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(CNN) - If it does come down to a two-man race for the Republican presidential nomination, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue until the party convention in Tampa at the end of August.
Getting to the major number of 1,144 delegates for either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum before the convention will not be easy, even though the former Massachusetts governor has an impressive lead right now.
Romney has a lot more money than Santorum. He also has a better campaign organization. But Santorum is clearly preferred by many in the party’s conservative base. He seems to be a more effective retail campaigner as well.
I don’t know what Newt Gingrich is going to do in the coming days. He says he’s in the race until Tampa. But I suspect he won’t do very well in Puerto Rico on Sunday or in Illinois on Tuesday. Republican Party bigshots are already suggesting he should see the handwriting on the wall.
Ron Paul is way behind, still searching for his first win. He continues to energize his supporters and draws big crowds. But that has not translated into votes.
All this reminds me of the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton race for the Democratic presidential nomination four years ago. That lasted until mid-June when Clinton conceded. The two of them quickly closed ranks. Despite a lot of bad blood among their supporters, they eventually came around to support the Democratic nominee wholeheartedly. There was no need for a contested Democratic Party convention.
So let’s see how this GOP contest plays out. I am pacing myself for a continued marathon rather than a sprint to the finish line.
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