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Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 03/07/2012

Romney campaign argues his delegate lead is nearly insurmountable

BOSTON – After Super Tuesday failed to offer clarity in the still-turbulent Republican presidential race, Mitt Romney’s campaign began making the case Wednesday that he has built a lead in the delegate count that is nearly insurmountable.

 Romney narrowly won the key battleground of Ohio on Tuesday, but
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney celebrate during a Super Tuesday night gathering in Boston. (Justin Sullivan - GETTY IMAGES)
victories elsewhere by Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich gave both of Romney’s top rivals reason to continue in the race. Romney’s top aides moved aggressively Wednesday to argue that Romney had won more than half of all delegates awarded to date and now holds nearly 40 percent of the 1,144 delegates required to secure the GOP nomination.

“Super Tuesday dramatically reduced the likelihood that any of Governor Romney’s opponents can obtain the Republican nomination,” Rich Beeson, the Romney campaign’s political director wrote in a memorandum to reporters on Wednesday. “As Governor Romney’s opponents attempt to ignore the basic principles of math, the only person’s odds of winning they are increasing are President Obama’s.”


Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters at his "Super Tuesday" primary election night rally in Boston. (BRIAN SNYDER - REUTERS)
Beeson argued that the remaining 34 primaries and caucuses “have turned into a steep uphill climb” for Romney’s opponents because the calendar offers only “incremental opportunities” for them to wage a comeback. And Beeson argued that with many of the remaining states holding spring primaries, which usually have higher turnout than caucuses, Romney’s nationwide organization will be a big advantage.

“Neither opponent succeeded in closing his delegate deficit, and the calendar ahead offers them dwindling opportunities to close the gap,” Beeson wrote. “Looking at the weeks ahead, the remaining 34 contests have turned into a steep uphill climb for Governor Romney’s opponents due to his 245-delegate lead and the rules for allocating delegates.”

Read Beeson’s full memo below.

 TO:                         Interested Parties

FROM:                  Rich Beeson; Political Director

DATE:                    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

RE:                          Our Opponents’ Last Stand: A Postmortem

Super Tuesday voting significantly increased Governor Romney’s delegate lead and makes it increasingly difficult for any of his opponents to catch him.  To date, Governor Romney has won more than 50% of all delegates awarded and now holds nearly 40% of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Yesterday’s six wins come on top of five consecutive wins leading up to Super Tuesday. Governor Romney now has more than twice as many delegates as Senator Santorum and four times more than Speaker Gingrich. He has won twice as many states as Senator Santorum and seven times more than Speaker Gingrich. Governor Romney won 60% of Super Tuesday states. By contrast, in 2008 John McCain won only 41% (9 of 21) of the Super Tuesday states. 

Neither opponent succeeded in closing his delegate deficit, and the calendar ahead offers them dwindling opportunities to close the gap.  Looking at the weeks ahead, the remaining 34 contests have turned into a steep uphill climb for Governor Romney’s opponents due to his 245-delegate lead and the rules for allocating delegates. Here is a look at the situation they face:

 ­   There is only one Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday (and its 437 delegates) was a one-time opportunity for Governor Romney’s opponents to diminish his delegate lead and claim any kind of “comeback.”  They failed yesterday, and the calendar now only offers incremental opportunities to make headway. 

 ­   Few large delegates each: April 24 offers 231 delegates, and June 5offers 299 delegate prizes remain.  Only two remaining dates offer more than 200 dates.  Neither provides significant pick-up opportunities for Senator Santorum or Speaker Gingrich.  For example, on April 24, more than 40% of New York’s 92 bound delegates will be allocated proportionally, and the remainder will be allocated on a winner-take-all basis to the first-place finisher in each of New York’s congressional districts.  Delaware (17 delegates) is the only state on April 24 to award its delegates on a statewide winner-take-all basis.  Among the June 5 contests, only New Jersey (50 delegates) awards its delegates on a statewide winner-take-all basis.

 ­   The allocation rules prevent large delegate gains. Only four of the remaining 34 contests award their delegates on a statewide winner-take-all basis. The four statewide winner-take-all states (Utah, New Jersey, D.C. and Delaware) are unlikely to offer Senator Santorum or Speaker Gingrich victories.  In fact, Santorum isn’t even eligible for any of D.C.’s delegates because he failed to qualify for the ballot there.  Even if Senator Santorum or Speaker Gingrich win one of the 30 remaining states, Governor Romney is still likely to finish second, thus taking a considerable portion of the delegates.

 ­   Primaries begin to dominate the calendar.  Before Super Tuesday, nearly half of all contests were caucuses, but now only 7 of the remaining 34 contests are caucuses.  These contests require a national organization that Governor Romney’s opponents simply don’t have.

Super Tuesday dramatically reduced the likelihood that any of Governor Romney’s opponents can obtain the Republican nomination. As Governor Romney’s opponents attempt to ignore the basic principles of math, the only person’s odds of winning they are increasing are President Obama’s.

 

By  |  11:03 AM ET, 03/07/2012

 
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