Southern Man: Santorum Wins Alabama & Mississippi

No one predicted a southern sweep for Rick Santorum, but he took both Alabama and Mississippi last night, denying Mitt Romney the legitimacy of a southern state win and undermining the notion of Mitt's inevitability.

Both of the wins were narrow: just a few points separated Santorum from rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in both states. The larger lesson of the night was that this long-running primary — far from leading the party to unite behind a favorite — has left Republicans divided stubbornly into thirds.

Romney aid Eric Fehrnstrom said that the math of GOP delegate counts remains daunting for Santorum: he was more than 200 behind Romney before Tuesday, and the split results in Mississippi and Alabama would give him little chance to keep up. If anyone can show a gameplan for Santorum to reach 1144 delegates, “I’m all ears,” Fehrnstrom said.