Mitt Romney eked out a win in Ohio over Rick Santorum which, when coupled with victories for the former Massachusetts governor in Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia and Idaho, ensured that he would remain the frontrunner for the Republican nomination heading out of Super Tuesday.
And, Romney leads in the actual Republican Party delegate count.
A few more “bad nights” like Super Tuesday and Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee. With his haul from yesterday, according to AP, Romney now has 415 delegates, Rick Santorum 176, Newt Gingrich 105, and Ron Paul 47 out of the 1,144 needed for the GOP nomination.
To be the frontrunner, you need to kill the frontrunner. And like a poor marksman—or at least an underfunded one—Santorum keeps missing the target. First Michigan, now Ohio. Online betting market Intrade gives Romney a 90% chance of being the GOP nominee. Of course, no one has a mathematical lock on the nomination yet. The fight will continue.
Mitt Romney has not closed the door on Newt, Santorum or Paul. They all will continue in the race and probably draw enough votes and delegates to deny Mitt Romney the 1,144 needed to win the Presidential nomination.
It’s far from over. Despite claiming six state wins last night and upping his delegate count to 404, Mitt Romney still does not have a lock on the nomination—or even a clear path to claiming it if his opponents don’t leave the field.
Consider this: if Mitt wins every remaining all-or-nothing state but one, and half of the remaining proportional delegates, he would likely still fall short of the magic nomination number of 1,144—which would force him to rely on unpledged delegates, the Republican version of the infamous Democratic super-delegates in 2008, to claim his party’s mantle.
After last night’s election results the chances of a “brokered Republican convention” have increased and the nomination of a candidate, like Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels or Bobby Jindal. This will probably not be a bad thing, especially looking at certain polls.
However, if Rick Santorum can beat Newt Gingrich in the upcoming Alabama and Mississippi primary elections, it is possible that Gingrich will quit the race. Santo would then compete one on one with Romney. Santorum might be able to beat Mitt or vice versa. Perhaps they just divide up the remaining delegates.
Should Gingrich prove obstinate and stay in the race (no matter what), it is very likely that NO candidate will have the 1,144 needed on the first nomination ballot. Then, hold onto your hats for backroom deals and the emergence of a “NEW” candidate.