Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Santorum's Night

Big night for Rick Santorum, who crushed in the preference poll of Minnesota Caucusgoers and the state-wide straw poll of Missouri. He's also doing well in Colorado, winning Adams County, which includes the Northern suburbs of Denver. Arapahoe, Jefferson, Douglas, and El Paso Counties, which will report the lions share of the votes tonight (and have a large number of delegates at stake in the caucuses) are yet to report.

This is obviously a terrible night for Mitt Romney, who is coming in third behind Ron Paul, and Gingrich, who is dead last among the four major candidates, and isn't even on the ballot in Missouri. Tonight will reshape the Republican race with a lot of money and enthusiasm going towards Santorum. There's been a pervasive anybody-but-Romney sentiment in conservative media, and for a brief period, that had embodied itself in a resurgent Gingrich campaign. Since South Carolina, Gingrich's myriad negatives have been on display, from his lack of discipline on the campaign trail, to comedians describing the race as "a race in which the Mormon is running against the polygamist."

Santorum has been willing to make the case that Romney is indeed a weak candidate. Last Saturday, from Colorado, Santorum pointed to depressed turnout being a hallmark of a Romney win. Tonight's turnout in Minnesota may actually surpass the 62,800 caucus goers in 2008. It's also worth noting that Rick Santorum is the first Republican candidate this year to win a state with more than 50% of the vote

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