Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Santorum Sweeps Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri last night, halting former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's momentum in the race for Republican Presidential Nominee.

Santorum's largest win was in the Missouri primary, where he won 55% to Romney's 25% with Texas Congressman Ron Paul coming in third at 12%.

The Colorado caucus was the biggest upset, where Santorum took 40% of the Centennial State Republican vote to Romney's 35%.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in third at 13% while Paul garnered 12% of the vote.

Romney did far worse in the Minnesota caucus, where he placed third at 17% behind Paul's 27% and Santorum's 45%. Gingrich finished last at 11%.

Romney's third place finish in Minnesota seriously calls into question his frontrunner status and his ability to consolidate Republican voters behind his campaign.  It's as though when Romney jumped into the GOP candidate pool, the moderate sheen from his slick hairdo pushed away at the conservative surface tension of Republican voters in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado.

Last night's election results and corresponding projected delegates still makes the Republican Presidential race any candidate's game.  Especially when it could be later decided at the GOP convention in Tampa that Florida's delegates be awarded on a proportional rather than winner-take-all basis.

If the delegate count is so close that the Florida ruling ultimately decides the nomination, the GOP will face tremendous pressure to award the Florida delegates on a proportional basis.  To do otherwise would further splinter, rather than unite, Republican voters going into the General Election.  The Republican race has already been tarnished by the delayed announcement of Santorum's win in Iowa which robbed him of momentum going into the other early primary states and alleged election irregularities in Nevada which have made Paul supporters cry foul.

PROJECTED DELEGATES TO DATE IF FLORIDA TAKE ALL VS. PROPORTIONAL:
                     
Take All     Proportional
Mitt Romney 106             79
Newt Gingrich  3854
Rick Santorum 2229
Ron Paul 2024