Santorum campaign disputes delegate counts as it claims race is closer
April 5th, 2012
08:53 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum campaign disputes delegate counts as it claims race is closer

(CNN) - Rick Santorum's campaign is again trying to push back on the narrative that Mitt Romney basically has the Republican nomination fight sewn up. However, some of its assumptions are being met with derision by Republican officials.

In a new memo, obtained by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, the campaign's delegate strategist John Yob maintained that several factors are not being accurately reported that will help Santorum in the hunt for the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter: @KevinBohnCNN

– Follow Adam Levy on Twitter: @adamplevycnn

Santorum's camp said its internal count shows Romney with only 571 delegates while Santorum has 342. CNN's current delegate estimate, however, shows Romney with 657 and Santorum with 273.

"This race is much closer than the media and Establishment Republicans would like to report," stated the memo.

By CNN's count, Romney needs 44% of the delegates remaining to gain the nomination while Santorum needs 78%.

The campaign reached its rosier version of the delegate count making some assumptions that many experts don't believe will happen, including that Florida and Arizona will change positions and decide to award their delegates proportionally instead of winner take all. Santorum officials said the states broke Republican National Committee rules by not making their contests proportional and therefore conclude the RNC will take away some of Romney's delegates there.

Florida Republican Party Director of Communications Brian Hughes told CNN his state's rule was accepted by the RNC and therefore it will stay a winner take all state.

"It's a kind of a sad commentary on where they are that they have to make things up rather than face the reality of the status of their campaign," he told CNN.

Shane Wikors, director of communications for the Arizona Republican Party, said there is no effort in his state to change its delegate allocation.

"In the best interest in of the [Arizona] GOP, those who emerge as delegates to the national convention, should be supporting the winner of the presidential preference election," Wikors said.

Santorum officials also maintained that Texas, which holds its primary on May 29 and has 152 delegates, is in the process of announcing the primaries there will become winner take all.

"This will have a dramatic impact on the delegate projections, tighten the race after Santorum wins Texas, and significantly hinder Romney's capacity to ever get to 1,144 delegates because he will not get the proportion of the state. Simply put, this is a Game Changer," reads the memo.

Not so fast. To change from the current proportional rule will require state party officials to go through major hurdles. A member of the state Republican Party's executive committee, Weston Martinez, is pushing for winner take all.

For this to happen, 15 of the 62 members of the committee have to sign a letter to request an emergency meeting. However, Chris Elam, a spokesman for the Texas Republican Party, said, "We have not received a petition signed by at least 15 members."

Such a change also requires a 2/3 vote of that meeting and to have the Republican National Committee and Justice Department approve it. A spokesman for the Republican National Committee said Texas will remain a proportional state because a change would require a waiver and "there is no basis for a waiver."

The memo also revealed the Santorum team is working with some of its competitors as it tries to deny Romney needed delegates. In Washington state, it said it is working with the Ron Paul campaign and "the result will be more delegates for Santorum and Paul and a dramatic decrease in delegates for Romney." The campaign also said it is continuing "to reach out to Newt Gingrich's team to work together on county, state, and district conventions" to help elect conservative delegates to the national convention who would not vote for Romney.

The uphill delegate math and the different versions of the delegate count were topics discussed Thursday at a meeting Santorum held with key conservative supporters as they try to put the best spin on the situation.

Campaign officials acknowledge most of the remaining contests this month will not be good for them but believe many of the states voting in May are friendly territory for Santorum and therefore places he can do well such as North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Nebraska, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas.

"The month of April was always going to be a difficult month for Rick Santorum but it will be close enough so that when he wins the conservative states in the month of May the race will be approximately even going into the Republican National Convention," states the memo.

By CNN's estimate Romney already has captured 57% of the needed delegates while Santorum only has 24% of the delegates he needs for the nomination.

- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon contributed to this story.

Also see:

Santorum enjoys three strikes

Romney makes general election pitch in Pennsylvania, but can't ignore Santorum

Santorum: Romney attacks to fall short in Pennsylvania


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Mikey

    It's pretty obvious that Romney will get to 1,144. Winner-take-all CA, NJ, and UT makes it so Romney only needs about 30% of the other remaining states, which he will easily get. Santorum can't admit that because his campaign would collapse. As a result, he may suffer a very embarrassing loss in his home state. But if he stays in until the end and has 500+ delegates, he can get a couple of planks into the GOP platform – most likely inspired by his 13th century view of the world. Obama supporters approve of Santorum's continuing Quixotic quest for the GOP nomination. Thank you Rick.

    April 6, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. uddi smith

    it might be correct according to the rules of the RNC, but that doesn't make it right. To just ignore the votes of all of the voters in Ohio who supported Santorum etc. shows where the politics is at. The "winner takes all" is no real reflection of the people's wishes. This voting is the only time where the 99% has a voice, the rest is all PAC's and "behind closed doors" stuff by party leaders. Delegates need to be accorded according the real votes

    April 6, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. avd

    Rick: Go Home.

    April 6, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  4. Furious Styles

    Nothing worse than a sore loser. You lost, chalk it up and show some class.

    April 6, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  5. Matt

    When all else fails, manipulate the data.

    April 6, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  6. Donald "ORANGE JULIUS" Trump

    Santorum needs to take the gloves off, and really hit Romney where it hurts. Call him out on his hypocrisy. Call him out on his failure to lead the conservatives. Call him out on Mormonism. Leak some personally damaging information.

    April 6, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6