Super Tuesday Wrap-up And Wednesday Open Thread

So, where do things stand this morning ?

Here’s how I see it:

Republicans

Though he didn’t do quite as well as I expected, it’s clear that John McCain was the big winner last night. He won nine states and a total of 511 delegates, including big wins in New York, New Jersey, and, somewhat of a surprise given the late polls showing a surge to Romney, California. What came as a surprise, though, and prevented McCain from claiming a prohibitive victory tonight was the surprising success of Mike Huckabee; he won West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and his home state of Arkansas.

While this did cut into McCain’s lead, what’s more important that it blunted any chance of success that Mitt Romney had last night. Romney did win 7 states and 176 delegates — including wins in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, and, of course, Utah — but it wasn’t enough to blunt McCain’s march toward the nomination. And, finally, Ron Paul had about the night I expected he would; he did well in caucus states like Montana, Colorado, and Minnesota, but only managed a third place finish in Alaska, where there was some though he might actually have had a chance to win.

As of this morning, and the numbers seem to be changing a little, here’s where the delegate count stands:

  1. John McCain — 615 delegates (1,191 needed to win)
  2. Mitt Romney — 268 delegates
  3. Mike Huckabee — 169 delegates
  4. Ron Paul — 16 delegates

So, McCain isn’t the prohibitive nominee but he’s pretty darn close. He only needs 576 more delegates to clinch the nomination; Romney on the other hand would need nearly 900, meaning he’d have to win almost every primary from now until June, which isn’t going to happen. Next week, we move on to Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia which McCain should win handily. At that point, Romney is just going to need to give up the ghost. Huckabee, on the other hand, has played the role of spoiler well and I still think we’ll see him as the Vice-Presidential nominee. And Ron Paul ? Well, I just don’t see how he runs a credible campaign from this point on, and he’s not winning enough delegates to be taken seriously at the convention.

Democrats

While the Republican race became clearer last night, the Democratic race is now closer than ever:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won victories over Sen. Barack Obama in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York last night, giving her presidential campaign a crucial boost. But Obama countered by winning of a string of states, including the general election battleground of Missouri, in the seesaw race for the Democratic nomination.

The results ensured that the fierce contest for delegates will continue into critical primaries in Texas and Ohio on March 4, and possibly beyond, in what has become the party’s most competitive race in at least a quarter of a century.

Clinton claimed four of the five biggest prizes in Super Tuesday’s 22-state Democratic competition. She also captured Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Those victories helped stem what appeared to be gathering momentum around Obama’s candidacy since he won in South Carolina on Jan. 26.

But Obama won in more places than his New York rival, racking up victories in his home state of Illinois, as well as Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah. His narrow victory in Missouri came after Clinton appeared on the brink of winning there. Only the outcome in New Mexico remained unresolved early this morning.

What’s more important, though, is that even in states where he lost, like California, Obama did far better than the polls showed him doing even ten days ago. The momentum in this race is clearly with Barack Obama, and these two candidates are going to be fighting it out for at least another month.

Here’s where the Democratic delegate count stands:

  1. Hillary Clinton — 825 delegates (2,025 needed to win)
  2. Barack Obama — 732 delegates
  3. John Edwards — 26 delegates

What’s will be interesting to watch is what happens next week in states like Virginia and Maryland, and beyond that. If Obama can continue racking up wins, we will see more Democratic powerbrokers coming to his side and Clinton’s days may well be numbered.

Thoughts ?

  • Justin Bowen

    Of course, the big question with the Democratic race is the superdelegates. If Obama doesn’t win more delegates from the states, he’s finished and we’re on a surefire course for disaster. As for Paul, yeah, he’s finished.

  • Lost_In_Translation

    While Paul did not recieve alot of delegates, I think Obama should start looking for a boost when Paul drops out (today…tomorrow?). Paul has played an important roles of presenting the republicans with an alternative and showing that there are still alot of republicans that would do anything to change the direction their party is going. However, since the majority of republicans seem to be happy enough voting for another patriarchal figure in John McCain, Mitt Romney, I think alot of the support Paul has generated could shift over to Obama when Paul drops out. Look for Obamamania to increase in the upcoming weeks and he might possibly gain parity with Clinton if he wins a string of states between now and Texas. I, a Paul supporter, am already considering throwing my vote behind Obama if it means he has a shot of defeating Clinton in Texas.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/tarran/ tarran

    I don’t think Paul is going to drop out quite yet;

    I believe that Paul’s goal is to influence whomever is the eventual nominee by horse trading his delegates for platform changes or a post for himself.

    his supporters did just that in WV. Huckabee won the state after the Ron Paul supporters changed their vote in order to bush him over the top. this denied Romney the victory, and bought them a handful of delegates.

    Despite some of the more optimistic comments coming from his supporters on LewRockwell.com, I think Ron Paul’s strategy has always been to try to play kingmaker at a brokered convention. You can’t do that if you drop out early.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Tarran,

    It’s not a dumb strategy, but I think it’s increasingly unlikely that there will be a brokered convention.

    And, honestly, right now, Ron Paul only has 16 confirmed delegates. There’s not alot of horsetrading you can do with that.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Tarran,

    And I agree, Paul’s not going to drop out, at least not yet.

    Texas law allows him to run for re-election to Congress and President at the same time so I’m guessing he will stay in until at least the Texas Primary on March 4th.

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