If you listen to the Washington punditocracy, Mitt Romney's three-fold victory Tuesday effectively ends the Republican presidential contest, meaning North Carolina's May 8 primary isn't likely to matter as much in the grand scheme.
GOP rival Rick Santorum contends he still has a fighting chance and his campaign is betting the house on the former U.S. senator's home state of Pennsylvania, which votes April 24. If he can win -- and find enough money to keep the beleaguered campaign moving -- political operatives say his next target is certainly North Carolina and its 55 delegates. (Read about his shadow campaign here.)
Romney leads the delegate count with 655 compared to Santorum's 278, according to an Associated Press tally. So even if the race comes to North Carolina, it appears like Romney would control the day.