Mitt Romney has reason to be singing tonight, but I don’t think it’s time to crank up the Crowded House yet. Don’t say it’s over, because it’s not. The big win in Florida hands Romney 50 delegates, maybe, probably, unless Florida ends up doling them out proportionally as other states are. If that happens, Romney’s lead will be reduced. But winning in Florida, as the first closed GOP primary and the first state that can be said to be a microcosm of the entire US is significant.
Nevada caucuses on February 4, territory that favors Mitt Romney and Ron Paul for different reasons. Super Tuesday is coming up March 6, and includes some states friendly to Gingrich, Santorum and Romney. At this point, even if Romney had won Florida by 50 points we have still seen less than 6% of the total delegates awarded. Romney has less than 100 delegates to date, and needs more than 1100 to clinch the nomination. A lot has already happened to upend this primary several times, and a lot more can still happen.
The exit polls keep telling us that a majority of Republican voters want someone else in the race. That’s very unlikely to happen, but those numbers do tell us something important: Mitt Romney has not sealed the deal. He hasn’t sealed the deal because the base of the party distrusts him, and it has valid reasons for that distrust. He still has some time in the primary to earn that trust. Or, someone else has time to earn it instead.
Update: Click the links below for other reaction to the primary results.
Roger Kimball – Landslide? Mitt’s Big Spending Helped that Along
Roger L. Simon – Why Gingrich Lost Big and What’s Next
Ali Akbar – Florida Happened and It Ain’t Over Yet