Voters in 10 states went to the polls on Super Tuesday. Some contests were over early, while others took us into the wee hours of the morning (and not just because Alaska was voting). Three out of the four candidates won Super Tuesday contests, and all of them added to their delegate totals. But who faired best?
Gov. Mitt Romney had a solid showing. The governor has been the front-runner in the GOP primaries for months, and last night nothing happened to change that. The former governor won Vermont, Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Virginia and Ohio. His delegate total swelled to 381. While some media outlets were underwhelmed by Romney's performance, if you are Romney, it's hard not to think "inevitability." He won six out of 10 states, leads the overall popular vote total and has more than twice as many delegates as his nearest rival.
Sen. Rick Santorum had a great night. He won only three states, but where he won matters -- Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Tennessee is a strongly conservative Southern state. Oklahoma and North Dakota are strongly conservative plains states. In the next 10 days, four similar states are on the schedule. Kansas votes on Saturday, Alabama and Mississippi next Tuesday, followed by Missouri on March 17. And in Missouri, Santorum has already won a non-binding vote earlier this year. If Santorum can sweep them, the race will look very different in less than two weeks.
Newt Gingrich won Georgia, his home state, by a healthy margin. But it's his home state, so a win here for Gingrich was expected. Plus, he didn't win all the delegates. Romney and Santorum both got enough votes in some districts to nab a few. And in half the states voting on Super Tuesday, Gingrich failed to win any delegates at all. With Santorum firmly established as the "anti-Romney" candidate, and his strong showing in neighboring southern states, it's hard to see how the Gingrich campaign can continue much longer. If Gingrich fails to do well in Mississippi or Alabama, he'll probably be forced to call it quits. And maybe even if he does.
Rep. Ron Paul, by any standard, had a bad night. He failed to win any states. He never seriously threatened to win any, either, not even in the caucuses where he had hoped to do well. He picked up a few scattered delegates. But he remains last in terms of delegates and popular vote. Despite it all, the candidate plans to go on. According to his campaign's website, Paul will be in Kansas on Friday.
- Mitt Romney
- Rick Santorum
- Newt Gingrich