NEW YORK (
) -- Inevitable? Has Mitt Romney finally hit that point as the GOP nominee ahead of Tuesday's primaries?
For starters, the former Massachusetts governor leads an average of major polls in Wisconsin by
percentage points and Maryland by
percentage points, according to
Romney also picked up three key endorsements in the past couple weeks from former President George H.W. Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). Ryan even took a moment to
call Rick Santorum ahead of the announcement as a courtesy.
Super PAC spending also has leaned heavily in Romney's favor as Restore Our Future, which backs the candidate, has spent $2.7 million to oppose Santorum in Wisconsin. The super PAC supporting Santorum, Red White and Blue Fund, has spent $735,093 mostly to oppose Romney.
Maryland tells a similar tale as Restore Our Future has burned $1.3 million to oppose Santorum while Red White and Blue Fund has spent just $15,760 to support its candidate.
Santorum grabbed two somewhat surprising victories in Alabama and Mississippi on March 13, but Romney quickly responded with a huge victory in Illinois and a landslide in Puerto Rico -- which mattered more because Santorum's campaign actually spent time in the U.S. territory to try and pick up a few delegates, instead of focus on the impending Illinois contest.
Santorum won Louisiana by a wide margin on March 24, but Romney holds a strong lead in the delegate count with 568 projected delegates against Santorum's 273, Newt Gingrich's 135 and Ron Paul's 50.
Wisconsin and Maryland both offer modified winner-take-all primaries. In Wisconsin, each of the eight congressional districts assigns its delegates to the candidate with the most votes and allocates a remaining 18 delegates to the candidate with the most statewide votes. Similarly, Maryland assigns delegates in each of its eight congressional districts to the candidate with the most votes and a remaining 10 delegates to the Republican with the most statewide ballots cast.
At stake Tuesday are 98 delegates from three contests (Washington D.C. is the third race with 19 delegates up for grabs), which will be the last primaries until April 24 when five states including Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania hold races.