By Adam Bitely — After a chaotic counting process in Nevada, which seems to be the norm with caucuses this year, Mitt Romney grabbed 50 percent of the vote. That left Gingrich, Paul and Santorum splitting up the remaining 50 percent while trying to convince supporters that they still have a reasonable shot at making it to the GOP convention this summer.
Add to that fact that Minnesota could result in Rick Santorum picking up his first win since Iowa and Newt Gingrich will suddenly be in third place as far as states won and potentially in number of delegates for the convention. Suddenly, Santorum could likely be the hyped up Romney alternative and Gingrich could be relegated to the back of the bus yet again.
And what about Ron Paul? His strategy is to pick up delegates wherever he can to amass a sizable presence at the nominating convention later this year. So far, Paul has picked up 9 delegates, putting him in last place, but that could all change this month as he focuses on smaller caucuses where he has invested a lot of time. He had expected to perform well in the Nevada caucus but came in third behind Gingrich with 19 percent of the vote. This may be a sign that his caucus strategy may not pay off. Only time will tell.
Gingrich has been running into one wall after another since his one and only victory in South Carolina. He got pummeled in a winner-take-all primary in Florida and was devastated once more in Nevada. And Nevada was the first time that Romney could claim a conservative victory, as exit-poll data showed that 6 out of every 10 conservative voters favored him more than any other candidate.
And today, Gingrich dropped all legal efforts to get on to the Virginia ballot for the March 6 primary. Newt has failed to make both the Missouri ballot and the Virginia ballot, which shows an organization that does not appear to be prepared for running a nationwide operation — or an operation that can bring Romney down.
But the current trends show that the anti-Romney crowd is still divided. Santorum has not seen a surge in support and neither has Gingrich. Neither of them has convinced the anti-Romney electorate to back one of them. Instead, the anti-Romney voters remain divided on who the best anti-Romney candidate is as Mitt continues to rake in delegates. The only winner here is Mitt Romney.
Financial troubles are also going to brew for the anti-Romney crowd. Gingrich reportedly has $600,000 in debt with between $1 and $2 million in the bank. This will limit what his campaign can do severely as it has to figure out how to compete in various states at once. Without any momentum building, it will be a hard task to convince people that he can win and that they should put their money behind him.
Santorum will be in the same boat if he doesn’t get another win in the books in short order. He is poised for a potential win in Minnesota tonight. And we will see if conservatives can coalesce behind Santorum in Missouri without Newt Gingrich on the ballot there. If Santorum can’t get Newt’s folks to back him to stop Romney, it’s unlikely that he ever will.
One thing is for sure, time is running out for anyone to stop Romney from winning the GOP nomination. If conservatives don’t back one of the alternatives soon, then it will become apparent that they are content with Romney taking on Obama.
Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamBitely.