Here is what happened in the last few days, and what you need to know for the next few days.
Santorum won in Kansas, and took home 33 delegates.
Romney won in Guam (9), Northern Marianas (9), and Virgin Islands (7), and took home 25 delegates. Plus he got 7 as the runner up in Kansas. And he won in Wyoming with 12. For a grand total of 44 delegates for the weekend.
This week brings us Alabama (50 proportional, primary), Mississippi (40, proportional), Hawaii (20, proportional caucus), American Samoa (9, proportional caucus)*, all on Tuesday, and then Missouri (52 proportional)**, and Puerto Rico (23, winner take all).
The following week includes Illinois (69 direct) and Louisiana (46 proportional).
Originally all expectations had been that the moderate from Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, would not do so hot in the South. Say what you will, but when has any Yankee done well in the South? But, in spite of expectations, the latest Mississippi's GOP poll showed Romney slightly ahead of Newt Gingrich, 34% to 32%, which was within the margin of error (MOE).
Meanwhile, a poll of likely voters in Alabama's primary showed Gingrich, who likes to pretend he's a Southerner because he used to live in Georgia, but he's actually from Pennsylvania, and has lived in DC longer, at 34% to 31% for Romney, a gap also within MOE.
Rick Santorum trailed in both polls -- 10 points behind Gingrich in Alabama and 12 points behind Romney in Mississippi.
According to CNN the delegate count is currently-
Romney- 458 delegates,
In what might be one of the strangest campaign claims yet this year, the Santorum camp sent out a memo claiming “Romney's math doesn't add up.” And then also said that they- Santorum- are doing better math-wise. They also claimed that Romney must win more than 50% of remaining delegates in order to capture the nomination.
Santorum himself said, "We're winning in the South, we're winning in the West, in the Midwest, we're winning really all across the country. And I understand Newt's sort of drawn his line in the sand here in Alabama and Mississippi. Where do you go from there?"
Can someone please show me these states he is winning in in the West? Cause the last I checked, Romney won Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, and Nevada. Romney even won Alaska, if you want to call that the West. Santorum has won Colorado.
But back to the memo on "Romney's math.” Anderson Cooper had a Gingrich and a Santorum spox on live tonight (did you know Santo, Ging, and Rom all have blond female spox? True story.). He gave the Santo girl a huge rope to defend the math statement. Poor girl was a train wreck. And then AC totally mocked her, but still gave her the chance to try and defend the statement. “How? How do you say a man who is beating you by 100% is losing?” Her answer was more or less, “Because we say so.”
Really it is Gingrich who has the most to lose the next few days. He's lagging in money and in momentum lately.
Public Policy Polling surveys showed a three-way tie in the Southern States. In Alabama, the three candidates were within 2 points of each other, inside the margin of error. In Mississippi, Gingrich led Romney by 33 percent to 31 percent, with Santorum at 27 percent. But I've poo-poo'd PPP polls before, and I'll do it again. I have yet to see them turn out accurately.
"About all we know for sure about Tuesday's primaries is that Ron Paul will finish last in them," Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in releasing the results. "Beyond that it's plausible that any of the candidates could finish between first and third in both Alabama and Mississippi."
Santorum has been actively touting the idea that a long drawn out process, and the possibility of a brokered convention would be good for conservatives, because they could slowly tear down Romney. Romney has been actively out there saying a brokered convention could split and hurt the party when they should be focusing on beating Obama.
The Gingrich campaign approach in the South has been to talk sins and forgiveness to earn a few points with the Bible Belt.
Meanwhile, the Romney tactic has been to attempt a Southern accent, mention grits, and talk about Southern girls giving hugs.
All of these seem like very odd campaign angles. Guess we'll find out which one will work in about 24 hours!
*American Samoa is expected to go completely for Romney due to the 25% Mormon population.
** Missouri had its facade caucus back in early February. But it actually "allocates" its delegates this week. Technically they have the ability to change loyalty. But I haven't found any suggestions anywhere that they might. (Santorum won.)