…and only one came out. I just stole that from Jim Geraghty this morning, but it seems to be the headline of the day. Rick Perry is effectively out, and Rick Santorum is the so-co anti-Mitt now. I don’t see him doing well in New Hampshire, so the question will be whether he maintains any of the “surge” into other states. He could end up being in the same position as the Huckabeast in 2008, in that he largely ends up being a protest vote by more socially conservative states down the line, but won’t take the nomination. He did so well, in part, because he spent so much time on the ground in Iowa. There simply aren’t enough days between primaries to do that in many other states. Consider that out of all of the candidates in Iowa, only two are even on the ballot in Virginia.
By the way, when Santorum runs on the fact that he’s the only candidate to have won a swing state like Pennsylvania before, feel free to remind people that he also lost Pennsylvania to a guy whose own staff doesn’t know if he’s alive.
I will also steal this bit of commentary from him to put it in context of why Iowa shouldn’t be any more relevant than any other small state:
The Hawkeye State killed off the chances of a perfectly good candidate, Tim Pawlenty, in favor of his Minnesota rival Michele Bachmann, only to drop her like seventh-period Spanish by the time the actual caucuses rolled around. The caucuses werenâ€™t even over when the Fox News Decision Desk could project, with confidence, that she would finish sixth out of six major candidates in the caucus. As of this writing, she is set to finish 5 percentage points ahead of Jon Huntsman, who effectively conceded the state.
For all the surges we’ve seen of potential “anti-Romneys,” Pawlenty likely would be the best one.
Some of you might think that Ron Paul’s third place showing is the story of the night, but it isn’t. Here’s an interesting tidbit as to why that momentum won’t hold as we head into races where people who actually vote for Republicans have a chance to vote:
According to the entrance polls, 38 percent of caucus-goers had never voted in a GOP caucus before; of those, by far the largest share, 37 percent, voted for Ron Paul. Among the registered so-called independents who took part in the caucus, 48 percent voted for Ron Paul, way ahead of anyone else. Next highest was Romney with 16 percent.
Closed primaries in future states will largely keep this number down as we progress through the primary calendar. The exception to that being Virginia where he will be the only protest vote against Mitt available, save for write-ins.
UPDATE: Well, I admit that I’m wrong. It looks like two Ricks stay in the race. That’s wise for Perry. Iowa shouldn’t be in a position to coronate any candidate, and he could do well in South Carolina.
UPDATE II: I stand corrected on write-ins in Virginia primary in the comments. Also, I take back what I said about Perry. He may still have a campaign going, but apparently he plans to take a couple of days off. Ummm…let’s see, NH is next week, and South Carolina shortly after that. I don’t think he can afford days off right now. So while there might be a campaign that exists, I don’t think this bodes well for the future vitality of it.