It's now officially over. On to the conventions and November...
Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but bringing to a close the 2012 GOP presidential contest and effectively handing the nomination to Mitt Romney.
“We made a decision over the weekend that, while this presidential race for us is over — for me — and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said at a campaign event in Gettysburg, Pa., the site of the historic and pivotal Civil War battle.
The former Pennsylvania senator had been Romney’s top opponent, but he suffered a trio of defeats last week in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and over the weekend his daughter, Bella, was hospitalized for the second time this campaign due to complications from a rare genetic disorder.
In announcing his decision, Santorum said Bella’s condition caused him to reconsider his campaign but that she “is a fighter and doing extraordinarily well.”
He did not endorse or urge the delegates that he has won to support another candidate. - Washington Post
Since he's only suspending his campaign Santorum will retain the delegates he's won so far.
“It’s no surprise that Mitt Romney finally was able to grind down his opponents under an avalanche of negative ads. But neither he nor his special interest allies will be able to buy the presidency with their negative attacks. The more the American people see of Mitt Romney, the less they like him and the less they trust him. While calling himself the ‘ideal candidate’ for the Tea Party, he has promised to return to the same policies that created the economic crisis and has alienated women, middle class families, and Hispanic Americans. Americans value a President who will fight every day to rebuild an economy in which hard work will pay, responsibility is rewarded and everyone plays by the same rules. And that President is Barack Obama.” – Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager
It's looking more and more evident each day that the 2012 Republican Nomination is in the bag for Mitt Romney. Even Gingrich's main money-man is saying he should drop out. Rick and Mitt will trade wins until Santorum yields to inevitability and drops out.
So let's call Mitt Romney the Republican nominee. Does he have a chance to win in November or have the primaries done too much harm to his brand? Using our Ultimate Republican Nomination Info Chart I created a map showing the results of the 2008 election and added the results of this year's Republican primaries and caucuses. (While Santorum won Missouri I left it blank because delegates allocation is not yet settled.)
It's not too hard to see where I'm going with this. Romney has only won 4 of his 17 victories in states that McCain won in 2008. Those 4 wins amount to only 21 electoral votes in November. All of his other victories were in states that Barack Obama won. Mitt will be fighting more to win the Republican base's confidence than for independent voters. And if he's not able to gain the support of the hardcore conservatives will he take down down-ballot candidates with him? I can't imagine Republicans in the Deep South will be energized to vote for a candidate they don't believe in.
Should the Obama campaign push the fact that Obamacare was modeled after Romneycare in Republican leaning areas?
We've been keeping an eye on the 2 delegates from New Hampshire that became uncommitted when Jon Huntsman dropped out. Although there are three actual delegates, only 2 actual votes will be tallied at the convention.
The Granite Status has learned that Paul Collins, a senior strategist in former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's third-place New Hampshire finish and a Huntsman delegate, will be announced later today as moving to Mitt Romney.
Also supporting Romney will be Huntsman alternate delegate Brad Blais.
Collins says it's time for Republicans to united behind Romney as “the one candidate who can win in November.
Huntsman dropped out of the race on Jan. 16. He had earned three New Hampshire GOP delegates by finishing with nearly 17 percent of the vote in the Jan. 10 first-in-the-nation primary, according to data on the Secretary of State's web site.
His delegates were released when he dropped out.
Huntsman's other two New Hampshire delegates, consultant Sarah Crawford Stewart and business executive Renee Plummer, told the Status this morning they remain uncommitted. Plummer said she intends to remain uncommitted until the Republican National Convention in late summer. - Granite Status
Twenty delegates are up for grabs in today's Louisiana primary. These delegates will be bound to their candidate at the convention in Tampa. In order to win delegates a candidate needs at least 25% of the vote today. If none of the candidates hit 25% the delegates will go to the convention unbound (Green Papers).
Twenty-three additional unbound delegates will be selected at the state convention on June 2nd.The convention will decide if these delegates are to be allocated by the results of the primary.
Mitt Romney's supporters in Wyoming have successfully challenged a delegate to the party's national convention that had been awarded to rival Rick Santorum — showing the lengths the campaigns are willing to go to fight over a single delegate.
State GOP Chairwoman Tammy Hooper said Tuesday the delegate is now awarded to Romney. - US News
While today's primary in Illinois is no doubt a big one for Mitt Romney it is by no means going to end the nomination process.
The fact is that none of the 54 delegates being allocated today have anything to do whatsoever with the primary results. From The Green Papers:
This is a so-called "Loophole" primary (a Delegate Selection Primary combined with an Advisory "beauty contest" presidential preference vote). The popular vote in the Illinois Republican Primary will have nothing whatsoever to do with the presidential preference of the 54 separately elected National Convention delegates.
Each candidate for delegate ... must file a Statement of Presidential Preference supporting a specific presidential candidate, or a statement that he/she intends to run uncommitted [SBE No. P-1E]. Note: There is no law or rule officially binding the delegates to the candidate.
And as you read, all of the delegates are unbound.
Tonight 119 delegates are up for grabs in three states and one territory. It could be a pivotal night depending on the outcomes in Alabama and Mississippi. If Newt doesn't win at least one of these states the calls for him to drop out will increase.
Rick Santorum goes into the night with one superdelegate from Alabama. Mitt Romney has the endorsement of one superdelegate from Mississippi. His endorser, Henry Barbour, formerly supported Rick Perry.
Politico has posted a memo from the Santorum campaign that makes all of our delegate work extremely relevant. We have highlighted some of the more interesting points.
To: Mike Biundo From: John Patrick Yob Date: March 10th, 2012 Re: Santorum Path to Delegate Victory
Rick Santorum is very well positioned to earn the delegates necessary to win the national convention despite what the Romney campaign and their official/unofficial surrogates’ fuzzy math may claim.
As a result of their inability to inspire the GOP based on message, the Romney campaign made the curious decision to lead their post-Super Tuesday campaign with the argument that the race is over, rather than touting his positive qualities as a candidate.
The effort to talk about the math was a defensive smokescreen intended to distract from the major problems the Romney campaign faces in county, district, and state conventions across the country when national convention delegates are actually elected.
The reality is simple: the Romney math doesn’t add up and he will have a very difficult time ever getting to a majority of the delegates.
The situation is only going to get worse for them and better for Rick Santorum as time passes. Simply put, time is on our side.
Strength of Candidacy Romney has been forced to outspend the field dramatically in order to barely win in states he should have won handily (Michigan and Ohio), and losing other states by wide margins (Tennessee and Oklahoma).
Rick Santorum continues to win contests and gain national convention delegates because he has emerged as the favorite of the conservative grassroots base of the Republican Party. As a result he has wins in most caucuses. He also has won the majority of counties even in Romney states excluding moderate urban areas.
Support from Conservative Base Romney has proven incapable of inspiring grassroots conservative support in caucuses as he has lost lost every caucus contest despite outspending the other candidates by many multiples.
Similarly, there are serious cracks in the Romney finance operation as the campaign finance reports show that he is incapable of inspiring grassroots donors across the country to donate to his campaign. Instead his campaigns are funded by contributors who have already maxed out and are incapable of donating again in the primary. This explains why the SuperPAC is forced to pay for such a large proportion of their paid media.
The lack of grassroots support that plagued his caucus states operation, and plagued his small donor operation, will now plague his national delegate election operation.
Rick Santorum has excelled in caucuses and small dollar contributions and therefore will also excel at state conventions where activists are more conservative than the average primary voter.
Longer Proportional Process Favors More Conservative Candidates I served in a similar role for John McCain 2008. At this point of the process there was a very real concern about the possibility of a more conservative candidate staying in the race and fighting us at state conventions across the country where more conservative activists determine the election of National Convention Delegates. Although John McCain was winning primaries in a fractured conservative field, he was not the favorite of grassroots conservative activists in the party. Similarly, in this race, a drawn out process favors conservative candidates such as Rick Santorum. This is a major problem for Mitt Romney, the moderate in this race.
Even more importantly, the proportional process that Romney supporters pushed through the Republican National Committee has turned out to be a major problem for the campaign. Suddenly the election of the actual delegates at county, state, and district caucuses is now more important than the primaries—regardless of what the media covers as determinative. It is difficult for any candidate to clinch the nomination in a proportional calendar without over-performing in the state conventions that elect the delegates. As a result, the state conventions will ultimately determine the outcome of this race.
Romney Frontloaded Friendly States Romney supporters on the Republican National Committee manipulated the calendar to front-load several of the states that were favorable towards him. That was beneficial to his early lead in the delegate count, however it is problematic for him as the race continues and moves towards less friendly states. This is one of the reasons that they emphasized fuzzy math after Super Tuesday.
Race Moves towards Santorum’s Strength The race for the nomination will soon start to move towards primaries and caucuses that are more favorable terrain for Rick Santorum. More importantly, the race will eventually move from primaries and caucuses that are often beauty contests to real county and state convention contests where actual delegates to the national convention are elected.
Anyone who knows anything about state conventions knows that the most conservative candidate has a big advantage over a moderate candidate. In many cases, this advantage is overwhelming.
Romney’s Delegate Problem Romney has a delegate problem in that he will have a very hard time getting his moderate supporters elected as delegates in these convention systems. This was evident in Iowa this weekend where the Romney operation collapsed, and Santorum and Paul gained.
The Real Calendar The Real Calendar (TRC) officially kicked off this weekend in Iowa where activists gathered to begin the process of electing national convention delegates. It is clear to anyone who understands this process that a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney is going to have a difficult time winning as many delegates to the national convention in an Iowa County and State Convention system as the media calculated based on the Open Caucus system that took place in January. This system will play out in state after state, and although there will be hiccups in certain states, on average Rick Santorum will gain far more delegates than Mitt Romney through this delegate election process.
The Real Count The count largely depends on how you calculate the delegates in states such as Iowa that have not yet elected their National Convention Delegates. For example, the RNC currently gives Santorum 0 delegates for Iowa, the media gives him 7. We believe he will end up with more than 7 delegates as the process plays out. We also believe that Romney will receive less. (See the Delegate Counts on the top left - Oreo)
Most of the publicly available delegate counts are fundamentally flawed because none of them have taken into account that conservative grassroots activists at county and state conventions will elect more Santorum delegates than a primary or even caucus beauty contest in the same respective state would allocate. Therefore, the Real Counts are far better than the projected counts and will continue to improve as the National Convention approaches and states elect their actual convention delegates. The Santorum campaign will keep a tally called the Real Count moving forward. It will be based on the results of both the Real Calendar and the Traditional Calendar.
Traditional Calendar There is unlikely to be very much change in the delegate totals based on the results of Tuesday’s contests. Regardless of the results, we anticipate this finally becoming an election between the moderate establishment candidate and the conservative grassroots candidate as we move towards Missouri and beyond.
March 17th – Missouri Rick Santorum will do very well in Missouri, win a number of delegates, and have momentum heading into Illinois.
March 20th – Illinois Mitt Romney might have an edge in Illinois but we feel very good about our ability to once again win the more conservative areas of the state, earn a considerable number of delegates, and maintain momentum heading into Louisiana.
March 24th – Louisiana Primary Louisiana is going to allocate approximately half of its delegates in the Primary on March 24th and half of them later in a caucus process. It is likely that Santorum picks up considerable delegates in both of these contests.
We assume that Newt Gingrich will become less of a factor in terms of vote totals in races after the Louisiana Primary, if not before.
April 3rd – Wisconsin, Maryland, and DC These primaries are winner take all. They could be the first contests that are a one- on-one between a conservative and a moderate. The emphasis that day is likely to be on Wisconsin. Most recent polling has shown Santorum to be doing quite well in the state and it is expected to be a very close contest. Not being on the ballot was not a problem or us in DC because DC Republicans would almost surely vote for the most moderate candidate anyway.
April 24th – New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware Rick Santorum will win a very large number of delegates on April 24th including his home state of Pennsylvania. Some analysts in the media have argued that Romney will do well in the Northeast because he is the moderate in the race – however that is not necessarily consistent with recent history in contested primaries in these five states. April 24th could be a good day for Rick Santorum.
May 8th – North Carolina, Indiana, and West Virginia We believe that May 8th is the beginning of the end for Mitt Romney and the date that puts Rick Santorum on a path to the nomination. Rick Santorum will have the momentum coming out of these contests. Our research shows us that even the uncommitted delegates in West Virginia favor Santorum.
May 15th - Nebraska and Oregon Rick Santorum will do well on May 15th in Nebraska and hold his own in Oregon.
May 22nd – Kentucky and Arkansas Rick Santorum will likely win a majority of the delegates on May 22nd and gain significant momentum leading into Texas.
May 29th – Texas Rick Santorum will win the Texas Primary and dramatically close the public delegate gap with Mitt Romney on May 29th.
June 5th – California, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico The candidate who wins the most delegates on June 5th will lead the public delegate count going into the national convention. Rick Santorum will also lead the Real Count by this point.
June 26th – Utah We will go out on a limb and predict that Romney will win Utah.
Conservative Majority of Delegates: Public vs. Actual Delegate Counts There is a “Conservative Majority” of delegates emerging as county and state conventions elect their actual National Convention delegates. This “Conservative Majority” will support Rick Santorum over a moderate-establishment Romney.
There are three reasons why the counts that are put out by the RNC and media organizations are not reflective of the real numbers:
1. Unbound and Uncommitted Delegates elected by grassroots activists are more likely to favor Santorum than those elected by direct primary election. This represents a movement of delegates into Santorum’s tally.
2. Bound delegates elected by grassroots activists will favor Santorum as rules allow. Gingrich delegates are more likely to favor Santorum.
3. Rule Breaking states such as Florida and Arizona.
Unbound Delegates As has been described previously, unbound delegates are much more likely to favor Rick Santorum than Mitt Romney because they are largely elected by more conservative caucus and convention systems. Therefore, this race is much, much closer than what the current media and RNC counts portray.
Bound Delegates Bound delegates are largely elected at state conventions across the country and therefore are more conservative than an average primary voter. If the convention goes multiple ballots, it is likely that a conservative candidate like Rick Santorum will gain votes on the 2nd and 3rd ballots whereas a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney will lose votes. (See a list of when each state allows their delegates to vote for someone othere than their candidate here - Oreo)
We obviously do not know how Newt Gingrich will move forward with his campaign but we are confident that whether before the convention or on the convention floor that when the time comes Newt Gingrich delegates are far more likely to vote for Rick Santorum than they are for Mitt Romney.
Majority Needed for Romney, Not for Santorum Mitt Romney must have a majority on the first ballot in order to win the nomination because he will perform worse on subsequent ballots as grassroots conservative delegates decide to back the more conservative candidate. Subsequently, Santorum only needs to be relatively close on the initial ballot in order to win on a later ballot as Romney’s support erodes.
Romney Difficulty in getting 50% of Remaining Delegates Even Romney’s own counters admit that he needs to earn almost 50% of the remaining delegates in order to win the nomination. We believe this number is higher than 50% for the reasons described in this memo. Regardless, this is going to be very difficult in a three or four person race, especially as he loses delegates at state conventions such as Iowa.
Florida and Arizona Florida and Arizona broke RNC rules both when they moved forward and also when they chose to allocate delegates. Their delegations will be challenged if seated as winner-take-all.
Conclusion Time is on Rick Santorum's side. He will gain delegates as this process plays out and conservatives are elected as National Convention Delegates. Despite the Romney campaign’s smokescreen, they cannot change the fact that he can’t inspire the base of the party, has a delegate problem, and has a very difficult time getting to a majority.
The delegate race is currently much closer than some would like people to believe. It will get even closer as actual national convention delegates are elected at county, district, and state conventions across the country. They represent the Conservative Majority of the Republican Party, and that is a huge problem for a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney.
Furthermore, Rick Santorum will gain the momentum in late May by winning Kentucky, Arkansas, and Texas and head into California and New Jersey with significant momentum.
At that point there will be a Conservative Majority of the delegates to the National Convention and Rick Santorum will become the presumed Republican nominee for President of the United States.
Please also read: Romney’s Fuzzy Math for a Fuzzy Campaign http://www.newsmax.com/Ruddy/mitt-romney-santorum-gingrich/2012/03/08/id/431848 Romney’s Curious Claim of Mathematical Inevitability http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/romneys-curious-claim-mathematical- inevitability_633326.html
Two in the Bush: Is Romney Counting His Iowa Delegates Too Soon? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/09/two-in-the-bush-is-romney- counting-his-iowa-delegates-too-soon.html
Tonight we'll be tracking the delegate count for the results of the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses
Delegates to be Allocated
Not on Ballot
Not on Ballot
7:00 - ABC and NBC call Georgia for Gingrich 7:15 - ABC and NBC call Virginia for Romney. Ron Paul was the only other candidate on the ballot. 7:30 - Romney wins Vermont, ahead in Ohio exit poll. 8:00 - Romney wins Massachusetts 8:40 - Santorum wins Tennessee. Delegate projections starting to come in. 8:50 - Santorum wins Oklahoma 10:10 - Santorum wins North Dakota 11:00 Lots of delegate updates 11:30 - Romney wins Idaho
12:30 - NBC calls Ohio for Romney
7:30 AM updated delegate #s from AP. 8:20 PM updated delegate #s from AP and CNN 8:40 PM. Added ND delegates. After further review, ND's superdelegates may have bound by delegation decision. So, for now, we've assigned all 28 (not 25) delegates per the election. However. ND's delegates are ultimately totally unbound, so we will not include them in the pledged delegate numbers.We have also removed the projected delegates from Wyoming, and will replace them with the pledged delegates as they are elected this week.
We didn't count Wyoming as a Super Tuesday state because their caucuses last all week. Five delegates were decided last night though. Romney won four delegates and Paul got one.
On Super Tuesday, as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum ran neck and neck for delegates around the country, Laramie County Republicans also found themselves split over who should face President Barack Obama in November.
In a runoff vote, Romney supporter Jack Mueller won by two votes over state Rep. Amy Edmonds, who backed Santorum. Afterward, Mueller thanked supporters who came up to congratulate him.
“I needed your vote!” he said, smiling.
Mueller was one of five presidential delegates elected by Wyoming Republicans on Tuesday in county conventions around the state. Over the next few weeks, state Republicans will elect 21 more. - Star-Tribune
Schedule for rest of the week (not all counties get a delegate) Meeting dates: Tuesday 6 March: Big Horn, Laramie, Natrona, Teton, Washakie, Weston. Wednesday 7 March: Niobrara. Thursday 8 March,: Albany. Saturday 10 March: Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, Johnson, Lincoln, Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Uinta.
If you look around you'll see that news organizations are all over the map on how many delegates are available tomorrow. I've seen 419, 422 and 437. Here's what they're doing and why they're wrong:
419 delegates: Uses 416 delegates and superdelegates for only 6 states instead of 7 422 delegates: Uses 416 delegates and superdelegates for only 5 states instead of 7 437 delegates: Disregards the fact that superdelegates will not be decided tomorrow.