Romney Rolls in Nevada- Santorum Gets New Life Next Week?

As expected Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses by a wide margin. The win was so expected that we were spared much of the primary/caucus coverage that is now tending to repeat the same points over and over and over…..Romney won with about 47% of the vote (still only 71% reporting), with Newt and Ron Paul battling it out for second place, with Newt at 22.7%, and Paul at 18.6%, with Rick Santorum dead last at 11%. It is a tough, if expected loss for Gingrich, who is really just about out of fuel. If he slips to third in Nevada after all the ballots are counted it will be even worse.

Gingrich had a post caucus press conference that was typical Newt. He blasted Romney, outlined his political strategy to get to the Republican convention in one piece, and said he would be the “frontrunner” by the Texas primary. But for now his political operation appears to be cratering, as his Nevada campaign simply amounted to him being holed up in a Sheldon Adelson hotel for 4 days, with minimal public events. And he now faces two caucuses and a “beauty contest” primary in Missouri next week that are not looking pretty for him.

In Colorado Romney may get himself another big win, leading (PPP Polling) with 40%, to Rick Santorum’s 26%, Newt Gingrich’s 18%, and 12% for Ron Paul. In Minnesota Rick Santorum has a small lead over Mitt Romney, 29% to 27%, with 22% for Gingrich and 19% for Ron Paul. The Missouri beauty contest primary (no delegates selected) has Santorum leading 45%, to 34% for Romney and 13% for Paul. Newt Gingrich is not on that ballot.

This week on WCAP (podcast coming) Ted Panos asked me about Santorum, and I said he was hanging around in the hope (expectation) of a Gingrich meltdown. This may not be the typical Gingrich meltdown, but Santorum may be poised to win two of the three events next week, and finish second in the third contest. Gingrich’s poll numbers are sinking like a stone, and after next week the media focus may well shift over to Santorum as the anti Romney if these poll numbers are accurate. Naturally should Romney sweep all three events it is difficult to see either Newt or Santorum hanging out much longer. But Santorum, fresh off a last place finish in Nevada, may have a (slight) pulse after next weeks contests. And Newt may be DOA. Conservative columnist Jennnifer Rubin over at the Post thinks so, calling Gingrich the “Rasputin” of Republican politics. But wasn’t Rasputin hard to kill? Another big week for the Republicans next week.

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