Is the end nigh for Rick Santorum?

Updated

With Mitt Romney’s sweep of Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington D.C. last night, is the end getting near for Rick Santorum?

Santorum now seems to be betting everything on a strong showing in his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24. But appearing on Morning Joe, NBC’s Chuck Todd said the former senator is likely to be getting some awkward phone calls over the next few days.

“I wonder what the next 72 hours are going to be like in Rick Santorum’s life,” said Todd.  “I wonder how many people he’s going to hear from that are going to say: ‘You know, Rick, do you wanna risk losing your home state? That would be an embarrassing way to go out.’”

A home loss looks like a real possibility. By and large, Romney has performed well in large states with significant urban and suburban populations. And it’s worth remembering that in 2006, Santorum lost his Senate re-election race by 17 points to Democrat Bob Casey – so he’s not exactly a favorite son of the Keystone State.

Still, in his appearance last night, Santorum offered no hint that he’s thinking of folding his tent. “We have now reached the point where it’s halftime,” he told supporters. “Half the delegates in this process have been selected. And who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?”

TIME’s Mark Halperin said what he’s hearing from the Santorum camp jibes with that. “He doesn’t think he’s going to lose Pennsylvania.”

Is the end nigh for Rick Santorum?

Updated