There are several possible outcomes once the results of primaries in Mississippi and Alabama start to roll in on Tuesday night. Over at National Review, Robert Costa has a good run down of what to look for.
But in keeping with the somewhat unpredictable nature of the evening, each of the Republican candidates is approaching the usually predictable election night rally a little differently.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who actually has a shot at winning one or both primaries but is especially competitive in Mississippi, is not having a rally at all. That's a first for Romney on a big primary day, and is in keeping with his efforts to set himself up as the underdog in the Southern states. If he wins either state, it seems likely he would make some sort of public statement to TV cameras.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is holding a rally, but not in either of the primary states. He'll be in Lafayette, La. It's something of an odd choice, since Louisiana doesn't hold its primary until March 24. Between now and then, Missouri will hold a caucus on Saturday, March 17, and Illinois will have its primary on Tuesday, March 20.
For Santorum, going to Louisiana is an attempt to project resolve and staying power in the race. But it's not where he should be, or no doubt would like to be. He'd much prefer to be in Mississippi or Alabama, claiming a win. But polls have indicated that he is likely to lose both states. This is a serious blow to his chances of becoming the candidate that conservatives who don't want Romney unite behind.
Romney, by the way, is campaigning in Missouri on Tuesday.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will be in Birmingham, Ala. Gingrich badly needs to win one of the two primaries, though if he beats Santorum and comes in second to Romney he will have a rebuttal to the idea that he should get out of the race. Gingrich apparently thinks he has a better shot of winning in Alabama than in Mississippi.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), like Romney, does not have any rally planned. That's because he is hoping for his best result in a totally separate contest -- the caucuses in Hawaii that are also taking place Tuesday.
"Our focus today is Hawaii and the returns will come in so late," Jesse Benton, Paul's national campaign chairman, told The Huffington Post.
Paul will campaign in Illinois on Wednesday and in Missouri on Thursday.
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