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.

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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. EatYouAlive

    SERIOUSLY, when do the real candidates start, this is getting old.

    April 6, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  2. TV Off

    This is more lazy reporting? I have been following this race ever since Micheal Steele was at the RNC the truth is that Florida and the other that moved there primaries skirted RNC rules so they can not be winner take all. CNN gave all the delegates to Romney when in truth RNC rules say it is supposed to be proportional since they did not follow the primary rules. There are tons of other states in the same situation where these networks have messed up the delegate count. Of course you will not hear anyone mention this because Romney is the RNC preference. I am not sure it would benefit Santorum but I do know Romney has more delegates than he should on CNN's count.

    April 6, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  3. Paul

    With apologies to Steely Dan:
    Ricky, you'll lose that number/
    It's the door you're being shown/
    You can sit around in your sweater/
    When you're back home.

    April 6, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  4. Pat in IL

    Wow, how ridiculous. Denial has been known rpro make fools of people and this is a classic example of that.

    April 6, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  5. Mike Ford

    Desperate people resort to desperate acts, but Santorum is living in Fantasyland.

    April 6, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  6. TomNPitt

    I"m not a fan – but this kid just won't quit. I'll vote for him in thr PA primary!
    Romney has a long way to go towin this. Too many people are a little bored with the process.

    April 6, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  7. springthecat

    reality has never been a Santorum strong point

    April 6, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  8. edward

    whats the surprise really, Ron Paul's camps been saying the numbers are off for a while now.

    April 6, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  9. USA

    Yea Mittens : )

    April 6, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  10. Jouko

    Santorum also believes the Netherlands assassinate their elderly and that California colleges don't teach American History. He'll probably believe he's president next year...

    April 6, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  11. SixDegrees

    God hates theocrats who can't count.

    April 6, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  12. William

    Santorum and his campaign are delusional. It's not going to happen. Even Gingrich and Paul are smart enough to realize they won't make it. Santorum is just hurting the Republican party by continuing to divide the GOP. Like him or not, it's time to rally behind Romney and face the real opponent: Barack Obama.

    April 6, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  13. Anne

    Santorm needs to face the facts. He probably will pick up some more delegates. However, he's pretty far away from Romney. He might get close to Romney, but I don't see Santorum passing Romeny. Especially if he gets together with the others to deprive Romney of future delegates

    April 6, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  14. howlyn

    Rick who?

    April 6, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  15. Cambob

    Math is like science. Santorum hates science.

    April 6, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  16. Doug

    Did you read this folks ? This is the Republican party showing their hand with what they did to Al Gore.. Santorum is a disgusting hypocrite who can never run this country.. Obama will surely win against this cast of characters..
    Rick, it's time to put on your big boy pants and drop out, but instead you make a fool of yourself...

    April 6, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  17. Marlee

    OMG When did casting a single vote for President become so freakishly complicated.

    April 6, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  18. Paul

    I really would love to see Santorum win the nomination, because if that happens, it would split/kill the GOP party once and for all giving the the USA 50 years of Democrats progress, giving the country and the entire world indeed, a bright future and a better world.

    So, mentally challenged Evangelical bigots, get out there and vote for Santorum

    April 6, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  19. skellyute

    It's easy for me to see why this guy got blown out in his last run for Senator. He appears to be a bit of a cry baby. Learn how to lose gracefully Santorum. Quit trying to change the rules. 4 years ago when Mitt saw that he wasnt' going to win he bowed out gracefully so that the party could unite behind J. McCain, and began his run for this go round. It looks like to me Santorum is making his last stand in politics to me.

    April 6, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  20. Jake

    Wow, and this guy wants to be President? Santorum's campaign is just making a joke of him and the GOP.

    April 6, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  21. s

    How sad this man is, seems like he is now a relative of Gingrich, face the facts and be a man or maybe you have to ask your wife.

    April 6, 2012 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  22. imputt

    OK great in depth anti republican reporting. Now tell us about the $850,000 Obama admin party the GSA had in Vegas on Tax payer money. Only report it like it would be reported if it happened under Bush. The fact that it is hidden by mainstream media is more proof of extreme political bias.

    April 6, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  23. mon

    Hey, since when has saying whatever you feel should be the truth rather than what is the truth ever stopped Santorum before? You know, like, "I heard in passing that 7 or 8 California universities don't even offer American history courses. Why bother doing a simple online search? California is a bunch of elitists who hate America anyways, so this must be true." I'm sure once the Santorum is challenged with the notion that his math is based on stretch potential scenarios, he'll throw a hissy fit and blame the liberal media. Or the heretics, in the event this challenge is presented by members of his own party.

    April 6, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  24. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    What's new? For the GOBP,making things up,lying and claiming that they misspoke are part of the playbook to confuse their low information base.

    April 6, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  25. 2+2

    "Santorum disputes delegate count" Whatsamatta U. Ricky boy? Run out of fingers and toes?

    You're not gonna lay a "hanging chad" on us are you?

    April 6, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
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