Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 03 21 Post Illinois


It was an easy win for Mitt Romney in Illinois, ending a terrific week for him.  One might have thought, by the rules of momentum, that after the Santorum double-win in Alabama and Mississippi, and Santorum’s general strength in the Midwest, that Romney would have been vulnerable in Illinois.  Not so.  Remember Rule One of 2012: there is no, repeat no, momentum.

The early returns had Romney with well over 50% of the vote, but they were all from Chicago.  By the time it was over, with the downstate counties reporting, he’d dipped down to a 47%-35% win over Santorum – convincing nonetheless.  In Illinois’s crazy “loophole” method, the separate ballot for delegates gave Romney a whopping margin, 43 delegates to 10 for Santorum and 16 still uncommitted.  The math gap widens.

Santorum’s troubles this week began with a strange decision to take two days in Puerto Rico, where he had no chance of winning, rather than going straight to Illinois – especially knowing that Romney would be outspending him tenfold or more.  Romney may have spent tons of time explaining his comments about eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood to Illinois women, but he got over that hurdle.  Exit polls showed him winning 48% of Illinois women.  But if they were mad at Romney over Planned Parenthood, do you think they would vote for Rick Santorum??!!  So this issue didn’t hurt Mitt in this primary, but it will be a different matter in the general election.

And that was a pretty uninspiring speech by Romney.  If Rick Perry is Bush without the brains, then Mitt Romney is John Kerry without the charisma.

Next Up, Louisiana

Louisiana’s primary is this Saturday, with 43 delegates at stake.  Santorum was comfortably ahead in polling just a few days ago, 41% to 24% for Romney and 21% for Gingrich (who?).  While dramatic statements about the stakes involved have been routinely upended, I would venture to say Louisiana is a “must win” for Santorum.  Romney dearly wants to win a southern state, and this is a prime one.  Let's see if he makes a big effort and spends away....

After Louisiana comes a big day on Tuesday, April 3, with contests in Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin and District of Columbia, the second biggest delegate day after Super Tuesday, with 253 up for grabs.  Things look good for Romney now, but if Santorum takes Louisiana, Wisconsin and Texas, we’ll be back to the old refrain.

And then we take a full three week break, heading into the last phase of the race (whew!).  April 24th is a big northeast day, and presumably a big one for Romney:  New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island, along with Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania – another 231 delegates.

Delegate Count

The NY Times now has Romney with 563 delegates, more than twice Santorum’s 263.  Did I hear someone whisper “inexorable”?  

Fun and Games

 I nosed out Larry with a 43/35/9/8 projection, not bad.  Tom Cox gets huge points for coming up with Otto Kerner as a write-in candidate (along with the more inevitable Rahm Emanuel).  I had to Google Kerner myself, and was delighted to discover he was yet another disgraced Illinois governor, this one from the ‘60’s!  He did prison time for bribery, conspiracy, perjury.  Nice to know this particular tradition, as Blago heads off to jail, is so long and rich.

But Tom….no Ernie Banks?

I’ve attached the map, which vividly demonstrates how important this win was for Mitt, putting a big dent in Santorum’s Midwest aspirations.


Steve posed this question to me…is Santorum now “next in line” for 2016 (or, if Romney wins, in 2020)?  The Republicans have a long tradition of their nominee being the second-place finisher from the prior contested campaign.  Only George W. Bush did not conform to this trend in the last 30 years or so.  (Technically, Romney would not conform to this, since he finished 10 delegates behind Huckabee in 2008.  But Huckabee, of course, did not run this year.)

So, do you think Santorum will be the next nominee for the Republicans?  Let me know!

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