the numbers guy

Santorum injects new life into GOP race with sweep of Colorado, Minnesota & Missouri

Posted on: February 8, 2012

Yesterday was the first multi-state contest in the GOP nomination race, with caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, and a non-binding primary in Missouri.

It was a great night for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. Mr Santorum swept all three states, winning Missouri and Minnesota by handsome double-digit margins, and even beating Mitt Romney by over 5 points in Colorado, a state where Mr Romney was the clear favourite.

GOP voters in all three states fired a clear shot across the bows of their party establishment. Last night’s results will also ensure a ‘think twice’ moment among observers who, following Mr Romney’s wins in Florida and Nevada, were increasingly regarding Mr Romney as the presumptive GOP nominee.

Maine is expected to declare the results of its week-long primary at the weekend, after which the next contests are in Arizona and Michigan, each of which have primaries on 28 February. They’ll be followed on 3 March by caucuses in the state of Washington and, on 6 March, by Super Tuesday, which sees ten states voting in primaries or caucuses – Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

In a race in which the momentum factor has so far proved rather ephemeral, Mr Santorum’s campaign will be looking to translate last night’s results into a more solid bounce going into Super Tuesday. In particular, he’ll be looking to consolidate conservatives, and the broader ‘non-Romney’ GOP vote, behind his candidacy.

Last night’s results are, so far, a challenge not a crisis for Mr Romney’s campaign – but Mr Santorum has now won his chance to shift the narrative and, potentially, the trajectory of this intriguing GOP nomination contest.

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