Romney Can't Buy a Break, Literally

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Mitt Romney can't buy a break, literally.

After outspending Rick Santorum 4-to-1 and Newt Gingrich 3-to-1 in Super Tuesday states, Romney mustered six wins, including an important victory in Ohio. But he failed to win any states in the South and lost two of the three largest races.

"We are smiling and optimistic," a Santorum aide wrote in a message . "Very far from over," the aide said in reference to the larger race for the nomination.

Romney's performance on Super Tuesday bolstered his front-runner status, but it won't provide him a break from the campaign trail as Santorum received his largest single-day delegate bump yet and as Gingrich won his second primary in the South.

At this rate, the once-bogus suggestion of a brokered convention appears conceivable.

"There's not going to be a brokered convention where some new person comes in," Romney told CNBC on Wednesday. "It's going to be one of the four people already running."

The magic number of delegates a candidate needs to claim the Republican nomination outright is 1,144. With 1,541 available delegates, Romney has plenty of opportunity to avoid a brokered convention. But the longer his three remaining opponents -- Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul -- stay in the race, the grimmer his prospects grow.

Proportional primaries linger in 15 states, and Romney, according to The Associated Press' tracker, still needs 729 delegates to shore up the nomination.

"If you have all four in the race you probably will wind up with a thing where Romney gets a thousand delegates , Santorum gets 800, Gingrich gets 300, Ron Paul gets a hundred -- something like that," said Jack Burkman, a political strategist who worked on George Bush's 2004 campaign and John McCain's in 2008 , in an interview .

Super Tuesday looked good for Romney because he won wherever he was favored and he picked up the crucial general-election swing state of Ohio. But what Romney really has going for him moving forward is a war chest full of funds and a supporting super PAC that has bankrolled most of the attacks against his surging opponents .

Though Tuesday's victories sustained Romney's momentum, he already must head to Kansas and Wyoming to snatch up a few more delegates on this challenging road to face Barack Obama.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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