Mitt Romney's march to the GOP nomination became even more likely last night after he thumped everybody else in the New Hampshire primary. Now the guesswork turns to South Carolina with the campaign press cadre picking up their bags and hopping on the next flights to Charleston and Columbia. But the bigger prize comes later in the month when Florida's 50 delegates are doled out.
Mitt Romney already holds a commanding double-digit polling lead in the Sunshine State. That head-start matters more than in other states thanks to the prevalence of absentee and early voting in the primary. And now Romney's allies are chipping in to ensure that the month ends on a good note for the former Massachusetts governor. The Washington Post reports that Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Romney's bid, has committed $3.6 million to a Florida ad buy while his opponents keep all their attention trained on South Carolina.
It would make no difference if Santorum or Gingrich overcame their current standings in the polls, and either managed to win the Palmetto State; Romney is on the path to locking up his support before his opponents can even hope to build any kind of organization in the largest state voting in this first month of the nomination. Winning three of the first four states would largely clear the field for Romney's coronation.