Jan 042012
 

Rick Santorum is a good man.  He ran a great campaign in Iowa and, although at the time of this writing the winner is yet to be determined, Santorum succeeded when it mattered by coming in first or second (probably second according to Karl Rove on Fox News…by 14 votes [Update: official, Romney wins by 8 votes][Latest Update: Santorum declared winner by 34 votes).  On a side note, Santorum’s success in Iowa supports a point I previously made – that money can’t buy elections.

Santorum is an actual socially conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  His success in Iowa will get him to New Hampshire and perhaps beyond.  But he will not win the nomination.

Current polling in New Hampshire, which is admittedly liable to change, has Romney more than 22% above his closest rival, which is Ron Paul.  To the point, based on current polling, if Santorum picks up 100% of Gingrich’s, Huntsman’s, Bachmann’s (who will be out of the race by New Hampshire), and Perry’s supporters, he will still not beat Mitt Romney.

The winner of the New Hampshire Republican primary has won the nomination in every year since 1968, with the sole exception of 1996 (Pat Buchanan?  Seriously?).  As many pundits point out, GHW Bush beat Ronald Reagan in Iowa in 1980, but Reagan beat Bush in New Hampshire…and thereafter.

So, if Romney takes New Hampshire, I think Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry will split the non-Romney vote in South Carolina and Florida and may hand first or, at least, second place to Romney.  Gingrich and Perry have every reason, if finances allow, to stick around for the first Southern state primaries.  Then comes Nevada, which is Romney country.

Santorum seems to be picking up money and organization as he goes (same with Gingrich, by the way), which is not a promising way to run for the nomination.  If the supporters of “anyone but Romney” don’t coalesce around one candidate, they will get Romney.  I happen to like Romney for the nomination and will write more on why I support him at a later date; however, if you want a candidate more conservative than the former Massachusetts governor, Santorum’s your man.  And now is the time.

As stated above, I don’t see it happening.

 

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