In advance of Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney was widely expected to solidify his standing as the front-runner by the time it was all over. But in this truly unpredictable primary season, that's not quite what happened. Check out the results in all 10 states here, but here's a closer look at the results from two of the night's most-watched races.
Ohio: Mitt Romney
Maybe President Obama's tongue-in-cheek wish for good luck at his Tuesday press conference actually delivered for Romney. Sure, he barely eked out a victory in this classic blue-collar state, surpassing Rick Santorum by the slimmest of margins, but … at least he won?
That's pretty much the most optimistic thing to say, considering that his campaign outspent Santorum at a rate of roughly five to one (and the pro-Romney super PAC alone spent nearly $3 million alone in attack ads). The narrow victory shows that many Republican voters are still uneasy about Romney — and that he's not necessarily positioned, after all, to wrap up the nomination any time soon.
Georgia: Newt Gingrich
As even he admitted, had Gingrich lost in his home state, it would have been hard to justify staying in the race. Luckily for the former House Speaker, he won Georgia in a decisive victory. But as he celebrates his second primary win, many experts are doubtful that he has much else to look forward to. Most of the "conservative alternative" vote is in Santorum's camp these days, after all.
Yet Gingrich is confident that he has a strong chance of becoming the nominee. According to him, his poor showing before the Georgia primary was simply because the elites feared his potential. "The national elite, especially in the Republican party, had decided that a Gingrich presidency was so frightening that they had to kill it early," he told a crowd of supporters on Tuesday evening. "But you wouldn't let them do it!"
Despite Romney's lackluster Super Tuesday showing, you can't help but notice that the split vote between Gingrich and Santorum is actually helping him. As long as both stay in the race, Romney can continue to sail along in the overcrowded field.
With Gingrich's comeback in Georgia, however, and Santorum racking up several states, both are convinced that they are the best candidate to take on Romney solo. This issue, combined with more and more Republican leaders rallying around Romney (both House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Tom Coburn endorsed him this week), only strengthens his campaign.
What's your takeaway from the Super Tuesday results? Should either Gingrich or Santorum drop out?
Cynthia Gordy is The Root's Washington reporter.