Super Tuesday: But for whom?
If Mitt Romney won Michigan last week "by enough", he won Virginia and Ohio yesterday by a technicality — and he won four other states fair and square.
The technicality was that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich had failed to appear as choices on the Virginia ballot. Gingrich's supporters had submitted a petition with too many duplicate signatures, while Santorum's supporters missed the deadline. Santorum also did not appear on the ballot everywhere in Ohio, where he nonetheless finished a very close second to Romney.
Romney also won his home state of Massachusetts, along with neighboring Vermont and distant Idaho and Alaska. No surprises there.
Santorum's declaration that "this is now a two-person race" proved to be true. Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia, but that was all; and Ron Paul's efforts at being the only current candidate to campaign in Alaska did not pay off as he'd hoped.
The next contest will be in Kansas this weekend, then in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana next week. Kansas is where a number of battles have been fought to prevent school students from being taught about human evolution — Santorum might have an advantage there. The Deep South could align with the one Southern candidate, Gingrich.
To be assured of the party's nomination, a candidate must gather the support of more than 1,144 delegates to the convention. Most estimates give Romney more than 400 so far — which is more than all of the other candidates combined.
Looking at the Associated Press delegate map, Santorum has a whole column of states in the middle of the country. Romney has almost everything east and west of it, while Gingrich has a tiny outpost in the southeast. Romney could easily win the nomination based on the states he's won — but the Santorum states are the ones he'd need to win the election against Barack Obama in November.
— Mike Pilewski