Mitt Still Faces Long Slog

Super PAC cash set to keep rivals going

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 1, 2012 3:26 AM CST | Updated Feb 1, 2012 7:37 AM CST

(Newser) Mitt Romney won huge in Florida, but this race isn't over yet. Here's what the pundits are taking away from this one:

  • Romney has a much tougher fight ahead than John McCain did at this stage in 2008, analysts tell the LA Times. The reason: super PACs. In the past, primary defeats cut off a candidate's fundraising, but now deep-pocket donors, like Newt Gingrich's pal Sheldon Adelson, can keep shoveling in cash.

  • As his Obama-focused victory speech indicated, Romney will once again be running two campaigns: one for the nomination and one for the general election, Politico observes. But it'll be a tricky balance, because voters may have actually liked the attack dog version of Mitt.
  • "Inevitability restored," declares John Dickerson of Slate. Romney has won the biggest contest, and "rolls on wheels that are made of money." He even did well in north Florida, an area much like the southern states Gingrich is counting on.
  • Then again, it's worth noting that self-proclaimed "very conservative" voters still weren't behind Romney; they backed Gingrich 43% to 29%, and overall 41% said Romney wasn't conservative enough.
  • Plus, Jonathan Bernstein of the Washington Post thinks there might be a "weird equilibrium in which Gingrich's popularity rises every time he's out of it, and people stop reminding Republican voters about all the reasons they should oppose him." Of course, it "then sinks rapidly as soon as they do."

 '46 States to Go' is Newt's new mantra.
'46 States to Go' is Newt's new mantra.   (Getty Images)
Mitt Romney, celebrates his Florida primary election win at the Tampa Convention Center.
Mitt Romney, celebrates his Florida primary election win at the Tampa Convention Center.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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