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Will Paul and Gingrich’s Refusal To Quit Hurt Romney?

(The math heavily favors Romney for the GOP nomination, but could non-quitters Congressman Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich hurt the presumed Republican candidate in the general election? Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich (L) and Ron Paul shake hands at the end of the NBC News, Tampa Bay Times, National Journal Republican Presidential Candidates Debate at the University of South Florida, January 23, 2012, Tampa, Florida.)

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a two-man race now, unless you ask Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul.

Newt Gingrich says that he’s staying in the race until this summer’s Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., “so that the conservative movement has a real choice.” We’ll see if he makes it that far—the former house speaker bounced a check this week for a fee to take part in Utah’s primary.

Though the New York Times calls his campaign “an electoral afterthought,” Ron Paul can at least say he’s gained twice the votes this cycle than he did in 2008. His delegate count is still less than a tenth of Romney’s, but that might change if Paul sticks around until May for the large primary in his home state of Texas.

The biggest remaining threat to Romney, though, may not be a nomination challenge but two candidates that make him look watered down. As Ralph Nader knows, election losses have been blamed on outsider candidates before.

Video produced by Paca Thomas.