Three primaries this week will probably result in a solidification of the status quo in the GOP race to the nomination. Our skilled handicappers tout the races this way: Puerto Rico, today, will go for Romney, Louisiana, Saturday, for Santorum, and Illinois, sandwiched between them on Tuesday, will be a draw.
Puerto Rico: 23 delegates are up for grabs in winner take all format, should the winner receive over 50 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney will likely do so, as he is in Full Campaign Mode of "promise them anything and deal with it later." They want statehood, fine promise them statehood. He has done so unequivocally, while Rick Santorum, with quite a petulant tone in his voice, is all peeved that not enough of them have learned English yet. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are non-factors in the race, at this point, though we suspect something interesting will happen in the Paul camp during the August convention. Prediction: All 23 delegates for Mitt Romney.
Illinois: 69 delegates will be awarded proportionally, 3 each per the 18 congressional districts, with the remaining 15 delegates awarded at-large and as party bonuses. The Santorum team failed to get on the ballot in 4 of the districts, giving Romney a guaranteed 12 delegates before the voting begins. Otherwise, Santorum will be competitive even though he is being outspent considerably in the Land of Lincoln. Romney will do well in the urban north; Santorum, the rural south. Ah, Southern Illinois. We remember it well. George Wallace country, as we recall... Prediction: Romney, 34 delegates; Santorum, 23.
Louisiana: 46 delegates, awarded proportionally. This will be the last gasp in the south for Alpha Team Gingrich, and we predict he will receive 10-12 delegates. 20 for Santorum, who will continue to do well in the south, and a dozen or so for Romney.
By the end of next Saturday, then, the overall delegate tally should be something like 69 for Romney and 43 for Santorum. We officially dub Mitt Romney The Accidental Frontrunner, and we think it will stick. When you encounter the moniker online, remember you heard it here first. Unless somebody else has beaten us to it. In which case, we must acknowledge that there really are no original thoughts these days.