Rick Santorum is officially out. Well, technically, he’s “suspended” his campaign rather than ended it, meaning he can still raise money.
Newt, on the other hand, is vowing to go all the way to the convention. The question is, does anyone care? The answer is, probably not. But maybe yes.
If Romney has a complete meltdown, it’s possible Newt could have a shot at winning. But we’re talking complete meltdown, an epic scandal or mistake that turns him from nominee-in-waiting to a single-digit candidate.
Short of that, however, Newt could keep alive the doubts about Romney among the conservative base. There’s still a slew of states yet to vote, including a number in the South. Newt could win some of those, leading to more embarrassing headlines about Romney’s inability to “lock things up.” And if Newt decides to go on the offensive again, and really start slashing and burning again, it could drive up Romney’s negatives even higher than they’ve already been driven.
In short, it’s good for Romney that Newt appears (for now) to have effectively ceased active campaigning. But it’s got to worrisome that he’s still around, and could “re-activate” at any moment.