Yes Mitt quietly has won the delegate count tonight. More on that in a bit.
Rick Santorum pulls off the Southern trifecta, winning Tennessee last week along with Mississippi and Alabama tonight. Huge night for him. He has a long term money problem but he just took a major step toward fixing that. He has a longer term delegate count. He took zero steps toward fixing that tonight.
Santorum won both state primaries tonight but he got no more than 35% of the vote in either state. Newt and Mitt both came in around 32-33% in both states. What does all that mean. It means all three men will divide up the delegates by thirds. Santorum will get the left overs after the even split. So Rick gained no ground. He actually lost ground and will lose some more. The caucus in American Samoa is over and Mitt won that and takes all 9 of the delegates. If Romney wins Hawaii later tomorrow morning, 2Am to be exact, he will pad his lead even more.
Remember, delegates, delegates, delegates is the key to the primary. Winning states means nothing if you can’t get a majority of the delegates. 1144 is the number. First one there wins. Mitt’s lead has actually grown tonight even though he lost the publicity fight. There are advantages to winning both states. If the numbers were the same but Mitt won, there would be a call for the other two bananas to get out and focus on the President.
Even Rick knows the numbers are working against him. Key sign that Rick has been doing the math; his victory speech tonight was from Louisiana where he was campaigning and right after the speech Rick hopped on a plane to Puerto Rico, a place he said he would not campaign. Why, he needs the delegates and Mitt has been lapping up the delegates of all the US Territories. Santorum’s victories tonight will add fuel to the fire that he is the only conservative in the race, thus prolonging the fight. But he can’t get the delegates to avoid a floor fight. He can only block Mitt from getting the nomination. If Santorum can get Newt to drop out before Illinois, he may have a shot at gaining some ground. If not….
Newt, who only last week was saying he had to win the southern states to stay viable, is now saying he is the only one who can beat President Obama. He says this after finishing 2nd in Alabama and a likely 3rd in Mississippi. Newt is currently doing a very awkward and painful interview on Fox news. A great question from Bret Baier. “Which states can you win after not winning the south?” Newt says they’re looking at Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia. Great Newt and after you only get a percentage of the 85 delegates between all three states, where will you get the other 800 you need to win?
Saturday and Sunday are the Missouri and Puerto Rico caucuses and then the Illinois primary is Tuesday the 20th. 69 delegates in Illinois. Mitt has already spent 2+ mil in ad buys and campaign stuff in Illinois. The other two guys have spent a grand total of $0.00 American dollars there. Should be another great night.
Hawaii results and updated delegate count first thing tomorrow.