Well not really. Sorry Mike. But Romney won, and is winning big. Current numbers have him at 55% to Santorum’s 28%. That is huge, but again the delegate count will tell the tale. We won’t know the full delegate victory until late tonight or tomorrow sometime. Romney started the night already 10 delegates ahead because Santorum couldn’t get enough delegates registered throughout the state. That huge lead will not hold up as the rural counties have yet to report their vote. I would expect Mitt’s lead will be in the single digits by nights end. It’s also likely Santorum and Romney will split up the delegates with Mitt getting just slightly more. That is bad for Santorum. He needs to be running ahead in delegates and since his “Big” southern win he has been consistently losing ground.
To make matters worse, Newt came in fourth tonight, finishing at 7%. That’s a full 2% behind Ron Paul, who is so short on money the only time he’s on the radio or TV is for election night concession speeches. Because of that the cry is getting louder for Newt to get out. The word on the street is that Newt could exit tonight or after Wisconsin on April 3rd. If that happens, I think the vote Santorum is counting on from the Gingrich campaign will actually migrate to Romney as Mitt continues to build his lead.
Odd stat of the night:
Romney, a Mormon, is winning among Catholics in Illinois 48% to 32% over Santorum, a devout Catholic.
Candidate Campaign Health:
It’s FEC (Federal election Commission) day which means candidates must file their financial situation for the quarter. This gives us an interesting look into the health of each campaign. Below are their respective efforts. (Romney and Santorum only)
12 mil raised
12.4 mil spent
0 in loans
7 mil on hand
6.7 mil raised
5.2 mil spent
956,000 in debt
20,000 in loans – to Santorum himself in personal funds
1.5 mil on hand
So what does all that mean. It gives a good look at how much each candidate can spend going on to the next primaries. These particular numbers show something else. Santorum is having trouble raising money and keeping the money he does raise. This is not uncommon with a campaign that is a little unorganized, as has been reported. The 20,000 loan Santorum gave his campaign has been repaid to him even though the campaign still owes 956,000 to others. Me thinks there might be some fancy cypherin (read accounting) going on in that there campaign.
The “on hand” money is a little decieveing. It may be on hand but a lot of that is already ear marked to upcoming debt. So neither candidate has that # as a balance as we speak tonight. That’s what they had on hand as of the filing deadline today but you can already subtract the reported debt from the on-hand number. Rest assured as each candidate travels tonight they are already incurring debt and eating substantially into the on-hand number.
So Mitt has no outstanding debt but he’s spending money even as he is giving his victory speech right now. So his $7 mil on-hand is no longer $7 mil. Even concession speeches cost money. You only see the candidate on stage, but what you can’t see is food and drink laid out for VIP’s, Ron Paul is known for using a cash bar at his rallies: victory or concession, building rental, car rental, the music being played, signs handed out to the crowd for the TV shot, etc…. All of this costs money and it comes from the campaign.
There is probably a reason Santorum is giving his concession speech from his hometown tonight and not the next campaign stop in Louisiana. Most likely he’s getting the hall on the cuff (Jersey speak for free). He has one banner and no one is eating or drinking.
Of course each campaign is also raising money at the same time. Mitt will take a big lead there with his state victory tonight. As I have said many times, state victories bring money, delegate victories bring the nomination. We’ll see if Mitt’s big win translates into big delegates.
On to the Louisiana primary this Saturday, 24 March. It’s a big one, 42 delegates up for grabs in the Bayou Primary, but they’re all big at this point.
At current Illinois primary numbers Romney will win about 20 more delegates than Santorum,. Only 50% of the vote in right now, so that may change.