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.

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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. Tom

    The more Santorum rants and connives about number of delegates and staying in the race the less chance I would ever vote for him. He needs to wake up ad smell the coffee and take a break. ie: get out of the race Rick.

    April 5, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. lasvegasbureau24

    Huh huh and of course the Santorum organization was too incompetent to get on the ballot in all 50 states, Yet, we are suppose to believe he has all these delegates. According to Ron Paul they have more delegates then Santorum and Gingrich combined due to their organization which did manage to get on the ballot in all 50 states. Hmmm....

    April 5, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. BigRed

    This would not be the first time that the Santorum camp has absolutely no knowledge of how to keep track and actually count correctly. Theirs is a world of fantasy and lollipops.

    April 5, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. larry banal

    the only thing dumber than santorum is his advisors

    April 5, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  5. lewtwo

    Grabbing at straws

    April 5, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  6. Ed

    He can't win, even with his "clear choice" between an ultra conservative and a so-called moderate, so now he wants to go back and change the rules? Well, it's obvious he can't "close the deal", so he should just pack up his bags and go home.

    April 5, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. David in FL

    fine line between scrappy and desperate

    April 5, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. Peng

    Two words: sore loser.

    April 5, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. Steven Colo

    So what? He's always refused to recognize evolution, women's rights, or anything else that happened in the last fifty years. Why should delegate count be different?

    April 5, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. Dr. Shrinker

    The last gasp of a desperate man.

    April 5, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  11. Stating the Obvious

    So Santorum believes that it is against the RNC rules for Florida and Arizona to have a winner take all arrangement yet is banking on Texas changing its primary to a winner take all format. Is it just me or is this contradictory and hypocritical. And isn't Santorum the guy that was bagging on Romney for hinging his campaign on delegate math? Again contradictory and hypocritical. I used to like Santorum, having lived in PA for some time, but this is unbelievable!

    April 5, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. Dan Morgan

    This is becoming pathetic

    April 5, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. leeann

    Santorum is either out of his mind, or so full of hatred for Romney, he can't think straight. In 2008, Romney dropped out of the primary for the sake of the Republican party, to maintain unity. He put the interests of the party before his own wants. Santorum is going to crack the party. If this is not resolved before the convention, we will be handing the election to Obama all tied up with a giant blue ribbon. For those who are still thinking of supporting Santorum, please, please, think about the consequences of voting for someone who has no problem tearing the Republican party apart.

    April 5, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. Uthor

    Heh heh. Pretty funny when the evil "liberal media" and the pursed-lipped "establishment Republicans" are in cahoots. There's a conspiracy theory that should be taken out and bronzed...

    Can we work Hollywood and Acorn into this somehow?

    April 5, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. D

    Oh Ricky ..... so disconnected from reality it's sad.

    April 5, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Stan

    Obama or Santorum... who would you follow into a battle?

    April 5, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  17. Anantha

    This is how usually the saan inside a person works. If one cant reach what they are set to achieve deny the other person of it especially then they are working towards it. I am not sure which part of conservative values is this??

    April 5, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  18. Orwell predicts

    Watch out Rick, the Republicans might steal your election like they did to Gore. But Thomas might vote for you, getting a 5/4 decision you are per-ordained for.

    April 5, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  19. Jay

    Every circus needs a clown. Enter Rick Santorum.

    April 5, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. Roxana

    Does he now want to invent some sort of new "Christian" mathematics? He has already come up with his "biology" which does not recognize the base of this seance, the theory of evolution!

    April 5, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  21. Paul

    Santorum: "It's my ball and if you don't play by my unfair rules, I'll go home and pout." My question is ... Who in their right mind would want this immature loser cry baby to be President??

    April 5, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  22. Lee

    Wow, now St. Rick is sounding as delusional as Ron Paul supporters. This is sad but funny too. But trying to change the rules on allocation after the game begins, or is even over in some places is just an attempt at outright theft. Making states that Romney won be proportional and states Rick has an advantage become winner take all? Really Rick, really?

    April 5, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  23. john the Republican

    It's looking like Santorum is a 'plant for Obama. No Republican would make comments like Obama is a better choice than Romney. Where does this guy get off – he's not a Republican and he's not going to win. The more he keeps this crap up, the more he keeps help Obama. The southern states need to recognize the Santorum is a Democrat in sheep clothing.

    April 5, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  24. Dan

    Poor little Ricky. He'll have to think of a way to blame all of the nasty, mean gays for his failures as a leader.

    April 5, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Bill

    Santorum is a pretty big liar for pretending to ben so religious...

    April 5, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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