Mitt Romney has taken the Illinois Republican primary this evening and making it much harder for Rick Santorum to stay in the race for the GOP nomination.
With 94% of the vote counted, Mr. Romney has 47% of the vote compared to Mr. Santorum at about 35%. Ron Paul is ahead of the former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich with about nine percent to Mr. Gingrich's eight percent.
Some quick hits on the result.
First, while this seems to help Mr. Romney, once again he is winning without breaking 50% of the vote. But he is now consistently in the high 40s. Meaning voters are beginning to see the writing on the wall. That Mitt Romney will have enough delegates to win the Republican nomination in Tampa in August outright.
Second, so long as he is not ugly, there is no reason for Mr. Santorum to throw in the towel. He will win some more states. This Saturday Louisiana has it's primary and Mr. Santorum should win that one with possibly the same number Mr. Romney had in Illinois tonight.
Third, the one-time rationale of Mr. Gingrich staying in the race is now gone. Although it will be too late no matter what now, the honorable thing Mr. Gingrich could do is leave and support Mr. Santorum. But one thing about Mr. Gingrich is that he is one serious narcissist and that is why he will not leave this race with any shred of honor.
Fourth, Ron Paul is not any kind of factor except to keep his ideas out there. But now that the leftywhore media sees him going nowhere and is pulling their reporters from his campaign, it gets harder for him to get those ideas out there. Mr. Paul is not even getting double-digits in votes and is battling with Mr. Gingrich for the bottom of the barrel.
Clarity is now the way this race is heading.
But there are signs both Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum need to pay attention to.
As this map shows, the urban/suburban and rural divide is very clear here. Mr. Romney took Crook, er Cook county, home of Chicago and the surrounding counties. Mr. Romney also took Sangamon county, home of the state capital Springfield and Peoria county, home of the iconic city of Peoria. Mr. Santorum took everywhere else. And everywhere else while impressive on the map color-wise makes no difference when the other guy is taking the big prizes.
But it continues to hold out the open sore of the more conservative parts of any given state going with Mr. Santorum and Mr. Romney taking the less conservative areas. It continues to paint Mr. Santorum in a corner that he will more than likely not get out of. And it just gets more difficult for Mr. Santorum to have the kind of wins that he had several weeks ago on a Tuesday when he won Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.
But again, Mr. Santorum does not need to leave. He has issues he wants out there. And while sometimes he is not the most articulate, he is bringing the issues in the race. And they are not just social issues. It is how the current economic decline has hurt Blue-collar America.
And it could help make Mr. Santorum a serious candidate for vice-president.
Laugh all you want folks.
But who thought Mr. Santorum would be the last opponent standing against Mr. Romney? And again, his ability to connect with the Blue-collar voter that Mr. Romney will desperately need in November could bring his star rising to Team Romney.
And speaking of Mr. Romney, I think that this encounter with a young freeloader yesterday may have breathed amazing life to him and his campaign. See the linked video because reading the words do not it the same justice. But I will show the freeloader and Mr. Romney's retort:
“You‘re all for like ’yay freedom and all this stuff and yay pursuit of happiness,’” the student said. “You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”
“Let me tell you something, if you‘re looking for free stuff that you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That‘s what he’s all about.”
It will take that and iron steel to go up against Team Obama and all of their surrogates. It will take a couple of adults. And both Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum are the adults in the room.
The Illinois primary makes that clear and it is looking more and more that Mitt Romney is on the way to the top for the GOP. And his running mate may already be there in Rick Santorum.