With Santorum out, I can now pretty much call my Prediction #1 – Romney is the Republican Nominee. Gingrich and Paul have both pledged to be in it “to the death,” but that’s more about their own personal desires than it is about any legitimate shot at the White House – Paul knows he can keep making some waves in the national debate, Gingrich knows this is probably his last hour in the limelight.
I was wrong with my previous prediction about how long Santorum would stay in and how the fight would look in May. I think Santorum realized that he had won about as much as there was to win – that combined with personal factors involving his daughter were probably enough to convince him to bow out now. He knows the GOP has frequently nominated the runner-up of the previous primary cycle for the top of the ticket the next time around – McCain in ’08 and now Romney in ’12.
At this point, staying in would have risked poisoning the well against him. If he had lost Pennsylvania, it would have been a serious blow to his credibility. If he had won, Romney still would have cleaned up in New York and other big states the same night, so he still just looks like he’s in it to spoil. The illness of his daughter gives him the chance to bow out having fought the good fight.
Which means, it’s time for the VP speculation to begin!