Santorum chose to make his Illinois concession speech in Pennsylvania - his home state. People like me immediately thought: Why would he speak from Pennsylvania on the night of his most crushing defeat in this cycle. It only reminded me that he lost his re-election for U.S. Senator by 18 percentage points.
I thought this might have ended after Florida. Then I thought it might have ended after Super Tuesday. I now believe it ended last night.
Mitt Romney will be the nominee for President and will run against Barack Obama in the Fall.
The mechanism of the National Republican Committee will now begin to bend to the will of the Romney campaign.
Romney operatives will begin to show up at the RNC headquarters - not officially, but just to drop by - to begin looking at the plans that have been drawn up for the fall campaign.
They won't issue orders, the Romney operatives, but the RNC staff will be very sensitive to an arched eyebrow, a pointed question; or a smile and an nod.
Romney operatives will begin making phone calls to the RNC convention staff in Tampa. They will ask for - not demand - copies of early speakers lists, preliminary hotel assignments for state delegations, and who might have been promised precious Officer of the Convention credentials.
Santorum had a good run; an extraordinary run. He is correct. In the run-up to the Iowa Caucuses on January 3, Rick Santorum as a bit player in the back of the chorus line.
In the early debates Rick Santorum was at one end showing his lack of support in the polls.
Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich were all media darlings before Rick Santorum.
You know I am not a Santorum fan, but I give him great credit to have persevered this deep into the primary season.
He will do well in Louisiana on Saturday but there are no election activities after that until April 3; then nothing until the Northeast primary on April 24.
It is time. Over the next 30 days this will become blindingly clear.
Santorum and Gingrich should bow out and get in behind the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.