Santorum Sweeps Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota

Candidate Santorum celebrating his three-state sweep.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, in a big night, swept Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota. Missouri was a “beauty contest” with no delegates at stake, and both Colorado and Minnesota have non-binding with delegates to be chosen in the Spring. But Tuesday was about momentum and prestige. Santorum gained both.

Many thought Santorum’s campaign was dying, but he now has won–including Iowa–one more primary than Mitt Romney, the long assumed frontrunner. “Governor Romney’s been able to bully his way through this primary,” Santorum said. “But he’s not inspiring. He’s not painting the vision.”

The Romney campaign plans on competing aggressively in Arizona and Michigan, which do not take place until February 28–over two weeks after the Maine caucus. We can expect high campaign spending from the Romeny-allied Super PACs. Even with the $250,000 overnight donations, part of a $400,000 total yield over two days, Santorum cannot match Romney’s resources. Beyond the money, Romney has received more free media than Santorum by far.

Nonetheless, after last night’s returns, it appears that these resources did not matter much in the campaign. However, national political director Rich Beeson wrote, “Mitt Romney is the only candidate with the organizational strength and broad-based appeal to secure delegates in all remaining primaries and caucuses…Of course, there is no way for any nominee to win first place in every single contest — John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents to notch a few wins too.”

–George Mendoza