Rick Santorum on Tuesday won primaries
in Alabama and Mississippi, ensuring that the GOP nominating contest
will extend into late spring and possibly beyond.
Speaking to supporters in Lafayette,
Santorum suggested the momentum was on his side.
“People have said, 'You know you're
being outspent.' And everybody is talking about all the math and all
the things ... that this race is inevitable. Well for someone who
thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against
me for being inevitable.”
Santorum, however, lost to Romney in
the delegate count, adding 35 delegates to Romney's 41. Romney now
has 495 delegates to Santorum's 252. Newt Gingrich, who came in
second in Alabama and Mississippi, has 131 and Ron Paul 48.
Romney's increased delegate count was
due to a wide-margin win in the Hawaii caucuses, and the fact that
states divide their delegates proportionally.
“Tuesday's results actually increased
Governor Romney's delegate lead, while his opponents only moved
closer to their date of mathematical elimination,” Romney political
director Rich Beeson wrote in a memo. “The math is simple …
Santorum and Gingrich now trail Governor Romney by margins they
cannot mathematically make up. … In order to win, both Santorum and
Gingrich need to start netting an impossible number of delegates to
overtake Governor Romney.”
With 24 contests left to go, Santorum
wasn't ceding any ground: “We will compete everywhere. The time is
now for conservatives to pull together.”
Talking to supporters in Alabama,
Gingrich remained defiant.
“One of the things tonight proved is
that the elite media's effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney
is inevitable just collapsed,” he said. “The fact is in both
states, the conservative candidates got nearly 70 percent of the
vote. And … if you're the front-runner and you keep coming in
third, you're not much of a front-runner.”