Gingrich refuses to step aside despite Santorum victories

 

Newt Gingrich was yesterday resisting growing demands to drop out of the Republican presidential race and allow his surging fellow conservative Rick Santorum an unimpeded shot at wresting the nomination from the faltering frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

Mr Santorum's victories in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday were narrow, the result of a virtual three-way vote split between the three major candidates. But they came in Mr Gingrich's home region of the South, prompting questions of why the latter should persist in a futile venture after failing to win even in his political backyard.

For the moment at least, the former Speaker remains defiant. "What pressure is there going to be?" Mr Gingrich declared to supporters, even as his pair of second-place finishes became clear on Tuesday night. "That the Romney people want me to get out? That the Washington establishment wants me to get out?"

In reality, it is Rick Santorum who most wants him out.

As many analysts point out, the biggest beneficiary of Mr Gingrich's refusal to withdraw is Mr Romney himself, who finished third in Alabama and Mississippi. As Mr Gingrich noted in his typically truculent speech, almost 70 per cent of voters on Tuesday opposed Mr Romney, underlining the continuing distrust the Republican conservative base harbours towards the former Massachusetts Governor. Across the country, the combined Santorum/Gingrich vote has exceeded Mr Romney's in almost every recent contest. At the very least, Mr Santorum's latest successes guarantee that the bruising contest will continue for weeks, perhaps until the nominating convention in Tampa in late August.

The next date on the calendar is Saturday's delegate-choosing caucuses in Missouri, where Mr Santorum easily won the non-binding primaries last month. Sunday sees Puerto Rico's primary, where the former Pennsylvania Senator could also spring a surprise. But most eyes will be on Tuesday's primary in the big Midwestern state of Illinois, where a Romney defeat could upend every calculation.

"Unless something happens to change the dynamic for Romney very quickly, he is going to start to sink faster than he did with his run four years ago," said Ed Rollins, a former White House adviser and manager of Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign. "It's now clear, it's a fight all the way."

But thanks to the proportional allocation of convention delegates in many states, Mr Romney's predicament may be less dire.

The narrowness of Mr Santorum's victories in Alabama and Mississippi (with pluralities of 35 and 33 per cent respectively) meant that he split convention delegates more or less evenly with his opponents.

Primaries: In numbers

80% of Republican voters in Mississippi are evangelical Christians

52% of Republican respondents in Alabama think Barack Obama is a Muslim

34.5% of the Republican vote was won by Rick Santorum in Alabama. Newt Gingrich took 29.3 per cent

Suggested Topics
Sport
formula oneLive lap-by-lap coverage of championship decider
News
Lily Allen performs on stage at Splendour In the Grass 2014 on 27 July, 2014, in Byron Bay, Australia
people
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Sport
Manny Pacquiao lands a blow on Chris Algieri
Pacquiao retains WBO welterweight title – and says he wants Mayweather next
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
News
i100
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin