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Stakes Increasing For Republican Presidential Candidates

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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If you thought Ohio’s Republican Presidential primary last Tuesday was exciting, then you might enjoy watching today’s contest in two Southern states:  Alabama and Mississippi.

The most recent polls released Monday by Public Policy Polling show the two states will likely be nail-biters for the candidates.

In Alabama, two points separate three candidates.

Mitt Romney leads Newt Gingrich 31-30, and Rick Santorum is right behind with 29.

Anything can happen there.

In Mississippi, Gingrich leads Romney by two — 33 to 31, with Santorum at 27.

Ron Paul trails far behind in both states.

The stakes are increasing as each state passes.

Many analysts believe Newt Gingrich must win Alabama and Mississippi if he wants to show his candidacy is still viable.

If he doesn’t do well, analysts believe it will be impossible for him to stay in the race.

Santorum is downplaying his chances in both states saying he doesn’t need to win.

But they are states that have many evangelicals where Santorum has much of a base.

If Romney wins both states, it would be a huge victory for him.

He could tell voters that he’s won in every region in the country.

If that happens, it could not only give him the momentum he needs, but put him on a more sure-footed path to the nomination.

The Texas primary May 29th is still in play, but Romney could very well seal the deal with voters here in the Lone Star State if he does well in other states.

Many Republicans believe Romney will become their nominee, even though they haven’t voted that way so far.

But if Romney starts winning more states, especially those where he’s not “supposed” to do well, it may be enough to get Republicans and Conservatives to rally around him once and for all.

But if there’s one thing people have learned this election season, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Click here for more of Jack’s political coverage.

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