Make it go away. That seems to be the prevailing mindset among most, bubbling to the surface with great ferocity over the past several weeks. But the additional endorsements and calls for candidates to drop out has had little effect in convincing Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to drop their bids…so When Will It Stop?
Gingrich and Santorum show no signs of letting up on their individual quests to derail Mitt Romney from becoming the Republican nominee. Gingrich readily admits he has little – strike that – no chance of getting the 1,144 delegates needed in Tampa. Santorum, on the other hand, continues to battle pundits to claim he has more delegates than the networks claim. It almost seems that the more it becomes obvious that Romney is the Republican nominee, the more Gingrich and Santorum hunker down, refusing to come to grips with the inevitable.
Gingrich has come closest. Although he consistently reiterates his intention to remain in the race for the long haul, he told Fox News Sunday yesterday that his “shoestring” campaign was going down to defeat against Romney, yet he refused to step aside to continue his zoo-visiting campaign on his own time.
There are undoubtedly those who want their candidate of choice to power on in the face of increasing adversity. Just today, the Santorum campaign’s Indiana operation sent out an e-mail to potential volunteers in the state in the lead up to the May 8th primary.
Where this hurts Romney in the immediate is in terms of finances. Every dollar spent attacking Santorum in Pennsylvania is one less dollar spent making the case to defeat Obama. But if Santorum effectively drops out before Pennsylvania, or even immediately after, it would be money well spent in their eyes. His Delaware strategy notwithstanding, at this point, Gingrich doesn’t pose any real threat to Romney. He’s been too darn busy visiting zoos to campaign for PRESIDENT! (Seriously.)
To make their case, Team Romney has been dialing up their own efforts to coalesce support. Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, George H.W. Bush, and others, have publicly endorsed the former Massachusetts governor in the hopes that the other contenders will get the hint.
Romney has played it relatively smart from the get-go. His stump speech has focused more on Obama than on his Republican opponents for a majority of this campaign. Check out this recent column I wrote on local news coverage around the country. Heck, here in Indiana, Romney gave an Obama contrast speech as far back as September, long before a single vote had been cast.
Naturally, I have to end with the caveat that anything can happen – including another ill-timed zoo visit. What seems inevitable now can be a faulty bet placed on conventional wisdom later.
Alright, although it’s been a while since the last Q post, not much has changed. That question was When Will Newt Drop Out? We’re still asking.
Until next time…