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Why Rick Santorum has only a 1 percent chance of stopping Mitt Romney

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Seven states plus the District of Columbia hold primaries in April. The states are Maryland, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. All but Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, home state of Romney’s top rival, Rick Santorum, are Romney territory, as is the District, where Mr. Santorum isn’t on the ballot.

Even before April, Romney stands to rack up a solid share of delegates. Puerto Rico, which holds winner-take-all caucuses on Sunday, is now a sure thing for Romney after Santorum’s gaffe on Wednesday, asserting that Puerto Ricans must adopt English as the official language if they want statehood.

Next Tuesday’s primary in Illinois should also give Romney a bounty of delegates, even if the popular vote is close. Santorum failed to file voter signatures in four congressional districts, making him ineligible to compete for some of the state’s delegates. Santorum is favored to win the Louisiana primary on March 24, but the proportional awarding of delegates means Romney will get some.

Last Tuesday’s contests presented a perfect example of how Romney can win even when he loses. The headline of the night was his close third-place finish in the Mississippi and Alabama primaries. But after winning big in the American Samoa and Hawaii caucuses, Romney won the night overall by six delegates.

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