Assessing Future of GOP Race

By Max Resnik

March 14, 2012 Updated Mar 14, 2012 at 5:51 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney grabbed delegates in their respective primary wins Tuesday night, but one local expert says Romney could have the race locked-up by April’s end.

Rick Santorum took two Deep South states in Alabama and Mississippi with 35 percent and 33 percent of the vote respectively.

Mitt Romney secured his victories in America Samoa and Hawaii.

Both Romney and Santorum gained delegates in their wins, but it is Romney who remains far ahead with more than twice the number of delegates as Santorum. He leads 498 to 239. Mike Wolf, Ph.D. professor of political science at IPFW, says neither Santorum nor Newt Gingrich would sill be in the race without the help of Super PAC money. He also says the Republican Party seems broken at the moment.

“Well, they're fractured and the rule changes have made quite a difference. The fact that outside money is allowed to come in this year, where it wasn't in the past, would've already dried up some of these candidates and we would see a winnowed down field and likely even just one front runner left.”

Wolf says Santorum’s strategy, because he likely will not secure the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, will be to hang onto just enough so that Romney cannot hit that magic number. At that point, Santorum would make his plea at a brokered convention where all delegates would become free agents in a sense.

Wolf also says the chance of that strategy working is minimal as the April primaries draw near.

“The winner-take-all rules take effect, so anyone that wins a state will take all of the delegates to that state so they'll start to accrue pretty quickly. And many of those contests are in the Northeast so they should favor Mitt Romney.”

Wolf says he believes that while a brokered convention is not out of the question, he believes it is unlikely.

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