There have been 8 primaries and caucuses:
Romney definitely underperformed in MN yesterday (third) compared to a 2008 victory. Overall, there is little Mitt can point to yesterday that indictes victory, momentum, or that he is consolidating his support among conservatives. The three states yesterday featured the hardcore conservative base and they are still not with him.
Yet Romney can point to a different fact–no delegates awarded yesterday. Romney still leads in this category.
Going forward there will be several questions:
1) Can Santorum transform yesterday’s results into money and political donations?
2) Can Santorum transform yesterday into real delegates?
3) Is Santorum the leader?
4) Can Romney close the deal with conservatives?
5) Where is Gingrich and is he now the third candidate?
6) Can Gingrich survive February and make it to super Tuesday?
My sense is that these four candidates remain in the race at least through March. No one is exiting soon. If when delegates are again rewarded we see all of these candidates winning in the double-digits, it will be impossible for any of them to enter the convention with a majority. It may be too soon to discuss brokered convention but that is still a possibility and getting more real everyday.
No I do not think there is another candidate about to emerge. Money, organization, and time are against that. However, do look for a long campaign with no quick resolution in sight.