Posted on | March 13, 2012 | 68 Comments
UPDATE 1:05 a.m. ET: Earthquake in Vanuatu. Just a coincidence, right?
UPDATE 12:15 a.m. ET: As of now, according to the Associated Press, Mitt Romney has 472 delegates, Rick Santorum has 244, Newt Gingrich has 127, and Ron Paul has 47. If correct, that means Mitt has 53% of delegates so far, but remember that he won 50 delegates in one fell swoop in the Florida winner-take-all primary Jan. 31.
Rick Santorum is now flying to Puerto Rico, which votes Saturday, and awards 23 delegates. Next Tuesday, Illinois votes — 69 delegates. Then, on March 24, the Louisiana primary — a Southern state with lots of Catholic voters — and 46 delegates at stake.
Question 1: What will the delegate count be on March 25?
Question 2: Will Mitt Romney still be above 50% of the total?
Question 3: Shouldn’t you donate to Rick Santorum now?
11:50 p.m. ET: Newt Gingrich’s all-the-way-to-Tampa speech — in the wake of two defeats in his own backyard — might not exactly be “whistling past the graveyard.” He can continue campaigning, of course. But unless I’m seriously mistaken about the impact on his fundraising, Gingrich is either going to have to start laying off staff or find some other way to cut expenses. If he can’t win in the Deep South, where will he win? And why keep giving him money, if he keeps losing?
10:55 p.m. ET: As Santorum noted during his speech, his daughter Elizabeth has spent the past two days campaigning in Hawaii, where voting in caucuses tonight doesn’t end until 2 a.m. That creates the possibility that Santorum’s two big wins in Alabama and Mississippi could create a bandwagon shift toward him in Hawaii.
We will have to wait and see. Newt is now about to give his concession speech. His fundraising has got to be circling the drain.
10:45 p.m. ET: Rick Santorum began his speech tonight, “We did it again.” He was speaking from LaFayette, La., and Alabama had just been called a victory for him. Shortly before he ended the speech, it was announced that Mississippi had also been called a Santorum victory.
Two words: FREAKING HUGE!
10:25 p.m. ET: This afternoon, before my nap, when Drudge was posting exit-poll numbers, I wrote:
OK, I’m adding several grains of salt: Exit polls can be screwy.
Looks like the exits got it wrong there, likely vis-a-vis the evangelical numbers.
The worst-case scenario for Mitt tonight was a Santorum sweep. We’re on the verge of it.
Ain’t I done told ya? Ain’t I done told ya?
10:15 p.m. ET: In a telephone interview just now with Greta Van Sustern on Fox News, Rick Santorum said, “We’re on our way to victory.” Asked about his assertion today that Fox News has been biased in favor of Mitt Romney, Santorum said, “Not you and Sean [Hannity] — you’ve been great.” Santorum emphasized that the pro-Romney bias was apparent in straight news coverage. This was just what I said earlier today.
Brett Baier, in announcing Santorum’s victory in Alabama, called it “a major blow to Newt Gingrich.”
10:10 p.m. ET: NBC News just called Alabama for Rick Santorum — FREAKING HUGE, baby!
10:05 p.m. ET: Santorum is very close to winning in Alabama — leading 34%-30% over Newt — but his lead is now just one percentage point in Mississippi. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich’s campaign just released a strategy memo that begins:
Notwithstanding the conventional wisdom that dominates the news media, Newt Gingrich is well positioned to win the GOP nomination and here’s why. . . .
Hey, guys: If Newt loses Alabama and Mississippi tonight, what happens to your fundraising, huh? What was your cash-on-hand and total debt as of March 1, huh? If the checks start bouncing, we’ll see how “well positioned” Newt is.
9:50 p.m. ET: OK, I’m not going to pile up new numbers every five minutes for the rest of the night. Maybe every half-hour or so. Even though it’s still too close to call, at this point, Santorum’s lead continues to hold up in both Alabama and Mississippi. Caution is necessary, however, because we don’t know where these votes are coming from. The districts that come in later may shift the other direction.
Still, for Santorum even to be in the running, two hours after the polls closed, in the South where Gingrich is supposed to be strongest — folks, this could be freakin’ huge.
9:40 p.m. ET: Now with 8% of Alabama precincts reporting:
Rick Santorum ……… 10,759 (34.2%)
Newt Gingrich ………. 9,279 (29.5%)
Mitt Romney ……….. 8,947 (28.4%)
Ron Paul ……………….. 1,745 (5.5%)
So, as of this hour, Rick Santorum leads both Alabama and Mississippi. Don’t be counting any chickens yet. Still way too early, folks.
UPDATE 9:30 ET: Now with 19% of precincts reporting in Mississippi:
Rick Santorum ……… 14,742 (34.1%)
Newt Gingrich ………. 13,303 (30.8%)
Mitt Romney ……….. 12,494 (28.9%)
Ron Paul ……………….. 2,169 (5.0%)
UPDATE 9:25 ET: Strangely, Mitt Romney has no plans to deliver a speech tonight. Rick Santorum is hosting his own election night speech in LaFayette, La. — Louisiana’s primary is March 24.
Linked by Bob Belvedere at Camp of the Saints — thanks!
UPDATE 9:15 ET: Again, to caution, these are very early results, but with 4% of Alabama precincts reporting:
Rick Santorum ……… 3,763 (34.2%)
Newt Gingrich ………. 3,190 (29%)
Mitt Romney ……….. 3,128 (28.4%)
Ron Paul ………………. 659 (6%)
UPDATE 9:10 p.m. ET: Results are coming in very slowly, but with 6% of precincts reporting in Mississippi:
Mitt Romney …… 4,132 (32.4%)
Rick Santorum …. 4,124 (32.4%)
Newt Gingrich ….. 3,640 (28.6%)
Ron Paul ……………. 718 (5.6%)
With such a small number of precincts reporting, these numbers don’t mean much, but the chatter on TV is . . . Newt third?
* * * PREVIOUSLY (7:30 p.m. ET) * * *
Usually, Tuesday nights find me in some “victory celebration” where the WiFi bandwidth sucks and I end up phoning in reports while Smitty mans the election results desk. Tonight, however, Smitty’s wife has him on “honey-do” duty and I’m at home in my basement office/man-cave, with plenty of bandwidth, two dogs, three kids, a wife, etc.
Your basic facts: Polls close in Mississippi and Alabama at 7 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Eastern. As previously noted, Drudge has got exit poll numbers indicating Romney could win both of those states which, if true, would drive a stake through the heart of Gingrich’s campaign. But it’s going to be tight, so I expect to be up late.
Alabama has 50 delegates, Mississippi has 40. Also, Hawaii has its caucuses today, with 20 delegates at stake, but that won’t be over until 2 a.m. ET, and so folks back east probably won’t know the Hawaii result until breakfast Wednesday morning.
Oh, yeah: American Samoa? They’re having their caucus at Toa Bar & Grill in Pago Pago, where they will choose six delegates to go along with their three “super-delegates.” It sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? Drunk Samoans for Romney!
Quick headline roundup from Memeorandum:
- Mitt sure loves him some gay rights!
- Alabama and Mississippi sure love them some Mitt!
- Allahpundit not pro-Romney?
- Question: How much does it cost to buy the Republican nomination? Answer: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it!
At any rate, check back later. We’ll be piling up the numbers, arguing back at the TV talking-head coverage and quoting the speeches.
- March 13: Fox Not ‘Fair and Balanced’? Santorum Finally Mentions Pro-Romney Bias UPDATE: Exit Polls Show Mitt Wins Mississippi? Newt 3rd in Alabama?
- March 13: The Expert Agrees: Polls Are Crap! BONUS: @ESantorum2012 in Hawaii
- March 13: Mr. Inevitability, Mitt Romney
- March 13: Sources Close to Christina Hendricks Could Not Be Reached for Comment
- March 12: Why Did the Santorum Campaign Leak Its Strategy Memo to Liberal Media First?
- March 12: Expectations, Inc.
- March 11: Rick Santorum’s Daughter Elizabeth Will Campaign for Her Father in Hawaii
- March 10: SANTORUM SCORES ‘DECISIVE’ WIN IN KANSAS REPUBLICAN CAUCUSES
- March 9: Why the Heck Does Guam Get Nine Delegates to the Republican Convention?
- March 8: If Rick Santorum Wins Kansas …
- March 7: How Many GOP Delegates in Oz?
- March 7: Memo From the National Affairs Desk: ‘Committing Acts of Journalism’