Tuesday, ten states held their Republican contests.
The final scorecard was:
Romney 7 states (198 Delegates) - Santorum 3 states (84 Delegates) - Gingrich 1 state (68 Delegates) - Paul 0 States (21 Delegates)
That puts the delegate count at:
Romney 404 - Santorum 161 - Gingrich 105 - Paul 61
So what does it all mean? Looking at things candidate by candidate:
Mittens won Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, Idaho, Alaska and Vermont. Of those states, only the Ohio win counts as a big one. Neither Santorum nor Gingrich were on the Virginia ballot, he would've won (in this primary) Massachusetts and Vermont with his eyes closed, and Idaho isn't going to be a swing state and neither will Alaska. Ohio was an absolute squeaker...Mittens won by less than 1% of the vote.
Here's where Mitt should be worried: He still hasn't carried a genuine southern state. (Yes, I know, he won Florida, but Florida is basically South New York. There are so many transplanted New Yorkers there it's hard to call it Southern). This is where Mitt could still lose.
Rick Santorum won Tennessee, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. I think it's fair to say, however, that Santorum lost because Newt's still in the race. If (as expected) conservatives weren't split between Newt and Santorum, the Senator could have added Alaska and Ohio to his win column, strongly changing this Super Tuesday's results. More on that later.
Newt Gingrich carried his home state of Georgia and made a fair showing for himself in Tennessee. Had Santorum not been in the race, one could expect Newt to have carried Tennessee and Oklahoma. But, one cannot fairly say it's Santorum who should get out given the current polls. Newt didn't quite have his swan song on Tuesday, but he needs to win Mississippi, Alabama, and possibly Kansas in the next week to stay in this race. Otherwise, he's just guaranteeing us Romney.
I've endorsed Newt, and I still believe he's the best candidate for the job, but sometimes one needs to be strategic. I'm going to hold back from saying Newt should drop out. But if he doesn't win at least Mississsippi and Alabama this coming Tuesday, I'm going to have to say that and likely withdraw my endorsement of him for that reason. Conservatives want better than Romney. That's a fact. The reality is we cannot continue to pretend Newt's got another huge comeback in him at this late stage in the game. He needs two Hail Mary touchdowns in Mississippi and Alabama, or else the game is over.
Finally, there's Ron Paul. Congressman Paul didn't win any states, but did pick up a few delegates. To date, hes' got about 8% of the total delegates so far. His quest is to push some of his fiscal ideas into the platform. Honestly, he needs more than 8% of the delegates to do it. We'll see what happens, but I do expect Congressman Paul on the ballot for the rest of the campaign either way.
Super Tuesday is past. It's time for conservatives to face a harsh truth: We either unite behind one candidate or accept Mittens. I'm on record saying I can live with Mittens. Doesn't mean he's preferable. I prefer dogs over cats. I have a cat because I live in an apartment and can't have a dog and I want a real pet, darn it. If I could've gotten a dog back in '05 when I adopted my cat, I would've gotten a dog. Right now, we can still have a dog...or we can settle for a cat. He might even end up being a great cat...one that acts a lot like a dog (like my cat does, by the way). The time to make that decision is now. We can live with our ideals and be stuck with Mitt, or we can coalesce. The time is now to decide. I'm eager to hear your thoughts.