Santorum campaign disputes delegate counts as it claims race is closer
April 5th, 2012
08:53 PM ET
3 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. Thomas

    Give it up Rick !

    Easter isn't about you !

    April 5, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. sittingduck

    But then,by Santorum's count the Earth was made in 8400 years.

    April 5, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. gt

    rick .... Wake Up...its over....

    April 5, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. Larry L

    These are the same folks who believe the earth to be less than 6000 years old. Math and science are not their strong suits.

    April 5, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. monkeyman

    "Santorum's camp said its internal count shows Romney with only 571 delegates while Santorum has 342."

    So according to Saint Santorum there are even fewer people with common sense and an understanding that the majority of Republicans (like me) do not think that his type of Republican mindset and government will work for the majority of the American people.

    April 5, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  6. D. Arthur

    Someone please turn off his microphone. Change your yard signs to read, anyone but Sanbordom- 2016.

    April 5, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. angel611

    Romney and Santorum, a scary psychotic freak show.

    April 5, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. Phillco

    I can't wait to see him lose and bow out.

    April 5, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. Bobbi Aussi

    Didn't Huckabee have a problem with his math in 2008? Maybe it's something with those who think they are God's chosen ones, and expect some kind of cosmic change in physics and math theories. Santorum must have skipped out on Math, because it must be only for snobs..

    April 5, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. DavidE7

    I am no supporter of Rick Santorum, but I absolutely agree there is no limit to the dishonesty the media is capable of in the selling of Mitt Romney as the "inevitable nominee". The media keep insisting that it is virtually impossible for Santorum to get the delegates needed to be the nominee. But that is not why Santorum and Gingrich are still running. The purpose is to DENY the nomination to Romney! Romney has shown himself repeatedly to be an unscrupulous candidate in both 2008 and 2012 elections, and his fellow Republicans hate his guts (ask Huckabee and Giuliani). Plus, Romney has no chance of beating Obama, so the other candidates are being loyal Republicans by making it possible for a stronger alternative to emerge at the convention.

    April 5, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. WrennNYC

    Soo.....

    Disputing Arizona and Florida (where Romney won) , and deciding that they will change their winner take all procedure to a proportional count, and making the assumption that Santorum will win Texas, and the further assumption that Texas will change from a proportional count to a winner take all... all without any shred of backing for these ideas..

    Yeah. messed up in the head.

    April 5, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. PTBarnumboy

    Yup, he's a conservative allright. He'll do whatever it takes to get his way.

    April 5, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. ironman59

    little ricky is a clown and an embarresment. He wants to do nothing more than change the rules to fit his way of life which America doesn't want. The whole gop is nothing but a joke.

    April 5, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. otermbachmann

    His little mind always see's things differently. Scary but neocon presidential.

    April 5, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. GOP Observer

    Rick is now officially in denial. Someone close to him needs to caution him that staying in too long will damage his chances for a run in the future. There is NO WAY he can get the delegates, and there is NO WAY he can win a floor fight if it comes to that, He is young, immature, hurt, and stubborn, not qualities you want in a leader. If Santorum stays in and loses in PA, any possible future in public service is OVER. It would be the second time he lost in his home state, the last time by the biggest margin any Senatorial candidate has ever lost by

    April 5, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Emmy Skaddittle

    Those republicans love their political games, you can see what they will be up to if they were to win the white house, politics as usual

    April 5, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. Walter

    The only word for Santorum is delusional. He has no chance of getting the nomination and even less chance of beating Obama.

    April 5, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Rick Sutter

    Santorum needs to go home. He is too divisive to ever be an effective leader.

    April 5, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. Debwards

    Wow! Can you say selfish? Rick Santorum cannot think past himself. Willing to bring the party and the November election down, to make sure he might have a chance at a win. I find it hard to believe that anyone would even consider voting for this man anymore at all... he is a disgrace and is quickly losing all chances of ever being taken seriously again in the Republican party. I hope Romney trounces him in PA.

    April 5, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  20. Woodlands

    We need Rick Santorum to continue. He is the only true conservative running.

    April 5, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  21. Marine08

    Santorum is delusional and is alot like Obama. Just continues to refuse to accept the situation.

    April 5, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  22. Dee

    "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."

    Romney is so SCREWED!

    April 5, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  23. BK

    This is just sad how delusional they get.

    April 5, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  24. bcm

    Delusional! This man is a religious radical and will never be elected POTUS.

    April 5, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. angel611

    What part of PSYCHO do Americans not get?
    The guy brought a dead baby home and played with it like it was alive.
    You want his finger on the nuclear button?

    April 5, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6