By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
(CNN) - The next few Republican presidential contests probably won’t bring very much good news for front-runner Mitt Romney.
Rick Santorum is expected to do well in the Kansas caucuses on Saturday. Santorum and Newt Gingrich probably get a lot of votes in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries next Tuesday.
I suppose Romney could find an opening in the GOP caucuses in Hawaii that same day, although Ron Paul’s supporters are working very hard to perhaps make that his first victory in the campaign.
The next major contest where Romney is likely to put in a strong showing in the March 20 primary in Illinois.
That will be followed by several states where Romney also should do well: Maryland and Wisconsin on April 3; Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Rhode Island on April 24.
I assume Santorum will perform well on April 24 in his home state of Pennsylvania, but I wouldn’t rule out Romney’s chances there. Santorum did lose his Senate re-election bid by double digits back in 2006 to Democrat Bob Casey.
All this assumes that this contest will continue for some time. I now suspect it will.
Gingrich needs to do well in Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday; otherwise, the handwriting will be on the wall for him. If he loses in those states, I don’t think he will realistically be able to continue until the May 29 primary in Texas - a state he thinks he potentially can win given Gov. Rick Perry’s endorsement.
I was surprised that Gingrich canceled his planned visit this week to Kansas to focus on the Deep South, apparently emboldened by his wins in South Carolina and Georgia.
Four years ago, the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama fight didn’t end until June. The same could happen on the Republican side this time as well.
Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN
RELATED STORY: GOP spotlight turns to Mississippi, Alabama