The Race for the Republican Presidential Nomination just became easier as Rick Santorum has pulled out of the race this evening.
Santorum who was trailing Mitt Romney in the Delegate race for the nomination phoned Romney before making the announcement.
“We made a decision over the weekend, that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign today, we are not done fighting,”
After the announcement Mitt Romney issued a statement
“Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran,” Mr. Romney said. “He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”
The road to the convention in Tampa now looks clear for Mr Romney for the nomination setting it for a clear race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the Autumn.
With the majority of the results in for the ten states holding Primary Contests for the Republican Party Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney has managed to win six of those states including the Ohio. Rick Santorum managed to win four states and came second in a number of them. Newt Gingrich managed to win in his home state of Georgia, but his southern strategy seems to have faltered in other states.
After the contests, Romney has opened a good lead on delegate projections. According to Google Politics Romney now has 415 delegates. Rick Santorum has 176, Newt Gingrich 105 and Ron Paul 47. With the elusive figure of 1,144 still a good distance away it is still an open race with states with big delegations still to vote.
In the Alaska Caucus Romney won a third of the vote, while Santorum came 2nd on 29%. Ron Paul hoped to do well here and he manged third 24% while Gingrich came last on 14%. The delegates split as follows, Romney 8, Santorum 7, Paul 6, Ginrich 3.
Georgia is Newt Gingrich’s second win in this primary cycle. Georgia is of course his home state which he represented in Congress. For that he was rewarded with nearly half the vote on 47%. Romney managed second place on 26% and Santorum third on 20%. Ron Paul trailed badly here on 6%. The delegates will be split Gingrich 46, Romney 13 and Santorum 2.
In Idaho Mitt Romney swept the boards winning 62% of the vote at the Caucus. He takes all of Idaho’s 32 delegates. Santorum and Ron Paul were tied for second place on 18% with Gingrich on 2%.
Massachusetts proved to be an even better results for Romney as won over 72% of the Primary vote. Romney has proven that he is still popular in the state where he used to be Govenor. He takes all 38 delegates from Massachusetts. Santorum finished on 12%, Paul on 10% and Gingrich on 5%.
North Dakota had some good news for Rick Santorum as 40% of Caucus goers suppored him. Ron Paul came second here on 28% with Romney close behind on 24%. Gingrich again brought up the rear with 8%. The delegates will be distributed as follows, Santorum 11, Paul 8, Romney 7 and Gingrich 2.
Ohio the bell-weather state which is normally pivotal in the Presidential Election proved to be pivotal in this years republican primary also. While Santorum had some difficulties over not registering delegate slates correctly, it was a state that was neck and neck in the final opinion polls. In the end Romney won the state on 38% but Santorum was only pipped to the post as he ended on 37%. Gingrich managed to come third here on 15% beating Paul who finished on 9%. The delegates will split 35 to Romney and 21 to Santorum
The conservative voters of Oklahoma backed Rick Santorum as their guy in their primary giving him 37% of the vote. Mitt Romney finsihed second 28% while Gingrich’s southern strategy got him a third place finish with 27% and Paul came last on 10%. The delegates split 14 to Santorum an 13 each to Romney and Gingrich.
Tennessee proved to be another good state for Rick Santorum. Here he won on 37% of vote leaving Mitt Romney trail on 28%. Newt Gingrich came third on 24% while Ron Paul came last on 9%. The delegates will split Santorum 25, Romney 10 and Gingrich 8.
Back in Vermont it was good news for Mitt Romney in a state that borders Massachusetts. Here he won 40% of the vote with Ron Paul finishing in second on 25%. Santorum was close behind on 24% with Gingrich trailing on 8%. The delegates split Romney 9 and Santorum and Paul both get 4.
In Virginia it was Mitt Romney versus Ron Paul, as the other candidates failed to get on the ballot. Mitt Romney easily won on 60% of the vote, leaving Paul with 40%. This results means that Romney takes 43 of the delegates and Paul takes 3.
Romney retains his lead, but yet again Santorum highlights Romney’s lack of support among conservative voters. While Romney has picked up some high profile endorsements this week its not all in the bag just yet. Santorum continues to bring the fight as can be seen by the close results in many states, especially Ohio.
Newt Gingrich seriously needs to look at his game plan, while he has won two states (South Carolina and Georgia) he is trailing 3rd in most Southern States and is in fact last in many states outside of the south. He needs to reconsider his plan, or drop out and endorse Santorum.
Ron Paul at this point just hopes to be King-maker at the Convention in Tampa. He is steadily picking up delegates in the proportional primaries and is focusing especially on caucus’s where he does seem to do quite well. I can’t see him winning any race, but whether or not becomes King-maker will be interesting.
The next contest are on Saturday with Caucus’s in Kansas, Guam, Northern Marina Islands and the US Virgin Islands.
After the exciting initial contests in Iowa (Santorum), New Hampshire (Romney), South Carolina (Gingrich) and Florida (Romeny) which were at first wide open contests, February Republican Primarys will not be as exciting and the winner is nearly known before hand. While this may lead to some upsets, it is doubtful that any will occur.
Today’s Nevada Caucus is a perfect example. With results due from about 1am Irish time. Mitt Romney is expected to win by a 20 point margin, the only interesting thing will be what proportion of Nevada’s 28 delegates he will get and who will be runner up. A second place finish for Ron Paul could be a lift for his campaign.
The rest of the states voting this month also favour Romney as he carried them in his attempt at the Republican nomination in 2008. Romney is could win a narrow victory in Maine’s week long caucus which began on Friday ends on February 11th. 24 delegates are up for grabs in the Pine Tree State.
On Tuesday, Colorado and Minnesota have their caucuses. In Colorado things are a bit tighter for Romney who is under pressure from Newt Gingrich here. Romney won this state in 2008 but in the polls before Christmas he was trailing behind Gingrich, but fortunes may have changed since them and the majority of Centennial State’s 36 delegates could go to Romney.
Meanwhile in Minnesota where in 2008 Romney won, he is under pressure from Gingrich majorly. In a poll last month for PPP Ginrich has an 18 point lead, but can he maintain it? 40 delegates are at stake in the North Star State.
On the 28th it gets a bit more interesting with Primaries in Arizona and Michigan. Romney only carried Michigan in 2008 as Arizona went for its own John McCain. He has a 10 point lead according to an average of polls on RealClearPolitics in Michigan and has a good shot at a good portion of its 30 delegates.
Meanwhile in Arizona the last Rasmussen Report poll had Romeny with a 24 point lead over Gingrich. Arizona is a winner takes all primary with 29 delegates up for grabs and will be an important state for momentum as it takes place 7 days before Super Tuesday.
So with Mitt Romney ahead in most of the states voting this month it could be a tad boring unless there is a major upset, but it does give us plenty of time to look forward to Super Tuesday on March 6th when Georgia (76 Delegates), Ohio (66 Delegates), Virginia (49 delegates), Oklahoma (43 Delegates), Massachusetts (41 Delegates) and Vermont (17 delegates) all going to the polls. Lets see what happens