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Now Things Get Interesting

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will win Tuesday night's Alabama and Mississippi primaries, CBS News projects.

And Newt doesn't seem to be getting out of the race. But who knows.  He did attack Mitt bi time.

Read the full article at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57396809-503544/santorum-to-sweep-mississippi-alabama-primaries-cbs-news-projects/

Mr. Santorum's advantage in the delegate count should be relatively modest: the Associated Press has called 22 delegates for him between the two states so far, versus 18 for Mitt Romney and 17 for Newt Gingrich. A number of delegates have yet to be decided in these states, but both divide their delegates in a relatively proportional way. And if Mr. Romney wins the caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa, he could potentially take more delegates overall from the evening.

Moreover, these were the sort of states that Mr. Romney was "supposed" to lose based on their demographics. Although the polls overestimated Mr. Romney's standing, projections based on demographic models did reasonably well.

Mr. Romney will not have such excuses, however, if he loses Illinois, which votes a week from today. It's the only contest that evening and Mr. Romney is thought to be the favorite there, although polls and my demographic model show a fairly tight race.

Mr. Romney will have a significant lead in delegates even if he loses Illinois. But a loss there would be more characteristic of those scenarios where he falls short of a delegate majority and needs help from super delegates and other unpledged delegates to win the nomination.

from Live Coverage: Alabama and Mississippi Primaries

by Nate Silver @ NYT, March 13, 11:36pm

Polls miss evangelical surge in Mississippi, Alabama | Jim Galloway | Political Insider | AJC.com

On Tuesday night, Rick Santorum dashed the GOP presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich and complicated Mitt Romney’s slog toward the Tampa convention.

More than that, Santorum thwarted pollsters who had suggested a happy night for both the former U.S. House speaker and former Massachusetts governor. The culprit was a serious undercount of evangelical clout.

No surprise that Gary Bauer is getting shivers up his leg:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74028.html

No Headlines For Rick This Weekend
By Ed Kilgore, Political Animal, March 14, 2012

Rick Santorum would love to follow up his victories in Alabama and Mississippi yesterday with some quick, fresh triumphs, partly to offset Mitt Romney’s remoreseless progress in picking up delegates (despite the high-profile losses, Romney secured 40 delegates to Santorum’s 37 yesterday once his wins in Hawaii and American Samoa are factored in), and partly so that he doesn’t stake everything on winning in Illinois on March 20.

But it ain’t looking good for any Santorum cheer over the weekend.

You’d think he’d have a decent shot in Saturday’s Missouri caucuses, since he trounced Romney in the Show-Me-State’s non-binding primary back in February. But as TPM’s Eric Kleefeld reported today, Missouri GOP party leaders decided against holding a presidential straw poll [....]

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