Political Animal


March 21, 2012 8:39 AM Beatdown

By Ed Kilgore

It wasn’t particularly surprising, but Mitt Romney’s beatdown of Rick Santorum in Illinois was the most thoroughgoing win for the front-runner since Florida. He won by a double-digit margin in the popular vote, and won at least 43 of the 54 delegates at stake last night. According to the exit polls, he won in nearly every demographic category other than evangelicals (where he did better than usual);”very conservative” voters, and rural voters. He even won those who “strongly support” the Tea Party; non-college educated voters; and those earning under $50k.

CNN now shows Romney as having more than a 300 delegate lead over Santorum, with 562 of 997 delegates awarded so far.

I have an insta-analysis column up at TNR published late last night that runs through the calender and math and suggests that yes, the contest is finally over barring very strange events. To put it simply, April should be gangbusters for Romney, and might well put it so far out of reach that Santorum gives up or donors give up on him. If he survives, though, Santorum could have a false spring in May, when primaries are dominated by the South. The final hammer comes down in June when winner-take-all New Jersey and Utah, plus winner-take-all-by-congressional-district California, are almost certain to go massively for Mitt.

We’ll know more today about what Santorum, Gingrich and Paul have to say, not to mention other analysts and GOP opinion-leaders. Stay tuned.

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.


  • stormskies on March 21, 2012 8:53 AM:

    Don't know how many saw Rachel Maddow last night as she presented the ballots used in Illinois. If you did you can only realize yet again just how corrupt the Repiglican party is. Corrupt to it's core just as Romney is a soulless buffoon. He is like a monkey with a little hat on at the end of rope that is attached to a hand organ being played the corrupt Repiglican machine.

  • stevio on March 21, 2012 8:57 AM:

    With the Organ Grinder Darth Cheney...

  • Ron Byers on March 21, 2012 9:06 AM:

    Now the real work begins.

  • artsmith on March 21, 2012 9:21 AM:

    "barring strange events"??? In THIS primary season?! Let's start up the office pool to pick which week/day/hour the next strange event will happen.

  • T2 on March 21, 2012 9:21 AM:

    here's my take on the "beatdown" ....Romney won 47%, Santorum+Gingrich won 47%.
    Romney is becoming the biggest Loser winner in politics. If any thing is clear at this point it is that there is no "favorite" in the GOP race. Just guys trying to be "the lesser of three evils", and they all are, well, lesser. When they get to the convention......it could be fun.

  • boatboy_srq on March 21, 2012 10:16 AM:

    The GOP race is certainly turning out to be a competition over who can lose to Obama by the least percentage.

    More popcorn please.

  • Big River Bandido on March 21, 2012 10:21 AM:


    Romney still can't crack 50% against those clowns?

  • Diane Rodriguez on March 21, 2012 10:46 AM:

    I understand how politically incorrect it is to talk about how people look. However, 95% of what we take in is visual. Santorum had 4 of his older children standing behind him last night as he was speechifying. My first thought was yikes, can you imagine that group representing the US to other countries? As the leader of the free world your looks and your family's looks matter. If you drag your adult offspring on your campaign and display them, it is ludicrous to expect no conversation about them.

    OK I'm ready for the PC slap.

  • bdop4 on March 21, 2012 10:49 AM:

    Wow, only two more months of "GOP Primary Analysis," which boils down to:

    1. A quantitative measure of the volume of bullshit spewed by each GOP candidate; and

    2. A qualitative comparison of the different smell of each GOP candidate's bullshit.

    Just can't get enough of that.

  • golack on March 21, 2012 12:03 PM:

    He lost the bottom half of the state. Big win in heavily populated Chicago area more than compensated for big loss every where else--and it was the lowest turn out in a presidential primary since WWII. Think about that--Illinois isn't in play most years, and when it is, you have the lowest turn out. What is it about this round of POG candidates...To know them is to ____ (I'll start it off, "cry in one's beer")