Santorum Delivers Haymaker to Gingrich’s Campaign

As of midnight, Rick Santorum is declared the winner of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, nabbing at least 15 delegates in Alabama and 12 in Mississippi while Newt Gingrich scored 9 in Alabama and 11 in Mississippi and Mitt Romney came away with just 7 in Alabama and 11 in Mississippi.

The win is not quite convincing enough to put Romney on the ropes, but it could give Santorum vital momentum heading into crucial primaries in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and North Carolina.  Most pundits had Gingrich or Romney holding the key Southern states that Santorum needs to prove that he can mount a truly National campaign and appeal to enough segments of the population, and it would appear that is no longer the case.  But the key victory for Santorum, it seems, is that Gingrich’s campaign has no logical next step on a path toward the nomination.  I don’t see how he can make the case for pressing on to expensive states like Texas when the only states he’s won are in his backyard — and he’s lost some of those too.  I think Gingrich will need to make a decision soon and step out of the race to avoid embarrassing himself any further and spending money he won’t have — not to mention preventing himself from having any chance to get onto someone’s cabinet and make a difference going forward.

We await Hawaii’s poll results, and expect that state to go to Romney due to the strong military presence there, but that state won’t dictate momentum in future contests.  All eyes are now on Missouri and its 52 delegates.  That caucus generally respects the preceding primary and there’s no reason to think Santorum won’t do well there.

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