Santorum Pulls the Upset

Rick Santorum was both good and lucky on March 13, winning in Alabama and Mississippi just as the great political god named Expectations figured him to be fading into irrelevance. Instead, it was Mitt Romney, the late favorite to win both states and all but wrap up the GOP nomination, who finished third.

As was the case on Super Tuesday, Romney figures to win something close to a majority of delegates chosen on the night thanks to late wins in caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa. But that hardly matters to the media narrative or the overall impact on the race. Though he unsurprisingly said he’d sojourn on to the convention, Newt Gingrich is now all but eliminated having lost in the one part of the country where he’d had success. So Santorum will get his long awaited one-on-one shot at Romney (ignoring Ron Paul, who finished a poor fourth in AL and MS) having won the mantle of “conservative alternative to Mitt” that’s been so intensely contested since the candidates first set foot in Iowa early last year.

More about the race-that-won’t-end later.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.