Mitt Romney is on a roll, winning both the Iowa Republican Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Still, he has yet to win a majority of the votes in either state, showing that the majority of Republican voters are not quite sold on him as their nominee.
Ron Paul continues to be Romney’s main competition, finishing second in New Hampshire and third in Iowa. Paul scares the dickens out of the Republican Party because he is a loose cannon, but his followers are rabid and loyal. Should Paul mount a third-party candidacy after he loses out on the GOP nomination, the Democrats will be thrilled at the potential for the Texas congressman to siphon off a significant number of votes from the Republican nominee.
Rick Santorum sunk badly as expected in more progressive New Hampshire, where Republican voters are socially moderate and disinterested in Santorum’s harsh Vatican line of thinking on social issues such as marriage equality. He may, however, get a pick-me-up vote on Jan. 21 in South Carolina, where the Religious Right holds sway.
Jon Huntsman, perceived to be a moderate Republican, finished third in New Hampshire, but will likely disappear in the upcoming primaries in ultra-conservative South Carolina and the first populous state, Florida, which goes to the polls on Jan. 31.
Newt Gingrich, like Humpty Dumpty, has fallen off his wall and can’t get up … so he is burning every bridge behind him in his flame war against Romney. Gingrich’s one-liners will be political fodder for Democrats in the fall.
Rick Perry laid another egg in New Hampshire, and is banking on rebounding in South Carolina. Perry, too, is clawing at Romney, hoping to somehow regenerate interest in his flailing campaign.
The remaining GOP candidates have become totally irrelevant. It was a big disappointment that the first-ever Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger finished eighth with 485 votes, ahead of Michele Bachmann, who has already dropped out of the race. He also finished ahead of Gary Johnson and Herman Cain, among others.
Let’s resist crowning Romney the GOP winner. The Religious Right is still deeply suspicious of him and his Mormon faith and his daily flip-flopping on issues.
The Republican nominee will need 1,144 delegates out of 2,286 at the national convention, and just a few dozen have been awarded after two beauty contest.
After Iowa and New Hampshire, here are the totals:
Mitt Romney 14
Ron Paul 10
Rick Santorum 8
Rick Perry 4
Newt Gingrich 3
Jon Huntsman 2
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.