Romney Wins Illinois, Rivals Aren’t Going Anywhere
Posted on Mar 21, 2012
The fact that Newt Gingrich, who has done little to impress in this Republican primary, can afford to stay in the race tells you why Mitt Romney’s huge win in Illinois on Tuesday night actually means very little.
Gingrich, like all the major candidates, is supported by a super PAC and in February his received a $5.5 million infusion from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson has spent $16.5 million altogether on Gingrich, according to the Los Angeles Times. This means that Gingrich can remain in the race and stay noticeable, if not relevant, without going bankrupt. Recall that Hillary Clinton dropped out of the 2008 Democratic primary only after the Obama campaign agreed to help settle her debts, which included millions of dollars in loans that Clinton had given to her own campaign. Donations tend to dry up when a campaign becomes a lost cause, and in the pre-Citizens United world, a candidate who decided to gamble and press on often had to put his or her own money on the line.
Romney’s double-digit victory over Rick Santorum in Illinois changes nothing about the fundamentals of this race: Mitt Romney is almost certainly going to win the Republican nomination, but he’s not going to be rid of his challengers until the convention. They are the mascots of a few extremely wealthy people who continue to give money.
Next up on the GOP primary carousel: Louisiana and Missouri. Polls close on Saturday. —PZS
AP / Nam Y. Huh
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney smiles as he greets supporters at his election night rally in Schaumburg, Ill.