Illinois Results Show the Drama is Over

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Mitt Romney (Photo credit PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney (Photo credit PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

The Republican Presidential Primary has provided much more drama and intrigue than most rank and file Republicans would care to admit. But while the race is not technically finished, Mitt Romney’s victory in Illinois has shown that the major drama of the primary race is indeed over.

Romney has seemingly bought his way out of the drama since his double digit victory was made possible by outspending Santorum by a ratio of 7 to 1. And while Newt Gingrich feels that is a recipe for disaster in the general election, if the money is there for Romney to pull it off, then the support is there as well.

And that financial support is the last but most important factor to the race.

Rick Santorum has been riding momentum based on conservative values, but has failed to turn that momentum into financial support. That lack of financing is what has determined Santorum’s fate. He may indeed be the choice for the “true” conservatives and rural conservatives around the nation. But he is not the choice of funders who actually want a real chance to defeat President Obama in the fall.

Santorum will still score some wins along the way to Tampa, but even he can see the writing on the wall. The only Republicans that currently support him are not the ones who are willing to put their money where their mouths are. In an election where the GOP nominee will face a popular incumbent with likely $1 billion dollars in his campaign coffers, being unable to raise serious funds is a serious problem.

As for the irrelevant also-rans, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have now sunk to the status of late night talk show joke fodder. There is no longer any path for Paul or Gingrich to any relevant role within the nominee’s campaign.

Gingrich feels the race will not be decided until the convention and at that time, delegates will have a change of heart. But that’s the kind of things candidates must say when they have won exactly two states in four months.

It’s believed that Ron Paul hasn’t made any such proud pronouncements. However, that cannot be confirmed since no one is following his campaign any longer. He may have said a variety of bold statements that no one has heard. We really don’t know for sure.

In addition to losing momentum and the fundraising battle, Rick Santorum has also been on a run of fairly bad press over things he has said over the past two weeks. Whether it’s taken out of context or not, the comments have made Santorum look out of touch on the economy and women’s issues.

Since the only predictable part of the 2012 GOP primary has been its unpredictability, it’s a risky move to say that the drama is over. But the signs seem clear that the long run of dramatic swings in momentum and new flavors of the week have finally come to an end.

Rick Santorum will have a few more victory speeches, but not enough to stop Romney from reaching 1144. The convention may not be a completely unified Mitt Romney pep rally, but it won’t be the brokered anarchy that Gingrich foresees either.

For now, the drama has come to an end. It will make the rest of the race a little more boring to watch, but the race couldn’t keep up that kind of pace. It simply is unnatural.

Finally, we can tell how it is going to go and we can prepare for the main event.

If you are a fan of suspense, don’t worry, the main event should bring the drama back. Between gas prices and Iran, it should be anything but boring.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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