And the former Speaker made a big push in Delaware, hopping to snag a victory in the smallest state (population-wise) voting yesterday. On Monday, Byron york reported that Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond thought that if his guy won the First State, he could “put a crack in the narrative that Romney is unstoppable.” CBS News also reported that “Gingrich said he had to win” the state.
Not only did Romney win, but he romped, beating Newt state-wide by a margin of greater than 2-to-1 and carrying every county, winning New Castle (the state’s largest) with 60% of the vote and Sussex with 55%. He fell just 10 votes short of a majority in Kent.
In fact, Romney won every county in all five states voting yesterday. If those seriously opposed to Romney had reached critical mass, either Romney or Gingrich (still on the ballot) might have been able to win a few counties, particularly in the largely rural regions of central Pennsylvania and upstate New York–particularly given that interest in the primaries has waned with the contest settled and turnout lower.
The self-proclaimed “last conservative standing”, however, could garner only 27% of the vote in a state he targeted. Some say Newt has damaged himself by staying in the race as long as he has. I tend to agree with that assessment, but will reserve judgment until he offers his official concession speech. The manner of his exit could well define his standing among conservatives not just in the near future, but also in the long term.
With a strong speech articulating conservative principles and endorsing the Republican nominee, he could both save his reputation and burnish his legacy.