Mitt Romney's primary sweep

Mitt Romney solidified his position as the Republican nominee by winning all five primaries held on Tuesday night: Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New York.  Only Delaware, with 17 electoral votes, was a “winner take all” state, so the other 192 delegates on the line in the evening’s contests will be awarded proportionally.  Romney should get well over a hundred of them plus Delaware’s jackpot, which will be enough to push his committed total over 800.

There was some hope on the part of the Gingrich campaign that a last stand might be mounted in Delaware.  As campaign manager R.C. Hammond put it in an email, “A win in Delaware builds financial and grassroots momentum going into North Carolina,” while even a “razor thin” Romney win would leave Gingrich with some hope of forming a “conservative coalition.”

It wasn’t close at all.  Mitt Romney took Delaware with 57 percent of the vote, leaving Gingrich far behind with 27 percent. 

Romney swept the other four states holding primaries Tuesday night as well.  In Pennsylvania, Gingrich finished dead last, behind both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum – who has already suspended his campaign.  Romney took the state with 56 percent of the vote.

Paul finished ahead of Gingrich in Rhode Island and Connecticut as well, with Romney winning 63 and 67 percent majorities, respectively.  And while New York was still counting votes after the other races were called, Romney looked on track to win better than 55 percent of the vote there as well.

This should put the finishing touches on the Republican primary, as all hope of denying Romney the necessary 1,144 delegates evaporates.  Gingrich’s camp insisted he would not formally drop out of the race Tuesday night, no matter what transpired, but a promised “reassessment with supporters” will surely follow.

Mitt Romney delivered his victory speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he formally launched his presidential campaign.  

“Americans have always been eternal optimists,” Romney told the crowd.  “But over the last three and a half years, we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership. Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.”

He continued in this vein, turning President Obama’s themes of “fairness,” and tendency to personalize issues with anecdotes, against him: “For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for grandparents who can’t afford the gas to visit their grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer.  A better America begins tonight.