As I just reported, Romney, Santorum, and Paul accrued equal numbers of delegates from the Iowa caucuses — and that’s the most important number for the GOP nominating convention.
However, it’s also important not to forget the super delegates, who make the total delegate count 18 for Romney, 8 for Santorum, and 7 for Paul.
The super delegates are basically party bigwigs, and they’re free to support whomever they choose. Not surprisingly, most of them go for Romney so far. He is, after all, the establishment man.
In the event that a candidate suspends his campaign, these delegates will typically shift their support to someone else. In this case — assuming none of the second tier candidates resurge and, as looks likely, Santorum’s campaign continues to prove unready for prime time — delegates who do not wish to support Romney would be forced to switch to Paul. This is especially likely for soon to be erstwhile Santorum supporters, since their single biggest issue seems to be abortion, and Romney has a history of confusion on that matter.