What Does Romney Do Next?

Not that it really matters, but Rick Santorum's campaign is facing even more trouble than expected. While his fate as the runner-up was sealed weeks ago, that didn't become the prevailing narrative until Mitt Romney's clean sweep on Tuesday night. The presumption after those results was that Santorum would stick around for a few more weeks, hanging on until his home state Pennsylvania votes on the April 24 and then concede given Romney's insurmountable delegate lead.

But new poll numbers from Pennsylvania suggest Santorum should drop out before the next vote. According to Public Policy Polling, Romney leads Santorum 42-37 percent in Pennsylvania. That wouldn't be quite as embarrassing of a loss as the last time Santorum campaigned there (least you forget, Pennsylvanians cast him out of his Senate seat in 2006 by an 18-point margin), but it would still be a setback—one that could hinder Santorum should he try to run again in 2016.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania presents a new opportunity for Romney. He's there today visiting his headquarters and will likely spend a decent bit of time there over the next three weeks. So far, Romney has largely wasted this primary season. Instead of shifting forward to the general election, Romney has been consumed by the primary campaign, pouring funds into character assassinations on TV airwaves and moving on from a state once the contest is over. He's wasted an opportunity to use his time and money to build the groundwork for facing Obama later this fall; after all, many of the early voting states—Iowa, Florida, Nevada, among others—are in that ever desired swing state category. Pennsylvania, while reliably Democratic in recent times, is often grouped in as a swing state, one that Republicans eagerly eye. It'll be interesting to see if Romney shifts his strategy in this next contest and begins to look forward, or if he continues to fritter away his money on destroying a hapless opponent.

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