While it is still too early to count Rick Santorum out, or Ron Paul for that matter, the GOP nomination process will focus, albeit by the media coverage, on Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
But the GOP establishment, as it prepares for the Tampa convention in August, needs to be paying close attention to both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. In the primaries this year, the delegates are being awarded not as a “winner take all”, but on the percentage basis of the candidate’s performance in the primary. If I understand it correctly, Newt Gingrich won 40% of the votes in the South Carolina primary last night, and will this have 40% of the state’s delegates.
This is important, because it means that as Ron Paul or Rick Santorum continue to add more delegates to their column, despite the heavy odds of not having enough for the nomination, they are “banking” them for their “voice” on the GOP platform. Ron Paul knows that he can use his delegate count to force the “audit the Fed” issue into the GOP platform. Likewise, Rick Santorum can parlay his delegate count into his voice for the social issues and the manufacturing jobs platform he has been running on.
So the GOP establishment needs to pay close attention as the primaries continue, and heed the words of the “non-winning” candidates, for they are not going “quietly into the night”!