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Rick Santorum and His Uphill Battle to the Convention

Aaron Blake almost got it absolutely right today, when giving the run-down on what Rick Santorum needs to do to survive in this primary. The five states mentioned are definitely must-wins. However, that goal does not exist in a vacuum, and is probably going to be affected by at least a few things that will be utterly out of Santorum’s control.

Santorum Caricature

Donkey Hotey (CC)


But there’s at least one thing Blake missed that was theoretically under the candidate’s control. Pennsylvania won’t be very easy for Santorum, no matter which way you cut it. While he could win the day in the popular vote, that won’t necessarily get him delegates, since Pennsylvania delegates are not bound to vote for specific candidates. Add to that the fact that his campaign failed to organize properly in the Commonwealth by recruiting loyal delegate candidates for the upcoming election, and he is in trouble. Throw in the fact that his last experience in Pennsylvania was a double digit loss of his seat in the Senate, and it’s not likely that he has many friends left in the state’s GOP establishment. The screw-up with the ballots really can hurt Santorum, because beyond being disorganized on the ground, he is also giving the impression that his former home is an afterthought for his campaign.

Beyond the Keystone State, it’s doesn’t bode well for Santorum that Newt Gingrich met with Mitt Romney. While there wasn’t an agreement made, it would be foolish to rule one out entirely going forward. Gingrich is already running in the red, and if he is realistic about his options, he is not going to be looking very kindly on an alliance with the relatively cash-strapped Santorum. Romney is the most likely candidate to be able to offer Gingrich a deal that would clear his campaign debts. And all of these problems are not taking into account the increasing number of endorsements for Romney coming from heavy-hitters in the GOP.

Off the cuff prediction: Look for more endorsements for Romney, of course. Also, don’t be surprised if there are more “secret meetings” between Gingrich and Romney, particularly after April 24th, if not sooner. Also, expect a close race in Pennsylvania, but don’t expect the delegates to follow those results, at least not if it falls to Santorum’s favor.

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