Lake Vostok Antarctica

February 9, 2012 by staff 

Lake Vostok Antarctica, Rick Santorum was flying high on Wednesday, buoyed by his trio of triumphs in the Midwest over front-runner Mitt Romney and insisting he’s the sought-after social conservative who can halt the former Massachusetts governor’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.

In a race that has proven time and again that momentum is fleeting, it remained to be seen whether Santorum could start raising enough money to elbow Newt Gingrich out of the way and overtake Romney, the wealthy former venture capitalist who’s already spent millions in his second run for president.

Santorum’s campaign, meantime, said it raised $250,000 online on Tuesday night after he won handily the Missouri primary and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.

But the candidate argued Wednesday that success isn’t dependent on cash.

“If money made the difference, we would not have won four primaries so far,” the former Pennsylvania senator told CNN.

Santorum’s victories, indeed, don’t just pose a conundrum for Romney and his deep pockets. They’ve also put his fellow social conservative, Gingrich, in a pickle.

The former speaker of the House of Representatives has vowed to bring down Romney, and the most effective way to do it might involve dropping out of the race in order to allow a resurgent Santorum to consolidate the far-right voters of the Republican base. But will his legendary ego allow it?

Don’t count on it, says a one-time Republican legislative aide.

“Newt’s ego has always been in control, if ever Newt has a choice between self-aggrandizement and self-sacrifice, he’ll always choose self-aggrandizement,” says Jack Pitney, who now teaches politics at Claremont McKenna College in California.

As David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times put it earlier this week: “The transformative leader of monumental importance that he sees in the mirror every morning will not allow him to concede to what he believes is a lesser man.”

Gingrich has vowed to stay in the race until the Republican National Convention in August. There’s no doubt he’ll hang in until so-called Super Tuesday on March 6th, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses.

Delegate-rich Georgia, where Gingrich is expected to do well since he once served the state as a congressman, is among the contests. He might also fare well in Tennessee that day.

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