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. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are questions as to which states are winner takes all and proprotional. I guess there are some states that have delegates that aren't required to vote for people in the convention.

    April 5, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. rob

    He's pathetic

    April 5, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. joe

    give me a break.. this process was hi-jacked by the mainstream media. It has turned into a travesty of our forefathers vision Search your hearts and souls America..We need to take this country back. I cant help but feel things are changing at exponential speed. We must act now. Get involved and seek out the truth..

    April 5, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. Tim

    Santorum is dillusional. This kind of stuff is for people who believe the WWF is real (not that it isn't athletic), or that Puff the Magic dragon really did live on a hill. He is beginning to embarrass himself and hurt the GOP.

    April 5, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. concerned citizen

    i really think Santorum should stop pushing this thing further, and instead keep focusing on his messages. The more he comes up with this sort of nonsense, the more damage he is making on his own. Why doesn't he think this kind of argument is nothing but insane? Where does he think is a merit for doing this?

    April 6, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  6. Kyle Williams

    I find it telling that when not able to win the delegates he needs based on his own merit and support, Santorum thinks it somehow fair and ethical to try and bend the rules in his favor. "Boo hoo, I'm not doing well. No fair, I'm changing the rules!" Nothing more than a brat that hasn't gotten his way. Shameful.

    April 6, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  7. tfbuckfutter

    I agree. The delegate counts are off.

    If anything, he's lost a ton of them by amping up his complete and total lunacy.

    April 6, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  8. Dan J

    WOW, there are a lot of "ifs" required in order for Santorum to, well, still be losing by a large margin.

    April 6, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. Balls 2U

    Just like a republican to call for a recount, give it up insanitorium you had a good run.

    April 6, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. vhalen

    If Santorum pulled off all those theories....I would call him a cheat.

    April 6, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Carol

    Rev. Sanitorium has been drinking something besides holy water!

    April 6, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  12. ralph

    Rick is going to split this whole thing up. He is going to run as a third party candidate... LOL

    April 6, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  13. Joe

    Um last time I checked they can't make the delegates winner take all mid primary

    April 6, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  14. Larry

    All i can say is wow. Its kind of like an alcoholic saying i dont have a problem after they down their 4th bottle of jim beam of the day

    April 6, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  15. Shane Ownbey

    Robo Ricky has a tough decision before him. He can stay in the race until April 24th and take a chance on losing in his home state, from which he may never recover politically. Or he can drop out and support the party and save his political bacon for another day. He already has one strike against him when he lost his Senate seat by 18%. If he adds losing his home state in the GOP primaries, he will have two huge talking points that will follow him like a bad rash forever.

    Obviously he is out funded, out smarted, out matched and out manuevered in every way possible. He has no redeeming quality an even though he claims to be Christian, I personally do NOT see anything Christlike about him.

    April 6, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  16. jboh

    Hang it up Sanctimonious Rick. It's over.

    April 6, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. ouisee

    Everyone knows that Rick does not count to the math that most of us use. He believes in home schooling. Of course, he would dispute the delegate count. He is looking like the idiot he is when he stated that college makes you a snob. When will this looser take a seat and stop embarrassing his family? Probably never. So sad Rick, you use profanity in front of your children, not to mention the whole world, and then you tell us we cannot count. Sad, so sad.

    April 6, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  18. Professor

    I dispute Santorums brain cell count.

    April 6, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. LeeAT

    This is pathetic, and I thought that Newt was the king of self centeredness. How could anyone seriously consider voting for Santorum? Does the GOP hate Obama and Romney so much that they would rather have this nut as their candidate?

    April 6, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  20. Tortfeasor

    Wow, I haven't seen such an ungracious loser since Al Gore!

    April 6, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  21. Dandy

    See Picture:
    Santorum:... Look I really can count... see this is 5.. 5 fingers....

    April 6, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  22. Wanted Newt, Voting Mitt

    I was originally pulling for Newt but now I am going to back Romney. Done and done.

    April 6, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  23. No one

    Prepare for the War on Math.

    April 6, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  24. Name: DParke

    Rick do the noble thing here. It's time to get out of the way so we can get Obama out. Get over it, so we can get on w it!  

    April 6, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  25. politics as usual

    Santorum needs to get out before he further embarrasses himself and others.

    April 6, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
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