Mitt Romney is racking up some key endorsements today, including one from House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. But the biggest indicator that the conservative movement is starting to coalesce behind Romney is today’s endorsement from the head of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas.
Cardenas, the figurehead behind the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), gently tells the other candidates he thinks it’s time for them to step aside. From his Daily Caller op-ed:
As of today, it is clear neither Senator Santorum nor Speaker Gingrich nor Congressman Paul can amass the majority of delegates required to be the Republican nominee. Their only paths to victory feature a contested, anarchic floor fight just weeks before Americans vote on whether or not to give President Obama a second term.
With all due respect to my fellow conservative leaders determined to oppose Governor Romney, that is not a worthy endeavor. For the sake of our Republic, I’m not willing to wait until the Republican National Convention to sort this out. It’s time to unite behind a worthy presidential candidate, build our organization and raise the resources necessary to defeat the liberal electoral machine. …
Governor Romney is an honorable, worthy, competent, conservative candidate for our next commander-in-chief. I’m proud to support his campaign for president.
I’m calling on my fellow conservatives, for goals both lofty and pragmatic, to join me in supporting the only candidate that can ensure President Obama’s legacy is limited to just four years of fiscal irresponsibility and disregard for our Constitution, and not eight.
This is the general conclusion many analysts have been coming to the past few weeks. But Santorum’s campaign has been arguing that his big win in Louisiana during the weekend is a sign Romney isn’t inevitable. The fact that Cardenas published this column right on the heels of Santorum’s victory is a pretty direct repudiation of that argument.
Despite the outcome in Louisiana, the next month looks pretty grim for Santorum. He’s projected to lose in Wisconsin and the handful of other April primaries, and it’s not necessarily a given that he’ll win in his home state of Pennsylvania. It may not be long before he exits the race, though he could be the first candidate to do so. It wouldn’t be a major surprise if Newt Gingrich keeps up his novelty campaign until the convention, and Ron Paul still seems content to play out his own unique delegate strategy.