Political Animal


March 15, 2012 6:15 PM April Showers

By Ed Kilgore

While the imponderable factor is how GOP elites might respond to a major upset of Mitt Romney by Rick Santorum in the remaining contests, or to painfully slow accumulation of delegates by the front-runner, or to significant erosion of Mitt’s general-election standing, it remains unlikely in the short-term that the dynamics of the race will change.

Yes, we’ll all make a big deal out of what happens in Illinois, particularly if Santorum wins. But the path after Illinois, in the events held in April, gets a lot tougher for Rick. That’s made tangible in a new analysis at Sabato’s Crystal Ball that predicts Romney will pick up over two-thirds of the delegates awarded between now and the end of April, even assuming Santorum wins his home state of Pennsylvania (hardly a gimme) and also in Louisiana, while doing relatively well in Illinois. The April calendar just includes too many places (DC, MD, DE, CT, NY, RI) where Santorum has little chance.

To stay in the race, Santorum needs to hold on until the contest turns South again—but that doesn’t happen until May (when NC, WV, AR, KY and TX all vote). Rick better hope Romney keeps committing unforced errors and that Mitt’s Establishment friends keep raising expectations that the very next primary will end it all.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • gus on March 15, 2012 9:17 PM:

    when are people going to come out and call this what it is:
    too similar to the Democrats contest season in 2008 to not result in the same outcome???

    Granted the amount of caucuses in this Feburary seemed slight compared to í08 but...

    Granted this proportional allocation of delegates thing is really messing with Romney. In í08 McCain got the inevitable banner by now. And, Huckabee was an annoyance, at best.

    If Romney and Santorum end up close with to the same number of delegates, it will be hilarious beyond words. But, it isnít really likely to happen. Sadly. The GOP is stuck with the lesser of three feebles. (no offense to anyone by that).

  • rip on March 16, 2012 1:11 AM:

    While it seems highly unlikely that anyone but Mitt will get the nomination, the fact that both Hugh Hewitt and Dick Morris think that it's in the bag for Romney as well gives me pause, as both these guys are usually wrong about everything.