|Illinois goes for Romney|
Romney's win in Illinois yesterday has put a new spring in his step. It is quite clear that he will, short of heart failure, become the Republican nominee for the fall.
The only major drama left is the question about of who Romney will choose as his VP. Condi has ruled herself out (see article and interview below). Santorum would be an interesting choice that would expedite the end of Republican infighting and be a conscious strategy of targeting the Catholic vote which Obama has managed to unnecessarily antagonise. Santorum could help make Pennsylvania competitive, though he did lose badly in his last senatorial bid in 2006, where he lost by an 18 point margin -- the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent senator since 1980. Rubio would also be a bid for the Catholic vote as well as Hispanics and would help with Florida. Due to the 2010 census, the state of Florida has gained 2 additional electoral votes since 2008 making it a bigger prize than ever with 29 electoral votes in 2012.
The three large states that are always "up for grabs" are Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), and Ohio (18). Win two out of three of these states and you become President.
Catholics are a large and always closely divided voting block. Win a majority of the Catholic vote and a US Presidential candidate is almost assured victory -- Obama won it 2008, Bush in 2004 and 2000. A majority of the Catholic vote has sided with the winner of 9 out of the 10 past US Presidential elections (http://www.irishcentral.com/story/news/periscope/catholic-vote-is-key-to-2012-presidential-election---obama-controversy-on-contraception-a-huge-issue-139350483.html). Romney must also try to neutralise the anti-mormon sentiment with a choice that reaches across the religious divide.
Some platform bones may be thrown to the Paul-bots due to their youth, enthusiasm and the likelihood that many will just stay home on election day in November when Paul loses the nomination. Ron Paul as Fed Chairman, anyone?
Here's the story on Condi bowing out of consideration...