Campaigns spar over delegate math
March 12th, 2012
06:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Campaigns spar over delegate math

Atlanta (CNN) - In the increasingly bitter war over who has the edge in the fight for the GOP presidential nomination, the Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum campaigns on Sunday and Monday publicized so-called "internal" memos detailing each candidate's path to victory.

In a lengthy memo intended to counter Romney's claim to be the inevitable Republican nominee, Santorum's campaign called Romney's arithmetic a "defensive smokescreen" put up to "distract from the major problems Romney faces" in state and local delegate conventions.

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The conclusion: the "Romney math doesn't add up." What's more, the Santorum memo claimed, the race for delegates will soon move into geography more beneficial to Santorum.

"Simply put, time is on our side," the memo, written by Michigan consultant John Yob, stated.

The Santorum memo also claimed Romney needs more delegates than his campaign currently asserts.

"Even Romney's own counters admit that he needs to earn almost 50% of the remaining delegates in order to win the nomination," the memo read. "We believe this number is higher than 50%."

CNN's latest delegate estimate shows Romney with a large lead. He has 458 delegates, with Santorum at 203 delegates. A candidate needs 1,144 to win the Republican nomination.

In its own memo released to the press Sunday, Romney's political director said the contests this past weekend did not help Santorum catch up.

"He again fell short of making a dent in our campaign's already large delegate lead," the memo said. "He won less than 50% of the available delegates on Saturday, well short of the 65% of remaining delegates needed to secure the nomination."

On Monday Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul reiterated the point.

"Sen. Santorum may be used to making up his own 'facts,' but he can't make up his own math," Saul said. "Mitt Romney has won over 50% of the delegates up for grabs thus far and has a clear path to the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination. On the other hand, Sen. Santorum has only won 22% of the delegates so has to win 65% of the remaining ones. With delegates being proportionally allocated in almost all of the upcoming states, there's just not a chance for him to catch up before Gov. Romney clinches the nomination."

When Romney was asked on Fox News about the Santorum camp's delegate math, he said "we would be signaling our doom" if the nomination race comes down to a contested national convention where no single candidate has enough delegates to receive the nomination.

He added: "We need to select someone to become our nominee, get that person nominated and get focused on rebounding and getting" President Barack Obama out of the White House.

While the Santorum memo did not push for a contested convention, it did say the candidate has a chance to win the nomination if there is more than one ballot at the convention.

"Mitt Romney must have a majority on the first ballot in order to win the nomination because he will perform worst on subsequent ballots as grassroots conservative delegates decide to back the more conservative candidate. Subsequently, Santorum only needs to be relatively close on the initial ballot in order to win on a later ballot as Romney's support erodes," said the memo.

In addition, the memo predicted the lengthy, proportional delegate-selection process will ultimately favor Santorum because state and local nominating conventions give the "most conservative" candidate the edge.

"Anyone who knows about state conventions knows that the most conservative candidate has a big advantage over a moderate candidate," the memo declared, presumably considering Romney the "moderate" in the race. States which choose delegates through caucuses, such as Iowa and Nevada, end up deciding delegate allocations to the national convention through a series of these state conventions, and campaigns with strong state organizations can help influence these allocations.

The one point missing from the Santorum memo: Romney's campaign has a strong organization that has been able to outmaneuver its opponents when it comes to delegate persuasion. Whether Santorum can compete on that front remains to be seen.

Late Monday the Santorum campaign sent out a fundraising pitch with the memo attached, saying "Don’t let Mitt Romney’s campaign fool you into thinking this race is over because Mitt Romney needs this race to end tomorrow."

Also see:

Gingrich sins 'well short of the glory of God'

Santorum's war on teleprompters

Gibbs: Kansas was 'instructive' for Romney

Former presidential candidates play pundit

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Emmy Skaddittle

    well they do teach math in college and they wouldn't want to be snobs. Wait, they all have advanced college degrees

    March 13, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. once upon a horse

    thank God for fingers and toes so Republicans can count.

    March 13, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Wylie-Mike

    So, Santorum wants this to go to the Convention where the will of the voters is set aside. This will then leave it to an elite few to choose the candidate.
    Voters, if we want our vote to count; be decisive now and don't leave this to a Washington D.C. Elite that vote their self interest.

    March 13, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Phillip Cavetroll

    Yea we get it. He is very rich with rich friends and he has given more to charity than most people will earn their whole lives. What do you people want? A failure for president?

    March 13, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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