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.