Rich Galen

Alabama and Mississippi. Southern States. States that help define the word "Southern" in the United States.

Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania - western Pennsylvania, not southern - won them both.

Newt Gingrich made it clear after Nevada that he had a plan to turbocharge his campaign once the primary calendar moved into the South.

On CNN a couple of weeks ago, Gingrich said he thought he'd win at least two among Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas.

He didn't win Kansas. Santorum won Kansas, too.

That meant, by his own arithmetic, Gingrich needed to win both Mississippi and Alabama.

He didn't he came in second in both to Santorum.

I don't expect Gingrich to get out. He will claim he beat the frontrunner, Romney in both states and therefore, should remain in the race.

Whether it's golf or politics you can't go after the leader without first climbing over the guy ahead of you.

Gingrich, who had significant double digit leads in both states back in the good old days of the Georgia campaign - two weeks ago - couldn't beat Santorum in these two Southern states.

If there is a reason - other than sheer ego - for Newt to go on in this campaign, it's time he let America know what it is.

I don't expect Gingrich to get out. He will claim he beat Romney in both states and should, therefore, be the designated anti-Romney candidate.

There were 47 delegates at stake in Alabama and 37 at stake in Mississippi. We'll probably have to wait a few days to find out what the actual delegate distribution will be, but with the double win, Santorum is likely to grab the lion's share.

Coming into tonight's election the estimated delegate count was:

Mitt Romney - 459
Rick Santorum - 203
Newt Gingrich - 118
Ron Paul - 66

If you were watching the early chatter on the cable news channels you heard a great deal about Mitt Romney doing very well in the deep South. That's because the exit polls which were distributed to the news organizations that participate in them at about five pm showed Romney winning in Mississippi.

The exit polls showed Romney beating Santorum by a very significant eight percentage points, 37.2 - 29.0.

As the night wore on, it looked like it wasn't the polling per se, but the turnout model - which is a big part of modern political polling - that was wrong. Romney did as well as predicted in the major cities, but not as many people voted as the pollsters had projected so Santorum's performance in the rural areas was more than enough.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at