Last night was a big night for Rick Santorum, as he secured primary victories in two southern states,  Alabama and Mississippi. His double win proved not only that he is still a serious candidate but that Newt Gingrich’s Southern strategy is simply not going to work, leaving Santorun the more viable non-Romney choice.

While Gingrich claims he will keep running, it is hard to see how voters will continue to see him as a real contender. Gingrich has only won South Carolina and his home state of Georgia. If Gingrich can’t win in Mississippi, a state that is almost custom made for Gingrich, it is almost impossible to see where else he could possibly win. As the race has gone on, his poll numbers have dropped nationally and his unfavorable rating has reached incredible heights. Even if Gingrich stays in, Santorum has the chance to use his two wins last night to make the case that he is the only viable anti-Romney candidate left in the race.

Mitt Romney managed to pull off big victories in the Hawaii caucus and in American Samoa, though turnout was low. The Mormon factor continued to deliver for the Romney campaign. Hawaii is the latest state with a large LDS population to go for Romney, and those states are giving him a large number of delegates. As a result Romney should technically net more delegates from yesterday than Santorum did, but it was still a disappointing evening for Romney.

The two contest in the South couldn’t have gone much worse for the Romney campaign. If Romney had won both of the Southern states he might have wrapped up the nomination rather quickly.  Instead he came in third in both states.

Last night again showed that Romney has serious trouble winning over a large share of the GOP base. Even worse for the Romney campaign, the poor showing by Gingrich makes it less likely he and Santorum will evenly split the anti-Romney vote. The divided vote has helped Romney win several small plurality victories and keep the delegate split in the South relatively even, while Romney racked up big numbers in the West and North East.

Santorum’s wins last night effectively assure that this primary fight will go on for at least several more months. Given how damaging the primary has been to Romney’s favorability ratings with the general public, that should be very concerning to his campaign.