Daily Beast Contributors on Rick Santorum’s Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado Wins

Daily Beast contributors on whether Santorum’s surge matters.

Chris Carlson / AP Photo

Rick Santorum Wins Missouri, Minnesota for Super TuesdayBy Howard Kurtz

Rick Santorum roared back to life on Tuesday with his first victories since the snows of Iowa, winning the Missouri primary and the Minnesota caucuses in impressive fashion.

Campaigning with little visibility and less money, the former senator crushed Mitt Romney in Missouri’s beauty contest with 55 percent of the vote and was headed for a second triumph in Minnesota. Santorum was running strong in early returns from the Colorado caucuses.

The question is whether Santorum’s strong showing revives his candidacy—enabling him to elbow aside Newt Gingrich as the conservative alternative to Romney—or just gives him ephemeral bragging rights that will vanish with the next news cycle.



Big Trouble for Romneyby Michael Tomasky

At this point, it’s fair to start questioning how Romney can really unite this party behind him eventually and make people enthusiastic about him. It sure doesn’t look, on the evidence of last night, like he’ll seriously be able to compete with Obama in Colorado or Minnesota. Even Missouri, which Obama lost by .1 percent last time, looks problematic for him right now. But the Romney contests to watch in some ways aren’t against Obama or Santorum or Newt Gingrich, but against himself and against history—his numbers, and the overall turnout numbers, from last time. If he doesn’t show impressively in Arizona and Michigan on Feb. 28, GOP power brokers are really going to start wondering what they’ve bought into.



Rick Santorum Reshuffles the GOP Primary Deck With MN, MO Winsby Michelle Cottle

Wowzer. Has there ever been a primary night that amassed fewer delegates but had greater potential to redefine the field?

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Colorado. Minnesota. Missouri. Two nonbinding straw polls and one utterly pointless beauty pageant of a primary. (Missouri will choose delegates at a March 17 caucus.) And yet: this was it. Rick Santorum’s big night. His chance to shine. The last, best opportunity for the man who single-handedly breathed life back into the sweater-vest industry to show that he is the most attractive not-Romney in this race. To persuade the world that he is the candidate to unite all those restless, questing conservatives—instead of that porridge-headed dilettante of an ex-speaker.

Boy oh boy, did Santorum deliver.



Newt’s Two-Man-Race Narrative Collapses After Santorum Victoriesby John Avlon

This is the story of Newt and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

It is a tale of two caucus states where Newt was schooled by Rick Santorum in the ways of social conservative voters and one state where he failed to even make the primary ballot. Worst of all, it was the day when Newt’s narrative of a two-man race collapsed.

Because right now, angry and almost broke, Newt is no longer the leading candidate to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. That man is Rick Santorum. And what makes Gingrich especially grumpy is that the man he is losing to was once just a pimply backbencher in the 1994 Republican Revolution.



Paul Begala: Santorum Spanks Romney in Midwestern PrimariesBy Paul Begala

Mitt Romney didn't just lose. He lost to Muhammad, Jugdish, Sidney, and Clayton—the archetypal losers from Animal House.

The story of Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado is the stunning weakness of Mitt Romney.

Rick Santorum's impressive victory in the nonbinding Missouri "beauty contest" began an ugly night for Romney. Mitt, who garnered 29 percent in Missouri in 2008, limped in with 25 percent—less than half the votes Santorum earned.