GOP Primary: Santorum Sweeps – Newt Weeps – Mitt ….wins?

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.

GOP Primary: Mittmentum hits southern roadblock

It was never really a possibility that Mitt would win in the South, but for a brief moment tonight he led in both Mississippi and Alabama and it looked like he might just end this deal right here right now.  Well the band will play on.  It looks like Santorum will get a big win in Alabama and possibly eek out a win over Mitt in Mississippi.  We are four hours from polls closing in Hawaii and American Samoa, that’s 2 am in the east boys and girls, so we won’t know delegate counts there until 4 or 5am tomorrow morning.

With 50% of the vote in Alabama counted Rick has 35%.  Newt and Mitt are battling for 2nd.  IN Mississippi the three candidates are separated by 2 percentage points.  That might be a while.  It’s not entirely clear what tonight’s results will mean for Rick and Mitt until we see delegate counts.  What is clear is Newt has had it.  He was figuring to win both these states.  He may be lucky to come in 2nd in MS but he’ll likely be 3rd in AL.  A 3rd in AL means no delegates for Newt.  Of course he’ll give a 45 minute speech detailing how he is still the the only one who can beat Obama.

Ron Paul is a distant 4th in both states.  At 4% in AL and 5% in MS Paul will get zero delegates from tonight.  He may get a few in Hawaii as it’s a caucus and Paul does a little better in caucuses, but he’s over.  His only hope now is Newt “uni-bomber” Gingrich stays in and jams the math to the point of an open floor fight at the convention.

And as I type CNN is calling Alabama for Rick Santorum.  Rick is on his way to a huge night momentum wise.  That doesn’t get you to 1144, but it does generate more money which is as important.   There are 47 delegates in AL, 37 in MS, so we’ll wait to see how they shake out.

Funny/sad visual from Alabama.  The state used chain-gang members, complete with striped prison unis and leg irons to carry the boxes full of ballots to the state HQ for counting.  CNN captured it all.

Stay tuned, counting of ballots continues.