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Unstoppable Romney?

"Unstoppable Romney?" Continued...

When it comes to being competitive with Romney, Santorum supporter Bobby Scott thinks that his appeal to evangelicals will help: "If his message clicks with people, I think that's going to make the difference." But Santorum's critics charge that he voted for big government spending during his time as a senator, and they question whether his economic plans will bring about needed changes. The candidate counters that if his plans are more modest than the plans of his opponents, they are also more doable.

Whether evangelical leaders will click with one candidate isn't clear. And it isn't clear whether such an endorsement would persuade large numbers of voters. A last minute push among evangelicals in Iowa may have helped Santorum nearly win that state, but since the endorsements came from local leaders, it's difficult to know if support from national leaders would have the same effect.

One aspect is certain: Romney's competitors must find a way to distinguish themselves from each other in order to win, especially if Ron Paul picks up more support after his second-place finish in New Hampshire. A Romney win in South Carolina could pave the way for a Florida primary victory on Jan. 31, but a loss could pave the way for a very different primary season, says Clemson political scientist David Woodard: "Holy cow, we'd have a race on our hands."

-with reporting by Joel Hannahs and Edward Lee Pitts

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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