Where he was the frontrunner for the Republican nomination just three weeks ago, Belmont's Mitt Romney is entering a pivotal stretch to become the Republican presidential nominee and challenge President Obama in November.
After wins in a primary and two caucuses two weeks ago by now-surging former Penn. Senator Rick Santorum, Romney finds himself needing to re-establish himself as the party standardbearer. He has the opportunity this week to do that with a debate in Mesa, Ariz. and primaries in seven days in Arizonia and Romney's native state, Michigan.
But super PACs, outside groups that support candidates with large donations, have allowed his challengers – Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul – to remain in the race and has prevented Romney from pulling away, which will likely be the case after next week's vote and in two weeks after 'Super Tuesday' round of 10 primaries on March 6.
In addition, by continuing the race, Romney's opponants have raised doubt about the former Massachusetts governor's conservative credentials, particularly pointing to his universal health care law that mirrors the one created by the Obama administration.