Mitt Romney won in the Illinois Primary race last night gaining 46.7%. Rick Santorum came in second with 35.0%
With 34 Primary races contested so far, the Delegate Count after Illinois stands as follows:
Mitt Romney 560
Rick Santorum 246
Newt Gingrich 141
Ron Paul 66
The magic number is 1,144 which is the number of delegates needed to become the nominee of the party to face President Obama in November.
As you can see, Romney holds a huge lead on that front and has won more states than anyone else so far, with 21. Santorum has won 9, followed by Newt Gingrich with 2 and Ron Paul with 0.
It is clear in my mind that Romney will be the nominee at the end of all of this. Yes, there are ardent supporters of Santorum, Gingrich and Paul who will continue to champion their candidates and urge them to stay in the race, however there comes a time when you have to be rational.
Based on projections of delegate allocations, there is only a slim chance of Santorum gaining the 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination. From the looks of it, he is only out there to stifle Mitt Romney’s delegate count, not actually beat him in the Primary. So the question is... why is this primary season still being contested? If Santorum cannot win the delegate count, what is he looking to achieve here?
Is he really looking to go all the way to the convention and drag this process on and on which only helps Obama in November? If that’s the case, then that doesn’t augur well, because the longer the Primary, the less time there is to focus on Obama.
Santorum has said time and time again, that Romney is not a conservative and that’s why he needs to stay in the race to offer a viable alternative for the voters. On the other hand let me take you back to the 1st February 2008, where Rick Santorum had this to say during the primary season:
“In a few short days, Republicans from across this country will decide more than their party’s nominee. They will decide the very future of our party and the conservative coalition that Ronald Reagan built. Conservatives can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines in this election, and Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear. Governor Romney has a deep understanding of the important issues confronting our country today, and he is the clear conservative candidate that can go into the general election with a united Republican party.”
My question to Rick Santorum is... RomneyCare in Massachusetts was well known back them, his moderate issues were well known back then, his voting record was well known then, so what has changed in 3 years?
Unless Santorum wasn’t being truthful, which creates a huge character problem, then that is a huge endorsement.
Now, the former Senator of Pennsylvania has a big decision to make here. Does he fight on all the way to the convention, or does he do what Romney did during an address to the Conservative Political Action Committee - February 7, 2008 where he said:
“I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country”.Santorum should’ve given a speech similar to that last night.
The GOP need as much time as possible to unite, raise money and build an enthusiastic infrastructure to combat Barack Obama and his billion dollar campaign war chest. The more time that is focused on Obama and his failed policies, the better opportunity we have to properly illustrate a ‘compare and contrast’ for the American people.
The primary results have come in and Romney is clearly the preferred choice of the voters. Yes, there are areas that he has to work on with the religious and social conservatives but they are not deal-breakers by any means.
Just this afternoon, Romney received the key endorsement from influential Republican, Jeb Bush. That basically says that one of the most popular members of the party has decided that enough is enough and it is time to focus on Obama with Romney at the head of the ticket.
Romney is certainly not my preferred choice, for years I have been lauding Newt Gingrich as the second Reagan. However, I have to be realistic and say that it won’t happen this year.
Rick Santorum has a huge opportunity to unite the GOP and set the tone for the election this year. Essentially the ball is in his court.