By Susan Duclos
Four contests held last night, in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa.
Alabama- Rick Santorum took first place with 35 percent of the vote and with 99 percent tallied he came in at 214,488 votes cast for him. Newt Gingrich took second place with 29 percent with 182,123 votes cast. Mitt Romney in third at 29 percent with 180,178 votes cast. Ron Paul at 5 percent with only 30,883 votes.
Mississippi- Rick Santorum took first place with 33 percent of the vote and with 99 percent tallied he came in at 93,261 votes cast for him. Newt Gingrich took second place with 31 percent with 88,768 votes cast. Mitt Romney in third at 30 percent with 86,027 votes cast. Ron Paul at 4 percent with only 12,506 votes.
Hawaii- Mitt Romney took first place with 45 percent of the vote and with 99 percent tallied he came in at 4,250 votes cast for him. Rick Santorum took second place with 25 percent with 4,250 votes cast. Ron Paul in third at 18 percent with 1,712 votes cast. Newt Gingrich at 11 percent with only 1,034 votes.
American Samoa- CNN shows Romney as the projected winner but has no percentage of the vote tallied as of this time. No final numbers until they are reported.
NBC’s current delegate count: Romney 419, Santorum 184, Gingrich 136, Paul 34
[Update] As I am reminded via email from Greg Lewis,, it seems as if NBC's delegate numbers are different from AP's via Wapo, so here are those links as well:
From the Washington Post:
"Because delegates are awarded proportionally in both Alabama and Mississippi, Romney won 23 delegates in those two states, compared to 31 for Santorum and 24 for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Georgia), according to the most recent projections by the Associated Press. But Romney captured 14 more delegates than Santorum in Hawaii and American Samoa, AP said, for a net gain of six delegates. That allocation gives Romney 494 delegates, nearly twice as many as Santorum’s 251."
Then we have NYT, so might as well add that link as well.
CNN's numbers are different than all three of the above linked sources.
Take your pick.
A candidate must reach 1,144 delegates to obtain the nomination and although Romney is the front runner he has not even reached the halfway mark to that magic number and 27 states have already conducted their primaries/caucuses.
(Full GOP Primary/Caucus Schedule HERE)
There are a few lines of thought going around, all dependent which candidate pundits favor and the anti-Romney crowd which would prefer any of the candidates but Romney walk away with the nomination.
Some believe Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul should suspend their campaigns making it a two man race between Romney and Santorum.
Gingrich and many of his supporters believe if he stays in, it is guaranteed that Romney cannot hit the 1,144 mark in delegate count before the August convention and the candidates can fight it out on the convention floor.
Romney supporters believe that if Gingrich and/or Paul drop out of the race and the delegates for the remaining states are divided by two candidates whoever takes first and second in the remaining contests, then Romney could reach the 1,144 mark making him the defacto Republican nominee to go up against Barack Obama in November.
Santorum and his supporters believe if Gingrich drops out then Santorum would gain his supporters but as per a leaked Santorum memo, even his campaign admits that the path to his nomination is not the 1,144 delegate mark but a convention fight.
The anti-Romney crowd, those who support a candidate other than Romney but would throw their support behind any of the GOP candidates except Romney, would prefer all the candidates stay in, collect delegates and block Romney from taking the nomination.
Some claim the anti-Romney sentiment is some type of myth, but having spoken to many who claim they would rather sit out the election rather than cast their vote for Romney which they see as no better than Obama, they do exist and they are very vehement in their opposition to Romney.
Another consideration for pundits is that the Republican convention is not until August.
Some believe that not having one firm candidate before August limits the time the eventual GOP nominee will have to focus on campaigning against Barack Obama. The flip side of that coin is that Barack Obama cannot focus his campaign machine and supporters on any one candidate while there are four candidates consistently and publicly making the case against Obama.
Romney would prefer the other candidates drop out and unite behind him but the process is in place for a reason and the process is working as it is supposed to. If Mitt Romney cannot get to the 1,144 mark by taking first place in all geographical areas and is dependent on other candidates suspending their campaign to give him the nomination, then how on earth will he unite a country to favor him over Obama.
If there is one definite is this campaign season, it is that Barack Obama will never drop out of the general election and give it to Romney.
If Romney cannot even fight and win over the conservative base, he will never be able to win over the general populace of this country.