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Right Turn
Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 03/19/2012

Romney clobbers Santorum in Puerto Rico

Mitt Romney clobbered the opposition to win the Puerto Rico primary with over 80 percent of the vote. He took all 20 delegates. The other three non-pledged delegates, in all likelihood, will go to him as well, given the humongous margin of victory. Rick Santorum failed to make it into double digits.

The race may prove to be more consequential than you might have imagined. To lose that badly, and to realize there was no hope of victory, suggests yet again how ineffective is the Santorum campaign. Why send him there for a couple of crucial days when he likely sealed his doom with his Spanish language gaffe? Did he waste time there that could have better been spent in Illinois and/or Louisiana? We’ll find out in the next week. But at this point I do agree with Taegan Goddard that it may turn out to be a “strategic blunder for Rick Santorum for trying to compete there.”

Given the chaos in Missouri and the smashing win for Romney on Sunday (plus the talk show gaffes), Santorum’s weekend was one of his worst in recent memory.

The gaffes, the thumping in Puerto Rico and the continual ballot qualification failures raise the “Is he ready for prime time?” question anew. And if his supporters are seriously considering a brokered convention, is there any indication that Santorum has the staff, the strategy and the political know-how to pull that off? If so, he’s keeping it under wraps.

Romney’s delegate total is now up to 521. Santorum has 253. With 1,320 or so delegates still to be determined, Romney needs 623 to get to 1,144. That requires that he win about 47 percent of the remaining delegates. Santorum must win more than two-thirds of the remaining delegates.

Romney certainly has a head of steam and a lead in the polls going into the Illinois contest tomorrow. Over the weekend, he enjoyed large crowds. And recall that Santorum has already lost ten delegates by failing to qualify for them on the ballot.

If Romney wins tomorrow it might be time for the pundits and those fantasizing about a brokered convention (there is some overlap there) to acknowledge reality. Moreover, at some point Santorum will have to explain what he is doing (trying to win a majority of delegates? trying to force the convention to reverse the choice of a majority of GOP voters?).

By  |  09:00 AM ET, 03/19/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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