Diary

Rick Santorum Day

Today, there are GOP nominating contests in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.  Rick Santorum is looking to pull out two upsets in Missouri and Minnesota while looking to best Gingrich for second place in Colorado.  If Senator Santorum pulls off even two of these three feats tomorrow, it spells danger for the Gingrich campaign. 

Every time voters get an up close look at Newt Gingrich, they decide that they don’t like what they see.  His unfavorability is through the roof, his concession speeches have turned into complain-a-thons and most importantly – Florida was no fluke.  Florida was for real.  The Gingrich surge is over. 

Gingrich lost Florida not because of Rick Santorum, but because his record couldn’t hold up under the scrutiny.  Additionally, as redstate’s Erick Erickson has pointed out – Gingrich’s supporters are conservatives looking for someone to take the fight to Obama.  If Gingrich were to drop out, they would move en masse to Santorum.  However, Santorum’s supporters are values voters and would choose Romney over the thrice-divorced and unreliable Gingrich.  The Santorum surge is for real and it has potential. 

If Santorum wins two races and comes in second in the third tomorrow, conservatives may finally have a conservative they can settle on.  Momentum is everything in this cycle and this could carry Santorum for two weeks up until the next debate.  Santorum has given consistently strong debate performances.  He seems to be the guy.  Gingrich has a ceiling and he has hit it.  Romney has a ceiling he can’t seem to break through.  Santorum may have a ceiling, but we don’t know what it is.  Without Gingrich, it may be a ceiling of over 50% in all of the upcoming southern states.  That is more than enough to challenge Romney in the South Eastern states free of his non-evangelical firewall in the north and his Mormon firewall in the Southwest.     

Santorum may not have the money and infrastructure to win this thing in a normal election cycle.  But with strong debate performances, disgust for Mr. Flip-flop, and potential Super PAC interference, Santorum may just have a chance.  If Santorum walks away with two out of three today, watch out – we may finally have a conservative we can believe in.  In the meantime, Santorum better get ready, because the infamous Romney kill-and-destroy-attack-machine is turning its fire straight on him.