Rich Galen
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Mitt Romney won Illinois. Romney is now the nominee.

Period.

The exit polls showed Romney with a double digit lead in the early evening, and the CNN crew had to be careful not to proclaim him the victor prior to the polls closing at 8 PM Eastern.

CNN waited until about 8:30 to call the race, but it was never in doubt.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are essentially running their own campaigns and they stink at it.

In Illinois, as in Ohio, Santorum didn't qualify delegates in four Congressional Districts and so was minus 10 before the polls opened yesterday morning.

Gingrich has given up. He pretends he's still in the race and as long as the Sunday shows keep booking him, he is, but he has as much chance of being the Republican nominee as … Dennis Kucinich who got beaten in a primary in Ohio last week.

There was an article in Politico.com yesterday detailing Newt & Callista skipping through zoos and museums where, historically, there have been very few votes rather than campaigning in places where there are.

The act is getting thin. If Gingrich gets out now, he will escape with his reputation. If he continues, he will become a punch line.

Again.

Gingrich will pretend he is still a factor in this race, but battling Ron Paul for last in the Illinois primary does not make that case very strongly.

Santorum spent precious days in Puerto Rico (rather than in Illinois) where he largely irritated the locals and not just because he was photographed on a lounge chair missing only a breathing hole on the top of his head to be mistaken for a beached whale.

Santorum cannot stay away from the social issues. Notwithstanding that poll after poll shows that Americans - Republican Americans - are focused on unemployment, gasoline prices, housing, and economic growth, Santorum keeps talking about things many Americans care about, but understand won't create jobs for their kids.

There is no reasonable expectation that Santorum can get the delegates necessary to win the nomination. The campaign held a conference call with reporters to explain why they thought the delegate race was much closer than everyone else thinks it is.

According to CBS' report on the phone call Santorum's staff "shows him with 311 delegates to Mitt Romney's 435" or minus 124 before the Illinois voting.

Problem is, the AP (and almost everyone else) sees the delegate race as 522 delegates for Romney, 252 for Santorum or minus 270 - more than double the deficit Santorum is selling - again, before the Illinois results.

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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 Mullings.com.