Eventually, some candidates saw their exit approaching, and decided to get off the campaign trail. That may have narrowed the field, but the upheaval still continues.
Finally, we entered into the actual voting. Three candidates have won states - Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich. For the most part, the race is down to Santorum and Romney, with Gingrich playing spoiler for Santorum.
Tomorrow, Oklahoma and nine other "Super Tuesday" states will be voting. Many of you have doubtless received numerous robocalls in the past 48 hours from the various campaigns (I have received nearly a dozen), and hundreds of volunteers are waving signs or making get-out-the-vote calls for their chosen candidate across the state. Most of that will end in Oklahoma tomorrow evening, once the polls close, and the campaigns will shift their resources to other states.
In 2008, I was a strong Huckabee supporter from the very beginning. When he announced that he would not run for President, I was left without a candidate. I truly became an undecided voter, for probably the first time since I registered to vote. I bounced between Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Perry (mainly Bachmann, though).
... they all dropped out.
There are four candidates on the ballot tomorrow that are still running. The time has come to decide who to vote for.
I pick Rick Santorum.
Of the candidates left, Santorum is the one who has been a genuine, consistent, and across-the-board conservative, and carries little-to-no baggage. He is a well-rounded conservative on the issues that matter - social, fiscal, and national security.
I agree with Ron Paul on most of his fiscal policy, but I cannot reconcile my beliefs to his libertarian views on social issues and on foreign policy. Additionally, he tends to attract the worst crowd (granted, a minority, but very vocal and public), such as 9/11 Truthers, anarchists, anti-Israel and pro-drugs activists, etcetera, and he chooses campaign leaders like Al Gerhart (see the McCarville Report for all the latest on that debacle). He also endorsed radical socialist leftists Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader for president in 2008 (along with two other third-party candidates).
I cannot support Newt Gingrich, because of his past and current actions, statements and policy views. Gingrich has tremendous baggage that would be exploited in a general election, and I can't trust him to be a reliable conservative. He is the last person in this primary that I would vote for.
I cannot support Mitt Romney, largely (though not exclusively) due to RomneyCare. The issue of this election will be ObamaCare, and Romney cannot draw a clear enough distinction between himself and Obama on this point. Unlike Gingrich, Romney's personal life has been admirable. Like Gingrich, Romney has had liberal tendencies in healthcare, global warming, abortion, gun rights, and other issues.
Only three candidates have any degree of a shot at the nomination; Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. Romney and Gingrich present, as Ronald Reagan said best, 'pale pastels', while Santorum offers 'bold colors'.
Fellow blogger Michael Bates has a fantastic post that goes into more detail about Santorum, and why you should support him in tomorrow's presidential primary. He also has a good synopsis of the Santorum rally in Tulsa that took place last night, which I also attended.
I have many friends who will be voting for other candidates, and I hold no ill will toward them for their choice. All of these candidates are better than President Obama. However, for me, the choice in this primary is clear. I pick Rick.