Rick Santorum Sweeps the Deep South

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have some soul searching to do.

Posted: 03/14/2012 08:29 AM EDT
Ron Paul, 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, President Barack Obama, President Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum

It was a bit of a knuckle-baring night for White House hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in the competition to get a grasp on their party’s socially conservative base. But in the end, Santorum swept both Mississippi and Alabama, with Gingrich and Romney taking second and third place, respectively, in both states.

 

“We did it again,” a triumphant Santorum declared at a rally in Louisiana. “This campaign is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, just like America.”

 

But despite his stunning victories, the fact remains that the former Pennsylvania senator has a math problem and still trails Romney who, so far, has 419 delegates, followed by Santorum (184), Gingrich (136) and Texas Rep. Ron Paul (34).

 

So, what happens next?

 

“Santorum and Gingrich split the conservative vote. Santorum has been calling for Gingrich to get out of the race and [the former House speaker] will have to do some soul searching,” Dewey Clayton, a political scientist at the University of Louisville, told BET.com.

 

Clayton also said that by taking both Alabama and Mississippi, Santorum has solidified the fact that he’s a legitimate contender in the race and is now in a stronger position to make his case that Romney isn’t a true conservative and that he’s the one they want.

 

Romney, who’s winning the numbers game, does indeed have a perception problem that both Santorum and Gingrich, who say they’re not going anywhere, fully intend to exploit. In the end, the former Massachusetts governor may find himself fighting for the nomination all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa.

 

He has out-financed and out-organized his opponents but still struggles to seal the deal. If he’s losing to Santorum’s bare-bones campaign, asked NBC political director Chuck Todd in post-election analysis, how’s he going to go up against President Obama in what could potentially be the best-organized re-election campaign in American history?

 

BET Politics - Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices.

Videos You May Like

(Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

From Our Partners