Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum captured three states with a campaign strategy that paid off. After the Florida primary, his campaign made a move to basically skip Nevada and focus on Colorado, Minnesota & Missouri. This positioned Rick to have more of a ground game and voter connection time than the other three candidates. This strategy was very effective especially with Santorum's ability to rally conservative and independent voters.
Clearly, Rick Santorum's ability to swing Colorado from a +15% Romney lead to a winning margin of 5% was the real shocker. Romney had a prior 15% lead in polling as recent as 3 days. Santorum won Colorado with 40.2% of the vote. Followed by Romney 34.9%, Gingrich 12.8% and Paul with 11.8%.
Santorum's success in Minnesota had teeth, too. Rick won Minnesota with 44.8% of the vote. A 17% margin of victory. The next closest was Ron Paul at 27.2%. Mitt and Newt were distant third and fourth.
Missouri's primary was non-binding. Meaning no delegates were assigned. However, this was the largest margin of popular victory for Rick Santorum. He won by a margin of 30% over Mitt Romney. Santorum earned a total of 55% of Missouri GOP voters. Ron Paul was a distant third. Newt Gingrich failed to submit enough petitions to make the ballot.
Now that Rick Santorum reshuffled the political deck, what next? First, this will be a short term game changer. This further legitimizes the Santorum candidacy. Santorum will receive much needed cash from donors and GOP high dollar bundlers. Secondly, a wrench has been tossed into the Romney machine. Romney will now have to commit resources and funds to counter Santorum's surge before the major delegate day of Super Tuesday. Lastly, skepticism is driving down the potency of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich just weeks ago was the contender, now he is running neck and neck with last place Ron Paul.
The next primaries are on February 28th in Arizona and Michigan. Romney currently leads in advance polling with a margin of 15-20%+.