When all is said and done as of this writing, Mitt Romney was the winner of the night of this Super Tuesday, 2012, Republican edition.
While this election tracker does not indicate it, Mr. Romney is the projected winner by Fox News, CNN and the Associated Press.
But, as John Fund points out over at National Review Online, there are a lot of danger signs for Mr. Romney.
I will go back to it. Because here is how it seems to have all shaken out tonight.
For Mitt Romney, he wins the following states:
Idaho, Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont and Ohio.
Rick Santorum has won three states and one is surprising:
North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Newt Gingrich won his home state:
As of this writing, there are no results from the Alaska Republican Caucus.
So, what does this all mean?
For one, Newt Gingrich has no real reason to be in this race now except to be a spoiler. He needed to win somewhere other than Georgia and he did not. And two states, Massachusetts and North Dakota, Mr. Gingrich finished in last place.
Rick Santorum, while not winning the big prize of Ohio made it a total nail-biter in the end. Mr. Romney only won Ohio by one percent or about 12,000 votes. And Mr. Santorum had an upset winning the North Dakota caucus. It may not seem like much, but Mr. Santorum is now the only viable ABR-Anyone But Romney-candidate left standing.
Mitt Romney did what he had to do. He did end up winning Ohio. But it was not pretty and brings us back to Mr. Fund's piece over at NRO.
Although it is short, it points to the obvious.
That Mr. Romney should have had a much easier time winning Ohio.
That losing Oklahoma may not seem like a big loss, but it is a rebuke to the very popular Sen. Tom Coburn who just endorsed Mr. Romney.
And the fact that Mr. Romney is still not all that in the South. He has not won a state outside of Florida in the South and there have already been several primaries.
And he did not win in Georgia, Tennessee or Oklahoma. The pattern is there and plain to see.
And yet it does appear that Mr. Romney will more than likely be the Republican nominee this time around.
It also means that he needs to make a serious choice for second spot on the ticket if he is the nominee.
There is no doubt that Mr. Santorum could be at the front as the clear ABR candidate. I still think he can pull the surprise by asking South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to be number two. And there is already clamoring to put Marco Rubio as the number two.
But first things first.
By winning what he had to do tonight, Mitt Romney should be able to start winning races by larger margins as it looks evident he will be the nominee. Rick Santorum can stay in, but needs to tread carefully if he will be seriously considered for the number two position.
As the old saying goes a win is a win. No matter how ugly it is. And Mitt Romney has won kind of sort of ugly tonight.