The final few days before the South Carolina primary have become all about Newt Gingrich's apparent last minute surge and Mitt Romney's inability to grapple with questions regarding his personal wealth. If momentum carries through, Gingrich should probably finish ahead of Romney in tomorrow's primary.
But Romney will remain the clear frontrunner for the overall nomination. Don't believe us in the pundit class? Just look at where Republican elites are headed. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell shows up on almost every shortlist of potential vice presidential candidates and, as Jamelle pointed out earlier, he endorsed Romney this afternoon. Almost every rising star of the Republican Party has attached themselves to Romney's campaign. Just glance at the list of nine possible VPs The New Republic gathered from talking to Republican insiders. Five had endorsed Romney while the others (save Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval) have decided to sit out the endorsement game. John Thune and Rob Portman aren't just looking at which Republican candidate aligns with their ideological interests. They're also weighing their political future. It's not just the vice presidential slot; they hope to curry favor with the eventual nominee to hopefully land on a spot in the cabinet.
Rick Perry's support for Newt Gingrich stands as the only major endorsement for a non-Romney candidate and, given his stumbles through the presidential campaign, he took himself out of the running for any plum position should a Republican gain the White House next year. Unless one of the GOP up-and-comers lend their support to Gingrich or Santorum, there's no hiccup to Romney's path to the general election.
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