COMMENTARY | Newt Gingrich told his supporters after his Georgia victory Tuesday night that he was set to win the Southern states and propel himself onward to winning the GOP nomination. I like the former speaker -- I think he has a brilliant grasp of government -- but, whatever he is spewing these days makes no mathematical sense in the complicated Republican nomination process.
Gingrich told AFP that his 19-point victory in Georgia will set in motion victories in neighboring Alabama and Mississippi, then spread to capture the South. Such a strategy doesn't add up. It produces insufficient delegates to secure the nomination. More than anything, it paints Gingrich as a convention spoiler. Without a Texas victory, a Gingrich sweep of the South only mounts a few more delegates.
Texas has 155 delegates. But according to the Texas GOP website, there are a multitude of complicated factors to award those to candidates. One problem is the delegates will be selected before the state votes in its primary but will remain uncommitted until the state convention. That's just the beginning. The state GOP party has yet to determine how the state convention will award the uncommitted delegates. So there is no telling how Texas delegates will split.
The Texas Tribune reported in late February that Rick Santorum held a nearly 25-point lead over Gingrich in Texas. While that gap might lessen in the weeks ahead, it means Gingrich cannot count on the full delegate tally from Texas. In addition, the Lone Star state is Ron Paul's home, so he is bound to wean a few delegates in the process.
Super Tuesday wasn't a death blow to any of the candidates, but it should serve as a wake-up call for two of them. Gingrich might have won a big victory, but the path forward does not lead to a nomination win. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is out just for his 15 minutes of fame. He never has been a viable candidate, and with 10 fewer states, his is even less of one today.
A few months ago no one would have considered Santorum as a viable alternative to the crowning of Romney as nominee. Today, the nomination is Romney's to lose.