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What would it take for Gingrich, Santorum, or Paul to beat Romney?

Mitt Romney won big in Nevada's caucuses Saturday, bolstering what supporters say is his standing as 'most electable.' But it's months before the GOP nominating convention, and Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum aren't giving up the fight.

By Staff writer / February 5, 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks at a news conference after the Nevada caucus in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 4, 2012.

Steve Marcus/Reuters

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Clichés abound at this early point in any presidential race. “Never say never.” “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

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And in the cold light of a Nevada desert morning, those seem apt even though Mitt Romney won that state’s nominating caucuses by a wide margin – his second big victory in a row following Florida just four days earlier – leaving his main rival Newt Gingrich to figure out a plausible comeback path.

Come convention time next August in Tampa, Fla., it’ll take 1,144 delegates to win the nomination. So far, Romney has 97 – just 8.5 percent of total. Still, other numbers gathered at the Huffington Post’s “Election Dashboard” web site, indicate strong standing and momentum for the former Massachusetts governor.

He’s won 94 endorsements from Republican governors, senators, and members of congress as well as "automatic delegates" – national committee members and state party chairmen. Gingrich has just 11. (Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have 3 each.)

Romney’s campaign has raised $57 million. Gingrich’s has raised $12.7 million – which is more than Santorum ($2.2 million), but less than Paul ($26 million). Gingrich’s independent super PAC may have outspent Romney’s by roughly three-to-one ($22 million to $7 million). But Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands hotel and casino, whose extended family has given $11 million to Gingrich’s super PAC, has quietly given the Romney camp assurances that he’d be backing the former Massachusetts governor if he wins the nomination.

Gingrich has more Twitter followers than Romney. But at this point, the Intrade prediction market gives the former House Speaker only a 4 percent chance of winning the nomination, compared to 87 percent for Romney. Gingrich’s campaign remains roughly $600,000 in debt, reports the Washington Post, and he failed to win a place on the ballot for Virginia’s Super Tuesday primary election.

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