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Rick Rolls Romney

Jim Burroway

February 8th, 2012

It was a huge night for Sen. Rick Santorum, whose triple-play win last night seems to show that Republican primary voters and caucus voters are still looking for that anybody-but-Mitt candidate. And it was that dissatisfaction with the presumptive nominee that allowed Santorum to dominate the field like a man on a dog.

In Missouri’s primary, Santorum captured his biggest win with 55% of the vote, more than twice as much as Gov. Mitt Romney’s 25% showing. Rep. Ron Paul came in at 12%, and 4% selected “uncommitted,” which can be read either as a Newt Gingrich vote (Gingrich failed to qualify for Missouri’s ballot) or as “none of the above.” Santorum scored a total shutout in Missouri, winning every single county in the state.

Missouri’s primary election is an oddity. There are no delegates up for grabs. In fact, the voting there is largely meaningless because the delegates won’t be selected until the state party convention on April 21, and there is no relationship between last nights votes and how the party’s state delegates are ultimately chosen. Missouri GOP leaders are free to heed or ignore last night’s vote altogether. So how well last night’s results will translate into delegates remains an open question.

But in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses, the fight for delegates was real, and Santorum had a similarly spectacular night there as well. In Minnesota, Santorum pulled in 45% of the vote and six delegates. Paul came in second with 27% of the vote (3 delegates), followed by Romney at 17% (2 delegates) and Gingrich at 11% (1 delegate). Yes, you read that right: Paul beat Romney in Minnesota. And like in Missouri, Romney didn’t win a single county in Minnesota either.

But the real surprise was Colorado, where Romney was expected to do well. Instead, Santorum took the state with 40% of caucus voters (earning 5 delegates) against Romney’s 35% (4 delegates), followed by Gingrich’s 13% (2 delegates) and Paul’s 12% (1 delegate).

The worst loser of the night would have to be Gingrich. He had a terrible showing, which is bound to have an impact to his already troubled fundraising. Santorum, on the other hand, may be able to use these wins to convince Republican voters to give him another look — and GOP anybody-but-Mitt donors somewhere else to put their money.

But speaking of money, Romney’s drubbing shows that there are limits to how far nearly-unlimited financial resources can go. Romney’s win last week in Florida had pundits believing that it was now his election to lose. It now looks like Midwesterners are thinking maybe he should. Lose, that is.

Comments

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Tony P
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

The reason is because those three states are strongly fundamentalist Christian.

The preachers have made certain of that.

Mark F.
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

“The reason is because those three states are strongly fundamentalist Christian.”

The GOP base is but not the general population.

Michael Miecielica
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

the thing is Mitt Romney didn’t spend any resources on Missouri, because they also have a Caucus down the line that is similar to Iowa/Minnesota/Colorado, i.e that one matters. Basically nobody but Rick Santorum spent any time there. It doesn’t really tells us much, other than Mitt is weak in the midwest and Rick is strong. (which is already a given)

Mitt also didn’t make much of effort in either of the other two states (no field office, no visits etc).

The events of last night show the limits of Mitt’s natural baseline without effort, and the limits of “presumptive nominee.” Not the limits of Mitt’s money and organizational strength.

Lucrece
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

I really feel bad for the gay, atheist, and religious minority people who live in those states. It paints a pretty scary picture of just what kind of folks you’ll find there.

Scott
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

Lucrece,
As an atheist Minnesotan, it’s not quite that scary. We have a couple of activist atheist groups and a very active LGBT group. Right now, trends in Minnesota is that the GOP/Republicans are in trouble. They over reached in the last legislative session, their party is in debt and disarray and the momentum feels like it is going back to the liberal side here. While that’s hard to quantify, I’m optimistic. However we do need to be vigilent.

cd
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

This is the Religious Right part of the GOP base showing up to stick it to the money-centric Party establishment.

Sick Rantorum is the last Not Romney standing. I don’t think there are illusions that he’s Presidential material. The Republican primaries seem to have become about anything other than their Presidential nomination. This is a Party one or two elections from abyssmal collapse.

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