Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-6:30pm ET on CNN.
By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
Dubuque, Iowa (CNN) – So how many tickets will there be out of the Iowa caucuses?
I know the three front-runners – Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul – are all set for New Hampshire.
Jon Huntsman has basically ignored Iowa and is focusing all his attention on New Hampshire. So he will certainly be there.
What about the other three main candidates – Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum?
Santorum has spent most of his time in Iowa. He’s the first candidate to have visited all 99 counties. He needs to show something for all that work.
Bachmann was born in Iowa and represents a congressional district in neighboring Minnesota. She won the Iowa Straw Poll back in August. She, too, needs to show something positive next Tuesday.
Perry has spent a ton of money in this state. If you watch TV here in Iowa – as I have – you see his positive and negative ads. He needs to surprise voters next week.
I am sure each of them would be very disappointed at a fourth-, fifth- or sixth-place finish. If that happens, will they throw in the towel and call it a race, or will they continue toward the other early states?
Based on all the current polls, none of these three candidates is likely to impress in New Hampshire, where Romney is very strong.
They certainly could look beyond New Hampshire to South Carolina and Florida, but that would take strong organizations and lots of money.
Right now, only Perry seems to have the money.
Their organizations are lacking as well. Like Gingrich, these second-tier candidates failed to get on the ballot in Virginia for the GOP primary.
Bottom line: We probably should be ready for a dropout speech - or two - or maybe even three - next week. And that would certainly shake things up.
Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN
WATCH "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" today from 4-6 p.m. ET for Wolf Blitzer's interview with former Speaker Newt Gingrich in Iowa. Tune in tomorrow 4-6 p.m. ET for Wolf's interview with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
RELATED POST: Candidates flood the zone as caucuses close in