POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 7:57am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 8:01am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Before Alabama and Mississippi voted, not a single major poll had Rick Santorum in the lead.
Last night he won both states.
Perhaps it's not a big surprise that Santorum pulled off two wins in the conservative south.
After all, these states are packed with evangelical voters - and that's Santorum's crowd.
Rick Santorum won Mississippi with a third of the vote and Alabama with 35%.
Speaking from Louisiana, where he promised another big win next week, Santorum hinted Newt Gingrich should drop out of the race.
"The time is now for conservatives to pull together. The time is now to make sure - to make sure that we have the best chance to win this election," said Rick Santorum, Presidential Candidate.
Gingrich came in second in both states and gave no indication he's quitting.
Instead, he focused on Mitt Romney's failure to win the conservative southern vote.
"If you're the front runner and you keep coming in third, you're not much of a frontrunner . . . The elite media's effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed," said Newt Gingrich, Presidential Candidate.
Romney didn't give a speech last night.
In a statement, he congratulated Santorum and claimed delegates from Mississippi and Alabama put him closer to the nomination.
Romney's focused on Missouri.
Santorum won Missouri's non-binding primary last month.
But Romney says straw polls don't count.
"We didn't participate as a campaign an Iowa straw poll or Florida straw poll, but when the delegates are at stake, that's when we go to work," said Mitt Romney,Presidential Candidate.
Mitt Romney is still leading in terms of delegates.
He's got twice as many as his closest competitor Rick Santorum.