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.
Watch Santorum’s victory speech in Missouri.
Only a small percentage of precincts are reporting, but Santorum is leading in both the Missouri and Minnesota primaries tonight. Precincts from Colorado are not yet reporting.
There’s no significant headway to be made with regard to delegates tonight. However, victories in two out of three states would give his campaign a much-needed shot in the arm. A three state sweep is not out of the realm of possibility for the former senator.
UPDATE: Santorum wins the Missouri primary with 55% of the vote.
UPDATE: Santorum takes Minnesota.
UPDATE: Santorum Trifecta – The former senator closes out the night with a victory in Colorado.
Although Mitt Romney is favored to win today’s Sunshine State showdown, national excitement is high as voters clamor to see whether Romney does indeed pick up Florida’s 50 delegates later tonight. The Associated Press is reporting that Romney booked the Tampa Convention Center for his “night celebration” while canceling a rally scheduled for this morning. Newt Gingrich was scheduled to make a pit stop in Orlando at the First Baptist Church of Windermere before jetting off to Lakeland, Plant City, Celebration, and back to Orlando for his own end-of-the-night festivities at the Rosen Centre Hotel. Neither Ron Paul nor Rick Santorum will be in Florida for tonight’s results. Paul has already been focusing on the Maine caucuses, while Santorum has been tending to his three-year old daughter, Bella, who was hospitalized over the weekend. The former Pennsylvania senator was scheduled to hold a 10 am rally at the Lone Tree Golf Club Lounge in Lone Tree, Colorado. Continue Reading