midwest and South were highlighted with losses in North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Georgia. As friendly Northeastern primaries do not pick up until the end of April, expect Romney to lose some of his cushion before any “wrapping up” is possible.
Rick Santorum: While collecting three state wins on Super Tuesday marked progress for Santorum, he must expand his voter base to have a chance at pulling into the lead. The four-man race has stood in the way of his (and Newt Gingrich) taking the front runner status. Victories and a near-victory in Ohio, however, show he is still a viable candidate. Watch for Santorum to use his new leverage to claim he is in a two-man race.
Newt Gingrich: To reinforce his earlier South Carolina victory and Southern strategy, Gingrich easily took nearly every county in Georgia. Was this enough, though? To stay alive, he probably needed to win in either bordering Tennessee or Oklahoma. What the Georgia win does though, is propel him into another round of Southern primaries including Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The question is whether he can keep votes in those states and keep votes away from Rick Santorum. If not, look for a Romney-Santorum photo finish. If the ambitious Gingrich does continue strong, count on Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee.
The Republican nomination season is not over, but Super Tuesday did narrow the race. Though no longer a probable candidate, Ron Paul will stick around to keep his libertarian ideals in the race. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have emerged as the top two contenders and Newt Gingrich’s actions determine which of those contenders will be crowned President Obama’s contestant.