Super Tuesday has come and gone, and we still don’t have resolution to the ongoing battle for the GOP nomination. After a few primaries and caucuses, we were told that Florida could decide “everything.” Romney won. Then Santorum came back and took three out of three states. Santorum had the momentum. Then Romney came back and won. This brought us to Super Tuesday: ten states and ten elections. Surely after the dust settled, we’d know something, right? Wrong.
As far as wins are concerned, Mitt Romney won six out of the ten contests. Rick Santorum won three, and Newt Gingrich won one. Ron Paul has yet to win any caucus or primary.
Romney won in Vermont, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Idaho, Alaska. Santorum won in North Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Gingrich won in his home state of Georgia.
Here’s what Romney had to say on Tuesday night:
Here’s Santorum’s comments:
Romney certainly added to his delegate count, but what’s really amazing about Super Tuesday is how little impact it brought to the GOP nominating contest. Super Tuesday was big… but now every candidate is moving forward. Super Tuesday is the election of “what ifs.”
What if Romney would have won big in Ohio? Certainly the momentum would have been on his side. Would this have shut the door on Santorum? Probably not, but if Tuesday night truly belonged to Romney, it would have done great damage to the Santorum campaign.
What if Santorum would have won Ohio? He came close. He lead most of the night, but as some suburban counties came in late, the election moved to Romney. Santorum was outspent heavily, yet his message resonated. Had he won Ohio, he would have basically split Super Tuesday as far as wins, and those are what matter to public perception and fundraising. Delegates matter too (of course), but even though Santorum came away with plenty, he could have scored a huge momentum victory had he won Ohio.
Then there is Virginia. Another “what if.” Santorum won Tennessee and Oklahoma. Gingrich won Georgia. Neither were on the ballot in Virginia. It was a true gift for Romney. Imagine Santorum winning Virginia, then pulling off Ohio. That would have been five wins for Santorum to four for Romney. The entire election would have been turned upside down. Even the narrow loss in Ohio coupled with a win in Virginia would have given the night a totally different tint:
It would have been Romney (perceived moderate) = 5 wins vs Santorum and Gingrich (perceived conservatives) = 5 wins. A perceived philosophical tie.
But, it’s all a “what if.” Romney had the organization in place, Santorum and Gingrich did not. It’s hard to win an election if you are not even on the ballot.
And so the race goes on. All four candidates will continue, and Romney and Santorum can certainly lay claim to some momentum from Tuesday night. What happens next? Your guess is as good (or bad) as mine.
Please add your own “what ifs.” What did I miss?