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. KellyinBoston

    Santorum does seem delusional.

    March 12, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum .

    Lawrence Welk or Pat Boone

    March 12, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. Just Say No to Flipper

    Rmoney is running scared. His campaign reeks of desperation.

    March 12, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Rand Paul Review

    This is a pretty ridiculous article. No mention of Paul whatsoever? You don't even mention him on CNN Politics. CNN does not report the news, it makes it up. Where's the article on Ron Paul hugely over-performing in the delegates counts in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, etc?

    March 12, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. T'sah From Virginia

    Fuzzy math for all of them – the only correct math is what adds up in November against President Obama and that will determine that NONE of them will win!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    March 12, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. Steve

    If there is a contested convention and Santorum somehow gets the nomination, it will be a disaster for the Republican party. There would be a landslide victory for President Obama. Moderates of the party will feel marginalized as their votes would essentially be voided. Talk about a state of disarray!

    March 12, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Speaking to the women of this great country......Do you want either of these men to tell you how to live your lives??? Do you want them telling what you can do for your health care??? Do you want them telling you what you can do to benefit your own bodies??? This is what the Republicant party is trying to do....They aren't concerned with providing jobs or anything that will improve our society...all they are concerned about is what YOU can do with your own body... They and their followers have talked of nothing else for months as the election grows closer. If you vote for the Republicans you are giving in to changes in your life style that will prove to be a sad day for women!!!!!!

    March 12, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. sanda s

    The GOP candidates are down south trying to get their votes. Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are RED states because they all hate black people and always will and the republicans known just what they want to hear.. They are not very smart white people, just listen to the way they talk. They need to grow up! They need to get something in their empty head! But I guess that's the way country southern people are. Come on, let's play catch up, if your smart enough!

    March 12, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. Andrew

    I used to think my race (white) people were smart people, I was wrong! I'm ashame to be a republican. You may think I'm just saying this, but it's the truth. This is not "AMERICA"

    March 12, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. GI Joe.

    What's new. They argue with each other all the time. Heck, sometimes they flip and flop and argue with themselves.

    March 12, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. I'M JUST SAYING TOO....

    Mr. Santorum, DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING BESIDES SLAMMING THE OTHER GUY TO SAY?? All we hear from you is to put down someone else. What is YOUR agenda? Can we have a hint? Is that to much to ask considering you want people to actually vote for you? What are YOU going to do about WHAT????????

    March 12, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    A Santorum presidency would be a disaster to women. This man is so far out of the norm that I can not imagine any intelligent women voting for him. Sometimes I think he is actually running for Pope! Obama in 2012

    March 12, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Romney has a large lead. He needs to keep winning some delegates in every contest in order to win. Santorum needs to win big in all of the remaining contests in order to win the nomination. It might not work and have a contested convention.

    March 12, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. Valentina

    I wish Santorum just went away... seriously. Doesn't this guy understand that he is harming GOP chances of taking the White House back in November with his non-stop crazy talk. Please, Rick, just go away, we are tired of listening to you.

    March 13, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. Paul Pastora

    Whoever wrote this article brings up that campaigns are fighting over delegate math and then doesn't even mention anything about Gingrich or Paul. Paul even has an actual controversy over the fact that he won the U.S. Virgin Islands and most mass media including CNN continue to say Romney did. The media is trying to push two candidates down ou throats and I think that most of the people here aren't buying it. Watch out for Ron Paul in a brokered convention. Whoever wrote this should be ashamed with themselves that they are doing fair and balanced reporting. Just following orders obviously.

    March 13, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  16. Marie MD

    It's the south people, they don't know math! Heck, they don't much about anything except bibles.

    March 13, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  17. sbssue1

    What's to think about? Romney is the right man for the job. We don't need a dictator like Santorum in office. Newt, get behind Romney and do the right thing. If Romney does not get the votes, Obama will because most don't like Santorum's beliefs.

    March 13, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  18. Riley Tiger

    I certainly hope Rick Santorum will pull out a victory. I believe that under Mitt Romney it would be another 4 years of Obama. Mitt is like any other Washington insider. He has the money and believes the one with the most money is the one who should run the country. If that is the case Obama wins again and the US loses. If the nomination is for Mitt, I will probably vote for Obama. At least with Obama, we already know him. It wouldn't be another 4 years of dealing with an unknown. Vote for Santorum.

    March 13, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  19. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romney who can save America!!

    March 13, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  20. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Looks like the GOP nomination quandry can only ensure one thing – AN OBAMA RE-ELECTION!

    Frankly, for independents like me, Obama & the Democrats with all their shortcomings still seem to be the BEST & ONLY BET, unless the GOP & their Presidential (hopeful) line-up totally revamp themselves.

    March 13, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. moving1

    Nice twist, and I had to give it to the Republicans. They can switch any promlems and let it looks good.

    March 13, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    The GOP is wasting their time. Romney doesn't care either because the day after Obama undoubtedly wins re-election, Romney will just return to one of his mansions and fall asleep on his pillow stuffed with thousands of dollars and life for him will return to normal. Let's be clear about why Romney is really running for President: because he is a bored millionaire and this is just a hobby to him – another quest for adventure and power. Willard doesn't care at all about America – he just wants to see if he can win at this little game called running for President because it's just something to do to kill time in his idyllic utopian world of care free living.

    Good bye, Willard. Go back to your little world of selfishness and hatered for average Americans and the disgust you have for the very poor.

    March 13, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Dance This Mess Around

    What are they going to fight about next ?
    Who left the toilet seat up ?
    Flush.

    March 13, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Dance This Mess Around

    With each contest, more Americans have the chance to cast a vote against President Obama. More voters become engaged with the Republican Party. And the media can continue to focus on the Republican candidates and their solutions to the problems ........

    Still waiting for those solutions.
    Have they "thunk" up any yet ?
    Hello, is there anybody in there ?
    Nod if you can hear me,
    is there anyone at home ?

    March 13, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Solid

    458 – 203. Only the delusional would think Santorum still has a chance. Coincidentally, only the delusional would say 90% of what comes out of Santorum's mouth.

    March 13, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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