An Election Roundup: Hope for a Brokered Convention?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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The big news of the night was that Rick Santorum swept both Alabama and Mississippi with Romney coming in third, contrary to the prior polling data.  Here are some thoughts on last night’s results:

1) Despite outspending Santorum with vicious attack ads by a margin of 7-1 and despite receiving all the establishment endorsements, Romney lost in both states, even though Santorum and Gingrich split the vote almost evenly.  This doesn’t bode well for Romney in a general election when he won’t have a built in advantage with money and organization.  The man just doesn’t resonate.

2) For those of us who are unhappy with the current field and are rooting for a brokered convention, things got a little brighter last night.  At this point, Romney is the only one with a path to a majority of delegates.  As such, he must be stopped.  Santorum has a tough – almost insurmountable – road to winning the race, but he can deny Romney the majority, especially with the new-found momentum headed into Missouri.  The key thing here is Newt Gingrich.  He has performed so badly that he decided to opt out of most of the states, choosing to contest just a few southern states.  Now he can’t even win in the south, despite spending more money than Santorum.  It is almost a certainty that if Gingrich stays in the race and continues to spend money, he will hand the nomination to Romney, thereby denying us a shot at a contested convention.  If he pulls out, Santorum might be able to build enough momentum to lead to a deadlock.

3) The media has been sanguine about the alleged crisis that conservatives are undergoing with women voters due to their stance on religious conscious issues.  Well, Santorum, who is the strongest social conservative, won their vote in both states, according to exit polls.

4) Once again, turnout was quite dismal given that these races were horse races.  In fact, there were some counties that had a higher turnout in 2008, even though the race had already been decided in McCain’s favor at that point.  Clearly, none of them are bringing excitement to the race, most notably, Mitt Romney.

5) It was disappointing that we failed to keep any of the incumbent congressmen from receiving a majority and forcing a runoff.  However, 3 incumbents (2 in AL. and 1 in Ms.) were kept to roughly 57%.  Remember that these challengers had zero name recognition and almost no money.  It is very clear that if we can find candidates to run a respectable campaign, we can force some of the insipid incumbents into a runoff, especially in a low-turnout election.