So the Mitt has put some distance between himself and the field, but he still hasn't delivered the knock out punch. He may not have it in him to do so. It has become crystal clear Mr. Romney is simply unacceptable to huge numbers of the far right. Fortunately for him that growling mob can't settle on any one guy to be their man. The conservative vote is splintered leaving the door open just enough to allow him to continue his grueling march to the nomination.
Rick Santorum has begun to publicly appeal to the power brokers of the right to put heat on Newt Gingrich to drop out. He knows he and Gingrich are dividing totals that could belong to him for the most part. He also knows that he is running out of time and states. While he came within a hair in Ohio, he still lost. He carried Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Dakota but beyond that he was clubbed like a drunken sailor caught in the wrong alley. He was no where close in Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts and Vermont. He wasn't even on the ballot in Virginia.
Next week there will be caucuses in Kansas and Missouri and primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. While the former Pennsylvania senator had success in Tennessee, his performance in Georgia was abysmal. It is hard to tell if the heart of the old south will buy into his cultural jihad message.
On the other hand it will be increasingly hard for anyone outside of hard core Newt groupies to support a man who is obviously not going to win. If you are desperate to stop the Romney grind to the top, you don't want to throw your vote away on a loser. Gingrich has won only two states. One was his home, the other is right next to it. While he could argue he made respectable third place showings in Oklahoma and Tennessee, third place doesn't get you squat. Every where else he got whacked.
Ron Paul has become such a non factor that if he dropped out tomorrow it is difficult to say whether anyone would even notice he is gone. In Virginia where he had the field to himself and Romney he only got 40% of the vote. That was his best showing by far of the night. When six out of ten people are telling you no, you need to be selling used cars, not running for president.
Romney now has 415 delegates. Santorum has 176 and Gingrich has 105. Paul has 47 who will be going to the convention just for the open bars in the hospitality suites and the hookers.
It wasn't the end game, but it may have been the beginning of the end. While scads of republicans don't like Mitt Romney it doesn't appear there is anyone who can stop him. It is starting to feel like he is a slow drip of water gradually wearing down a stone. It takes forever, but it inevitably happens.
If he wins in Kansas and Missouri he can probably start to work on his acceptance speech. If Santorum can't win in Alabama and Mississippi, the search for a Romney running mate will be on.