Well the first contest in the Republican race for the nomination is in the books and it was a good one. After going back and forth all night Mitt Romney emerged as the winner, sort of. Below are the results of the caucuses:
As you can see Romney won a victory in name only as he is in a virtual tie with Rick Santorum.
As of today 1-5-2012, Michelle Bachmann has suspended her campaign leaving the five top vote getters and Jon Huntsman still in the race as Perry tweeted earlier, “Here we come South Carolina!!!” So what does this mean to the race for the Republican nomination? Here’s my take, take it or leave it.
We have three candidates that are in for the long haul: Romney, Santorum, and Paul, two that should be in until at least South Carolina (1-21-2012): Gingrich and Perry, and one that may be out after New Hampshire if he has a poor showing there: Huntsman. My take on this situation is this Romney and Santorum are in until the end. Paul will be in until at least May if not until the end, Perry and Gingrich will be in through at least Florida (1-31-12) as the Florida delegates are a winner take all situation. Huntsman will be out after South Carolina after two more dismal finishes.
That being said, after the Florida primary, we will have a three or four way race through Super Tuesday (3-6-2012) after which we will definitely be down to a three person race. I say this because if Romney or Santorum can not sustain the momentum from Iowa and New Hampshire into South Carolina and either Gingrich or Perry wins there and Florida then the race should be wide open for any of the four.
My prediction would be after Florida the only remaining candidates will be Romney, Santorum, Paul and Perry and I feel that Santorum’s star will slowly fade leaving the real race between Perry and Romney. As to predicting the eventual winner, I am not that stupid since Santorum may shine brightly and eclipse the field as that right now is the big unknown: How much of a bump will Santorum receive from Iowa?
The Republican nomination is up for grabs at this point and the contest just got a little more heated.