by Chris Bodenner
Santorum secures the hat trick:
[Colorado] was the real shocker. Even as recent polls had showed Santorum gaining in Minnesota, Romney had retained a big lead in the mountain state. When the actual voting began, though, Santorum defeated him heavily in rural counties rich with evangelical voters. The pivotal result came from the Colorado Springs area, where the conservative group Focus on the Family is based. After running neck-and-neck with Romney all night, Santorum ended up defeating him by more than five points. (Santorum 40.2 per cent; Romney 34.9 per cent; Gingrich 12.8 per cent; Paul 11.8 percent.)
Mitt Romney took [Colorado] with 60 percent of the vote in 2008 — two days before ending his presidential bid. He chose to hold his results-watching rally in Denver, a sign of confidence, but he wound up delivering his remarks to the crowd long before most of the results rolled in. While none of the state’s 36 delegates are actually assigned as a result of tonight’s caucuses, some level of voter preference generally carries over to the district and state conventions, where delegates are selected.
Regardless of the delegate count, last night gave Rick real traction:
[T]o Romney's chagrin, Santorum's largely symbolic victories Tuesday will bring him grassroots enthusiasm and money. And Santorum already has at least one wealthy benefactor willing to give big money to a super PAC supporting him. As Santorum spoke, billionaire investor and businessman Foster Friess stood behind him, reminding those who noticed of the $331,000 he gave the Red, White and Blue Fund even before Santorum narrowly beat Romney in Iowa on Jan. 3. Santorum's big wins also injects real importance and potential for great political theater at a large gathering of conservative activists [CPAC] in Washington on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
More on Mitt's crappy night here.