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Will Santorum's recent surge carry him to nomination?

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Feb 09 2012 05:18:54 AM CST

Santorum's surge

READING, Pa. -

A Santorum surge has given the former Pennsylvania Senator more wins than any other candidate.  Rick Santorum won in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado Tuesday night.

Mitt Romney still leads in the delegate count, but many are questioning whether Santorum's big night puts a few chinks in Romney's armor.

Santorum doesn't have the money or the party backing like Romney, but his hat trick shows this race will take some time.

"Well, we found out last night that it ain't over," said political expert Tim Blessing.

Alvernia University political science professor and presidential scholar Tim Blessing said Santorum's showing Tuesday night was surprising.

"I woke up this morning and went--what?" said Blessing.

He said polls showed Santorum was doing well in Minnesota and Missouri, but Colorado was the shocker.

"I didn't see Colorado coming," said Blessing, "Colorado has a very heavy population of Mormons. Colorado is very urban or yuppie urban you might say, certainly the people Romney has appealed to in past. So I didn't see Colorado coming at all."

So what can Santorum do with his surge?  Blessing said raise more money.  Santorum said overnight he raised a quarter million dollars online.  But what else does his surge mean?

"Fully two thirds of the Republican party would vote for almost anybody besides Romney," said Blessing, "That's what it really means."

The Maine caucus wraps up this weekend, and Ron Paul is expected to do well.  Arizona and Michigan are the next big primaries on February 28th before super Tuesday on March 6th when voters in 10 states will vote.

Blessing said he doesn't think any of the four remaining candidates will drop out.  But he said based on his calculations Romney can still win GOP's nomination.

"If he can make it to 32 or 33 percent of the popular vote, he'll win," said Blessing, "But if he doesn't do that then you're probably looking at a brokered convention. The first one in 60 years."

Blessing said that could mean people not in the race right now could come in and take the presidential nomination.

After Santorum's hat trick, Blessing said anything is possible.

"Miracles have happened, haven't they," said Blessing.

Blessing also said the longer the Republican race drags on the more thorough they expose President Obama's problems.