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. denny

    God will ensure that President Santorum takes office so that His Law will return to America.

    April 6, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  2. Tad Pole

    I really think Santorum will stay in it till the end because he really is hoping for a miracle. Imagine what this kind of foolishness would have done to our country.

    April 6, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  3. neil

    Go away Ricky,you will never ever be the nominee or the president or anything else but another failed politician.

    April 6, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  4. Joe

    OK, it's official. Santorum just went from sadly ignorning reality to whiny pathetic loser. Next stop, the cover of the Weekly World News with the claim that space aliens are interfering with his campaign.

    April 6, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  5. Jason

    Is he for real? You're still losing moron. Republicans make me laugh. The Joel Olsteen look alike is losing to the Mormon.... good times.

    April 6, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  6. miketofdal

    Coming soon to a Supreme Court near you: Santorum, who appears not like the 'will' of the majority of Repub primary voters, will sue on the grounds that the selection process for presidential candidates unfairly favors the candidate who receives the most votes.

    April 6, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  7. Common sense grandma

    Don't you just hate it when those pesky rules get in your way? I sympathize with Reverend Ricky. I wanted to be America's Next Top Model, but those stupid rules about being young, attractive, tall and thin prevented me from achieving my delusional dream.

    April 6, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  8. Cathy

    Sad. The man's huge ego will not allow him to let go... When he loses PA–his supposed home state-it will all be over.

    April 6, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  9. Justin

    Keep telling yourself you're relevant, Ricky. America is loving the crash and burn of the GOP.

    April 6, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  10. Manny

    It's time for this medieval wacko to get out the race.

    April 6, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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.
    -----------
    The Santorum campaign makes a strong argument. Florida broke the rules, and the RNC was complicit in allowing them do so. The rules were established at the 2008 convention, where all states participated in voting and establishing the rule. The rule clearly states that any primary held prior to April 1 shall award delegates proportionately. Candidates based their campaign strategies on those rules and conducted their campaigns as such. Changing the rules at the last minute is way beyond unfair. It is unjust.

    April 6, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  12. kathy smelser

    Rick can attempt to spin this any way he likes ....he is not going to win

    April 6, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  13. clarke

    So what are you saying Rick, That these people are dishonest?

    April 6, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  14. Stopthemadness

    Does anyone else have a problem with the fact the we are not being heard individually, and the our vote doesn't really count.?

    April 6, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  15. Realist

    This guy seriously needs to get over himself. The general population HATES him! He really thinks he stands any kind of chance at winning a general election? Pardon me, I have to laugh off a certain part of my body, but I have to stand to do it.

    April 6, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  16. DocNY

    He's right that delegate math is fuzzy. I want him to stay in the race not for the chance of him winning I want a brokered convention. This race has shown a lot about our process and its flaws. I want the press to cover this more instead of their slavering all over Mitt Romney the anointed one. The fix is in and it seems like its probably been in for many years now on who are nominees are. I want the one the system forced to the sidelines and refuses to go away.

    Ron Paul 2012

    April 6, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  17. Cfrench

    Poor little Ricky, always at odds with reality and facts. I suppose that helps explain his religous zealotry. Hopefully his campaign will serve as a lesson to any other jesus freaks out there that might be considering a run for public office.

    April 6, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  18. diridi

    While other idiot is a Mormon, this guy is living in blind-world. I don't think Evangelicals, and South vote for other guy, at the same time, This religion zealot never wins either. Both of these mens' ideology is stupid, not for Middle Class America.
    This election is Rich v/s Middle Class America. Romney wants to ban SS, and Medicare. Ha...i pity.

    April 6, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Oh Lordy! Can you believe this? Seriously dude? Seriously???!

    April 6, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  20. Suleiman the Magnificent

    Look at his face, that false smile, typical of a sore loser. He si desperate now, even if he wins his home state, it means nothing. A sore loser, who desperately will try anything, is not qualified to be commander in chief. Well, perhaps of a bakery or a trattoria. You can smell his desperation. He knows he is finished, yet he clings to the race, Party be damned. Rick: act like a ture patriot and leave. You have become an irrelevant joke.

    April 6, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  21. Matt from Dallas

    You gotta give Rick credit for being a good evangelical Christian. When reality doesn't meet up with how he wants to view the world, he simply denies reality and projects his own view of things instead.

    April 6, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  22. BobAD Iowa

    Rickie the "Down Hill Racer".

    April 6, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  23. TownC

    Santorum is trying anything and everything to stay relevant. If his math is this bad and if he loves to fudge numbers this much, it shows he is unfit to try to get our deficit under control. He needs to admit defeat and unite behind Mitt. He is listening to staffers who are unduly optimistic. The staffers don't want to admit defeat because it will mean they will lose their jobs. Mr. Obama needs to be defeated!! Let's not take our eye of the really important work.

    April 6, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. rs1201

    Santorum is making sure that he can never ever run as a Republican in the future. He's a bitter man and a very sore loser. His wife should talk to him and tell him in no uncertain terms..."Dear, you've lost...there'll be other chances for you to win...but for now...give it up and do it gracefully"

    April 6, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  25. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Someone needs to tell Rick that the threat of excommunication will not award the delegates he needs to win the nomination.

    April 6, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
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