7:01 PM PT: Before tonight, the delegate picture looked like this:
As you can see, Romney needed to win over 47 percent of the remaining delegates to lock up the nomination before the convention. Today's results will set him back. It's still tough to see how Santorum wins the necessary delegates, but it's clear that he and Gingrich can continue to deny Romney his nomination, and could do so at least until June (when the last states vote), if not beyond.
7:01 PM PT (David Nir): In MS-01 (R), Rep. Alan Nunnelee certainly looks like the winner, but his 57-30 margin (with 60% reporting) certainly is weak. His chief opponent, Henry Ross, is the former mayor of a town of 2,000 people who spent very little on this race, mostly saving his pennies for a last-minute ad buy. Nunnelee is fortunate that he likely won't have to deal with a runoff here.
7:02 PM PT (Steve Singiser): For those just checking in, welcome to
the Alabama and Mississippi primaries Mitt Romney's worst nightmare. Rick Santorum has already been called the winner of the Alabama primary, and holds a pretty clear lead (35 percent) over Newt Gingrich (30 percent) and Mitt Romney (28 percent). Meanwhile, in Mississippi, there has been no call yet. But with nearly 60 percent of the vote tallied, the running order is the same: Santorum—Gingrich—Romney (33-32-30). Meanwhile, at the Congressional level, all of the incumbents are holding serve, with only Alan Nunnelee (MS-01) in danger of being forced into a runoff.
7:04 PM PT (David Nir): AL-05 (R) has been called for Rep. Mo Brooks, who leads turncoat former Dem Rep. Parker Griffith 71-29 with 31% reporting.
7:05 PM PT (David Nir): The AP has called MS-01 (R) for Rep. Alan Nunelee.
7:05 PM PT (David Jarman): To understand what went wrong for Mitt Romney in Alabama, you only need to look at one county: Shelby. That's the one just south of Jefferson County, where Birmingham is, and it contains a mix of affluent suburbs and brand-new exurbs. This should have been Romney's strongest county in the state, given its money (and given that similar counties are where Romney has performed strongest in previous states), but it looks like there's enough of an evangelical stronghold here that Rick Santorum is winding up winning it with 36, with 32 for Gingrich and only 23 for Mitt.
7:10 PM PT: Earlier today, Mitt Romney, the frontrunner scoring third-place finishes in two big states tonight, said that Santorum was "at the desperate end of his campaign.
7:12 PM PT (David Nir): Both GOP Reps. Spencer Bachus (AL-06) and Jo Bonner (AL-01) are in "no runoff" territory, though neither is doing super-great: Bachus is at 57% and Bonner at 63%.
7:17 PM PT (David Nir): CNN also calls Alabama for Santorum.