Mississippi and Alabama hold their presidential primaries today, affording Mitt Romney to put this race away for no less than the third time this year.
Few thought Romney would be competitive in the Deep South, but in a three-way-tie with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (who are splitting the conservative vote) there is a clear path to victory in both states. Romney has vastly outspent his rivals, and has chalked up endorsements from the political elite in both states. He's also set expectations high, declaring yesterday in Alabama, "We're going to win tomorrow!"
Wins in states his opponents should carry are precisely the type of surprise Romney needs to demonstrate his renewed inevitability to voters across the country. Front-runners don't talk about their delegate lead — they win and pick up delegates. If Romney can win the Deep South, he can win anywhere — and likely will.
Indeed, the only bad scenario for Romney today is if Rick Santorum wins both states effectively knocking Newt Gingrich out of the race and elevating him to the status of sole conservative alternative to Romney.