Election Update 2012: Santorum Flushed Out?

So, it would seem that Rick Santorum has decided to drop out of the Presidential race – or at least suspend his bid (an important technicality).

What does this mean?

News outlets are now calling the race in favor of Mitt Romney.  But, they seem to be getting a bit ahead of themselves. Why? Because the nomination is won by getting 1,144 delegates and Romney still has a fight on his hands to get that number.

I’ve been watching Cincinnati’s Fox-19 where evening news anchor Ben Swann has done some fantastic reporting in his Reality Check segment explaining how wrong the AP projected delegate count actually is. Considering the current projection, I think Mitt Romney sure hopes it is wrong… or is the AP trying to send us a subtle hint?

You will see, that Lemon Global, a Ron Paul supporter blog has very different delegate projections. While they are possibly biased in favor of Ron Paul, the blog’s author posts that he has tried to make them as conservative as possible and may actually be underestimating Ron Paul’s delegate count. Here is what he projected the delegate count would be on April 4th, and to the right is his prediction after Santorum’s withdrawal assuming that Santorum delegates are all unbound (which they aren’t) and that they almost all swing towards Ron Paul (which is doubtful).

At any rate, Ben Swann over at Fox-19 , Cincinnati, has done a wonderful job explaining exactly what is going to happen to Santorum’s delegates.

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Of course, not everyone is as optimistic that the race isn’t over. FiveThirtyEight over at the New York Times has published an article stating that the race has reached its Endgame and begin to perform a “living autopsy” on Ron Paul’s campaign: http://nyti.ms/HIDiGD. Here is something interesting though: They show that Ron Paul has more than doubled his vote count and vote share since 2008 despite raising slightly less money than he did in his 2008 campaign.

So is the race over, or is there a fighting chance for New Gingrich and Ron Paul?

Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul Vow To Stay In GOP Primary Race

Photo: AP

Newt Gingrich & Ron Paul {AP}

Huffington Post: http://huff.to/HJ6ayV

Apparently, both Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul believe they have something to gain by staying in the race. Does that mean either of them think that a brokered convention is still a possibility and they could still win? That is certainly what Ron Paul thinks.

At this point, who is likely to perform better? My guess is it will easily be Ron Paul. Newt Gingrich’s campaign is $4.5 million in the red according to the Christian Science Monitor, and his $500 check to get on the ballot in Utah just bounced this week. The man is in trouble. It is obvious he has no financial sense, though, what with his impossible-to-keep promise of lowering gas prices to $2.50/gallon and his idea that a moon colony large enough to apply for statehood is a reality in the next decade.

On the other hand, Ron Paul’s campaign is flush with cash and having another big grassroots money bomb on Tax Day to raise funding to blanket Texas with this clever new ad:

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Meanwhile, Ron Paul’s plan of racking up delegates in states he “lost” is paying off big time. In St. Charles County, Missouri, where the caucus was originally shut down and leading Ron Paul supporter,  Brent Stafford, was arrested for who knows what, the script has been flipped in the do-over caucus. Brent Stafford was elected chairman of the caucus and Ron Paul went on to win all the delegates to the district convention. This is huge, considering it is the largest caucus in Missouri and positions Ron Paul to possibly sweep the entire slate of 52 delegates up for grabs in Missouri.

In Colorado, where the delegate selection process is also still underway and the Ron Paul campaign has already bragged of winning majority and unanimous slates of delegates, CBS-4, Denver reports a groundswell of interest in the GOP State C0nvention. Look for Ron Paul to do extremely well there and pick up many more delegates than the AP has estimated.

But isn’t Romney unstoppable? Not according to CBS News.

Romney still needs almost 500 delegates to clinch GOP nomination

Photo: CBS News

Mitt Romney {CBS News}

CBS News: http://cbsn.ws/HUQ8yL

According to this CBS News article, Mitt Romney must win 80% of all the remaining delegates up for grabs in April and May in order to cinch the nomination. And that is assuming that he has the amount he is estimated to have – which could, in fact, be fewer.

This race is far from over, and only promises to get more interesting from here on out. Although some are speculating that Santorum’s suspension of his campaign has made the brokered convention strategy less likely, they are missing a key point. Romney supporters are more likely to stay home now that they think their candidate has the nomination in the bag. Paul supporters aren’t going anywhere and are more enthusiastic and committed than ever before. And Santorum supporters, who were comprised of two primary factions, Anti-Romney folks and Evangelical drones, are now faced with the tough decision of where to turn now that their main man has let them down.

Dough Wead, former Special Assistant to George H.W. Bush and advisor to the Ron Paul campaign reports that Ron Paul is meeting with Evangelical leaders this week to take up the standard for the coalition that was giving Santorum his edge in the heartland. The Anti-Romney vote is now faced with choosing between broke-as-a-joke Gingrich, Ron Paul, and staying home.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul marches on, drawing bigger and bigger crowds and showing no signs of slowing down.

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