Republicans Coalesce Around Romney

Despite the horse-race media coverage before tomorrow's Super Tuesday elections, Mitt Romney remains the odds-on favorite to take the GOP nomination. He has nearly double his leading opponent's delegates, dwarfs Rick Santorum's meager cash stockpile, and has a campaign organization that will go unmatched this late in the race.

In case that's not evidence enough, Republican elites continue to flock to Romney's side. And it's not just the establishment GOP of old (think Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush). Leaders from the far right of Republican politics are also lending Romney their support. Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senator Tom Coburn both endorsed Romney. If Santorum were truly a threat to Romney's bid, a few arch conservative elected officials would be out stumping for the former Pennsylvania senator. Yet his former colleagues are entirely absent from his campaign. Romney has secured the support of 80 sitting members of Congress, according to a count from The Hill. Santorum has gained the endorsement from just three members of the House—all hailing from his old home state. Even the hapless Rick Perry campaign managed to pick up 13 congressional endorsements before the Texas governor ended his bid in January.

The continued stream of elected Republicans siding with Romney is a sign that the party has noticed the costs of an extended primary. Their likely candidate has seen his favorability numbers nosedive; he is now disliked by nearly half the electorate. The party is rallying around Romney in the hope that the nomination wraps up sooner rather than later, putting an end to the skirmishes that have dimmed the likelihood of retaking the White House in the fall.

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