Republican Confusion Led to Santorum Win

by on December 18th, 2010
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COMMENTARY | The Republican Party is confused this year, and that confusion might lead to a second term for the Democrat sitting in the White House. After sweeping three election victories Tuesday, Rick Santorum has managed to send an unexpected ripple through GOP circles.

While the former senator from Pennsylvania didn’t pick up any delegates, his wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado were a boost to his campaign. He told the Associated Press that his campaign was able to raise $250,000 on Tuesday night. That’s money the Santorum campaign badly needs, but a mere pittance compared to what Mitt Romney’s campaign will throw out on a media buy in the next states to vote.

What is remarkable is how fickle the Republicans are this year. Eight states have voted and Santorum can lay claim to wins in half of them. He is connecting with the conservative base of the party — the group of people who are still uncomfortable with the former Massachusetts governor despite his high-profile wins and buckets of campaign cash. Why Newt Gingrich did so poorly is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps, as many have suspected all along, he is about to just fizzle out.

Associated Press reported Santorum picked up 52 delegates, but it’s not quite that easy. County-by-county delegate selection will take place over the next two months to allocate those delegates, and they all might not end up in Santorum’s corner. Delegates in Minnesota and Colorado are not bound to anyone, according to rules in those states. And Missouri won’t officially choose delegates until April. But for campaigning purposes and bragging rights, Santorum can lay claim to the three states and the delegates that should materialize from them.

Ron Paul had a disappointing night. The Texas congressman placed second in Minnesota, but wasn’t deterred. His campaign said it was “thrilled with (Tuesday’s) results” and planned to “vie for delegates nationwide.” It might plan to challenge for votes in other states, but its message doesn’t seem to gain the traction the other candidates have been able to muster.

Santorum gets a pat on the back for a good showing. The onus is on him to keep up the momentum though. As for Romney, it was his to lose — and he did.


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