On Tuesday, the Iowa Caucus came down to a three man race between Governor Mitt Romney, former Senator Rick Santorum, and Representative Ron Paul of Texas. As the evening waned, it became apparent that Ron Paul would not have the number of votes necessary to win, but after that, it became a neck-and-neck battle between Romney and Santorum.
|Iowa Caucus Winner Mitt Romney|
Santorum, however, showed that he's the latest candidate to carry the "Anti-Romney" designation. He did it at the right time, as the votes began in Iowa. I would argue that had the former Senator peaked any earlier, he would have been the same as any of the other "Anti-Romney" standard bearers. Santorum will now have to work over the next week to get some sort of organization together for the remainder of the campaign.
Paul had a nice steady night. With his loyal base, he remains the darkhorse most capable of upsetting Romney for the nomination.
The big losers in the Iowa Caucus were Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Both Perry and Bachmann were former national poll leaders that peaked too soon. Bachmann has ended her campaign, and Perry sounded on caucus night like a man that was considering dropping out though he will apparently continue on.
Jon Huntsman has been barely relevant, unfortunately, since he announced his campaign. I don't think anyone really notices what he's doing at this point. He has, however, put a great deal of effort into New Hampshire. If the does poorly there or fails to make a splash, it's curtains for a good candidate.
That leaves us with Newt Gingrich. His bitter, fear mongering, and, at times, angry concession speech in Iowa shows that the Newt-ster plans to hang around a while and give Mitt Romney and Ron Paul (NOT SANTORUM) some trouble.
The Republican circus heads off to New Hampshire where Romney is now the favorite. He needs to show more broad support. An eight-vote win again will be considered a loss for the former Massachusetts Governor.