Former Sen. Rick Santorum won both the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, with former Speaker Newt Gingrich in 2nd Mitt Romney finishing 3rd. Romney’s 3rd place finish in both Southern States must give him pause. The conservative base of the party just isn’t that into him.
While the Republican Establishment has been trying to sell Gov. Mitt Romney as the best funded and most experienced candidate to go up against President Obama in November, the numbers from Tuesday Night must concern them as the vote totals in both states clearly indicated that conservative voters split their votes between Gingrich and Santorum.
Gov. Romney’s 3rd place finishes comes several weeks after he classified himself publicly as “Severally Conservative” on a whole host of issues that he said are of importance to more conservative voters, but Tuesday night’s vote totals showed that Southern Voters preferred either Sen. Santorum or Speaker Gingrich by 2-1 margins over Gov. Romney. Despite this fact, he continues to lead in the race for overall delegates. Gov.Romney must admit when it comes to the South, he has a huge task of selling himself to the Southern voters as he has lost races to Speaker Gingrich in Georgia and South Carolina, now to Sen. Santorum in Alabama and Mississippi, with his only wins in Virginia (where only he and Paul appeared on the ballot) and Florida.
Even with consolation victories in Hawaii and America Samoa, Gov.Romney must realize that Tuesday’s results indicate that Southern Republican Voters aren’t sold on him and are looking at other alternatives in the race for the nomination.
Gov. Romney needs to realize that he could very well reach the magic number of delegates to secure the Republican Nomination, but Tuesday results shows that his road to the nomination is going to be a bumpy one and not the coronation that the Republican establishment has been trying to sell to voters over the last few months.
He should also realize that, without the enthusiastic support of the conservative base of the party, his long slog to the nomination is just the beginning of his troubles in 2012.