Rick Santorum shook things up last night with a midwest sweep of of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. According to CNN:
All the 70 delegates available Tuesday came from the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses, while the Missouri primary was nonbinding with no delegates at stake.
The two caucus states didn’t officially award delegates Tuesday night — that will happen down the road at district and state conventions — but the news media, including CNN, will use them to make unofficial delegate count estimates.
Will this big night for Santorum finally provide him with the headwind he never received from the late victory in Iowa? The AP reported this morning that frontrunner Mitt Romney has essentially thumbed his nose at the Santorum Surge:
“I congratulate my friend Rick Santorum on his win tonight. But the fact remains that this is a nonbinding primary, meaning Missouri’s delegates are still very much up for grabs.”
Missouri’s delegates are still up for grabs, but Romney should be concerned about his dismal showing in the Missouri primary as we get closer to that state’s caucuses on March 17.
The other candidates can downplay the events of Tuesday night, but the fact of the matter is that this will surely give Santorum some kind of momentum – even if its simply a confidence boost. Not only should it translate to an uptick in campaign donations, but it should garner him more media attention. That could be a negative, if the media starts to see him as a threat.
Newt Gingrich finished with poor showings in all three states but it appears that he’s hoping for a boom or bust scenario come Super Tuesday.