Rick Santorum has handily won the Kansas caucuses, CNN and the AP are reporting, with 53 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who abandoned the state in favor of campaigning for the upcoming primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, ran a distant second and third, respectively. Ron Paul did try his best, making appearances in the state on Friday and today, but had to settle for fourth place once again.

Over in Wyoming, Romney is showing an early advantage, which could add a dozen delegates to the 18 he collected in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands last night. That brings the grand tally, according to AP's calculations, to 440 for Romney, 181 for Santorum, 107 for Gingrich and 46 for Ron Paul. 1,144 wins the nomination.

Santorum's plan for a comeback hinges on a hat trick that includes wins in Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama, but he may find his hopes dashed on Tuesday: CNN cites a new poll saying Santorum is trailing both Gingrich and Romney in Mississippi. Gingrich, for his part, is confident of a win -- or so he says: 

“We’ll clearly do well enough to move on [after Tuesday] and I think there’s a fair chance we’ll win,” Gingrich told the Associated Press on Friday. “But I just want to set this to rest once and for all, we’re going to Tampa.

Politico says the bravado belies signs of stress in the campaign: Only 100 people showed up to hear Gingrich speak in Jackson, Miss., on Thursday, in a speech characterized as "uninspiring and meandering." 

They add:

The lack of energy might have had something to do with the fact that Gingrich was out late the night before. He stayed in the hotel lobby bar until 2 a.m., dancing with his wife, Callista, to a cover band.