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 is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.