Mitt Romney held serve on Super Tuesday, to borrow a tennis metaphor, but he couldn’t break serve. The game he had to win was Ohio, and he did so — barely. The game he needed to put the match away was Tennessee, and there he failed.
Romney dominated the delegate fight Tuesday night, winning 199, by one estimate, compared to 80 for Santorum and 68 for Gingrich. The math for Santorum now looks daunting. He would need to win 65 percent of the remaining delegates to secure the nomination. Still, he remains in the game, draining energy and cash from Romney, who still struggles to close the deal.
Once again, evangelicals were Romney’s nemesis. The national media is making much of Romney’s failure to win over the GOP base, but this masks the real demographic story: 73 percent of the voters in Tennessee were evangelicals, and they chose Santorum over Romney by 19 points.