Presidential candidate Mitt Romney won big in the Illinois primary, taking 47% of the vote and picking up 38 delegates, giving him 554 total. After winning the majority of states on Super Tuesday, and amassing more delegates than the rest of the candidates combined, one must wonder if Romney will be the GOP nominee? The answer is easy; not yet.
Romney has done well in obtaining delegates. Even when he doesn’t win, he wins. In Mississippi and Alabama, where he came in second and third respectively, he still took 23 delegates. Those loses were tempered with wins in American Samoa and Hawaii, giving Romney another 18 delegates. Romney came away from the week with more delegates than Santorum.
Add to that the 20 delegates he took in Puerto Rico, and Romney, just in the last week, took as many delegates as Santorum and Newt Gingrich combined. Rep. Ron Paul gained just 3 delegates in that same time period. Illinois just adds to Romney’s total.
Yet, still, the time is too soon to make a decision. Louisiana votes on March 24th, offering up 46 delegates in a proportional primary. One week later, political hotbed Wisconsin, along with Maryland and the District of Columbia, offer up 98 delegates in “Winner Take All!” primaries.
Rick Santorum has too many victories to be asked out of the race. He is favored to win in Louisiana, giving him (regardless of the delegates won that night) another state that he can claim wants him over Romney. A win there will also get him money, via donations, which he will desperately need to be competitive in Wisconsin.
A Louisiana win for Santorum will leave Gingrich looking in the mirror. He has pledged to take the race to Tampa, site of the GOP convention in August. However, the word is out that Gingrich is out of cash. Sheldon Adelson’s contributions to the Gingrich-leaning Winning The Future Super-Pac help, but having no cash on hand is a big problem. No victories or good showings since his Georgia win have left Gingrich unable to effectively fund raise.
Romney raised $12 million in February. Santorum raised $9 million.
The answer on Romney is, still, not yet. Lots of victories, lots of delegates, but still not running away with the nomination. A week ago I posited that what these candidates need is one more debate. Today, Ed Morrissey of HotAir came to the same conclusion, but on a two-man debate between Romney and Santorum. If Louisiana goes the way of the polls, he may get his wish as they’ll possibly be the only men left standing.