Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hard for Romney to explain this away

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, with a sweep in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado on Tuesday, has now won more nominating contests than any other candidate in the Republican presidential race.

Hard for Romney to explain this away


There are a number of ways to spin it away or place an asterisk next to it, but the fact is unavoidable: Rick Santorum has won more nominating contests than any other candidate in the Republican presidential race.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, swept frontrunner Mitt Romney in three states Tuesday, winning caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado, as well as a presidential preference primary in Missouri. On one level, these results scrambled once again the GOP race, bringing the potential for chaos, and on another they returned it to a familiar storyline: the struggle of conservative elements in the party’s base to overcome misgivings about Romney and get in line, or instead settle on a viable alternative.

It was a breakthrough for the former Pennsylvania senator, who had been an afterthought since a razor close victory in the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3. Now he faces the twin challenges of needing to broaden his coalition and increase his fundraising, to try to prove he can hang with the well-financed and organized Romney campaign.

There are no contests until the Arizona and Michigan primaries on Feb. 28.

More coverage
Hard for Romney to explain this away
Poll: If you had to vote today in a GOP primary...
Gallery: CO, Minn. GOP caucuses
Interactive Map: A look at the GOP primaries and caucuses
Full coverage
If you had to vote in the Republican primary today, which candidate would you vote for?
Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum
Other/None of the above

No actual delegates were at stake Tuesday. Missouri’s primary was a so-called “beauty contest,” a chance for Republican activists to express their preferences for a nominee, and the results in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses merely kicked off multi-stage processes of selecting delegates for the GOP convention in Tampa this summer, and are not binding on those choices, made in county and state conventions later.

But perceptions, obviously, matter.

It's clear there was an embarrassing fall-off in support for Romney that could be hard to explain away.

In Colorado four years ago, Romney won about 42,000 votes out of 70,000 cast. On Tuesday, he captured 23,000 out of 65,000.

In the 2008 Missouri primary, in which delegates were at stake and which fell on Super Tuesday, got about 172,000 votes out of 589,000 cast. Last night, Romney got around 64,000 out of roughly 233,000.

And in Minnesota, it was 26,000/63,000 for Romney in 2008 and 8,000/47,000 for Romney on Tuesday.

Including his victory in Iowa, Santorum has now won four contests. Romney has won three (NH, Florida and Nevada) and Newt Gingrich, the former speaker has finished on top in one (South Carolina).

Inquirer Politics Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
Also on
letter icon Newsletter