Last night, I wondered if four of the “Not Romneys” would “have the self-control to stop hitting the other Not Romneys and focus on Romney?” For much of this morning, it appeared there would be two fewer of them, with indications that Perry and Bachmann would depart the race.
But now, perhaps not; Perry’s personal Twitter account just chirped, “And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State . . . Here we come South Carolina!!!” It featured this photo:
A race without Perry or Bachmann would be a surprisingly good development for Rick Santorum, as he has a solid chance to win over most of the potentially adrift Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann fans. Of course, this won’t be a big factor in the next contests; in New Hampshire Bachmann’s at 4 percent and Perry’s at 2.5 percent. In South Carolina, Bachmann’s at 7 percent and Perry is at 6 percent. In Florida, Perry is at 4 percent and Bachmann is at 3.5 percent. But after a seven-vote margin in Iowa, who could scoff at any additional votes?
But the biggest remaining challenge for Santorum’s rise to the status of the Ultimate Anti-Mitt is Newt Gingrich, and perhaps the cycle’s biggest clash of the titans will be the battle between Gingrich’s desire to hurt Romney by dropping out and Gingrich’s intense desire to be the nominee.