(CNN) – Before the first ballots are cast in Iowa Tuesday night, Mitt Romney can claim a small lead in the race to win the Republican presidential nomination.
The former Massachusetts governor has secured the early public support of 11 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, compared to two for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and one for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
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The early delegate tally is the result of a CNN survey of certain state party chairs and Republican National Committee members who have guaranteed voting privileges at the GOP convention in Tampa next August and who, under their state rules, are "unpledged" or free to support the presidential candidate of their choice.
Romney's lead includes all three RNC members from his home state. State party chairman Bob Maginn, a long-time supporter of the former governor, asked the Massachusetts GOP executive committee to suspend neutrality requirements in the party's bylaws so that he could publicly support Romney.
Perry's two delegates also include his home-state's GOP chairman. Santorum has the backing of the national committeewoman from Iowa, where he's recently surged in polls.
Like Democratic "superdelegates," who played a key role in the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination, unpledged RNC-member delegates are not bound by the results of their home state's presidential primary or caucuses. They may also switch their support to another candidate at their own discretion.
While there are over 700 Democratic "superdelegates," there are just over 100 unpledged RNC-member delegates. Every state and territory receives three RNC-member delegate votes reserved for their state GOP chair, national committeeman and committeewoman. About a third of these delegates are required to cast their convention votes according to their state's primary or caucus results.
Currently, five states' RNC delegates will not have voting privileges at the Republican National Convention next August. The national party stripped New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Michigan of RNC-member delegates as a penalty for holding their primaries earlier than the RNC rules allowed.
CNN's on-going delegate estimate will include delegates allocated through various contests as well public endorsements from unpledged RNC-member delegates.
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The public has been sold a bill of goods about the free market being a panacea for mankind. Turning corporations loose and letting the profit motive run amok is not a prescription for a more livable world – Tom Scholz
As a former-right-wing-religious-Republican (now registered Independent) I know that the GOP will lose the Evangelical & Baptist vote, even the Catholic vote if they nominate Mitt. A mormon will not get the religious vote.
See – the rigging has already begun. The party bosses don't care what you think. They run the show – the rest of us are just peons.
The fix is already in what a croc why even vote why even try to be heard. The corporation own us and our political system. Vote for revolution in 2012 the media puppets and their masters are in the rifle scope real america is watching and waiting for you to slip.
I am sure that once nominated, Republicans and a strong majority of Independents will send Mitt Romney to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with a message and a mandate. Get Government spending in control. Get government back in support of a growing economy and put the needs of the country above the needs of the political party.
This is news?
I hope someone knocks this self serving jerk right off his feet. ANYONE OTHER THAN WILLARD.
Romney is a chicken hawk he hides in France during the Vietnam War sipping on wine and learning french. Now he talks tough about Iran, but has no clue what it feel like to have a child in a war zone. Because his privilege 5 kids(boys) skip on two on going wars. Birds of a feather, flock together it's the Romney Family full of chickens.
Ron Paul 2012 for a sane, constitutional America.
Not sure why Newt can't get it right when he says "negative" ads about him are damaging. The word is "truth" ads. Because they are negative doesn't mean they are not telling the truth about who you are as a deceitful man to your family and to our nation. Your poor past choices as a family man and a leader have consequences and yes, they are negative.
Ron Paul, the only choice.
Unless you want to vote for corruption, murder and drugs...Then continue the statis quo
I should have been there! I bet people got Paid!
Sheesh, Lacrosse Mom. Didn't Jesus say to love one another? The hate from the Evangelical Christians is amazing.
Mike in Texas
The public has been sold a bill of goods about the free market being a panacea for mankind. Turning corporations loose and letting the profit motive run amok is not a prescription for a more livable world
Not a panacea for mankind, but a critical part of what makes our world and economy work so well. How can you not appreciate that if you drive a car, talk on a cell phone, shop at the grocery store or use a computer?
Believe me, if the monopoly of AT&T was allowed to survive without competition, text would be a noun, not a verb. ( Not that that's such a bad thing, but I'm just sayin'....)