Santorum’s Midwestern caucus hat trick has energized his campaign and brought in new supporters and money. Now his campaign will try to ride the momentum to remove Newt from the picture and make it a Romney-Santorum race.

Rick Santorum has an Internet problem, and no, it’s not that problem. After his big wins Tuesday night, Santorum’s campaign website has been overwhelmed by traffic, and according to top campaign strategist John Brabender, it’s had trouble processing the sheer number of donations. He said, “So many people were going to contribute that we quickly blew up the server,” and that traffic was much higher than it had been even after the former Pennsylvania senator’s narrow win in Iowa. In fact, for the first time, the campaign’s biggest problem was “keeping everyone happy” who wanted Santorum to appear on their television program. Santorum had made it. He had won more states than any other candidate and was finally getting headlines. It still doesn’t make him the frontrunner or even level with Mitt Romney, but it does change the dynamics of the campaign.

The goal of Santorum’s campaign had long been to knock Newt Gingrich out of the picture and make the race a two-man battle between Santorum and Romney. Between his wins on Tuesday and Gingrich’s implosion since his win in South Carolina, Santorum has made significant progress toward achieving that goal. Gingrich has been hurt by a combination of poor debate performances and the emergence of many longtime critics from the woodwork, the most vociferous of whom, former congressman Bob Dornan, described him to The Daily Beast as a “lying, betraying … creep of a human being … worst person I served with in either party.” While Dornan’s language may be rather extreme, it does give a good sense of the strong emotions Gingrich inspired among his Republican colleagues while serving in Congress.

Tuesday’s results, however, are by no means fatal to Gingrich. The former House speaker did not even appear on the ballot in the Missouri “beauty contest,” and did not seriously contest Minnesota or Colorado. Further, many of the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries will be in the South, which has been Gingrich’s strongest region, including his home state of Georgia. He also may benefit once the GOP debates resume. There haven’t been any debates in nearly two weeks, and, with the glaring exception of the two immediately prior to Florida, Gingrich has invariably performed well in his debate appearances.

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