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Right Turn
Posted at 01:35 PM ET, 03/14/2012

Santorum messes up, again

Rick Santorum’s incompetence again will come home to roost on Tuesday in Illinois. You’ll recall that he failed entirely to get on the ballots in Virginia and the District of Columbia. His problems didn’t stop there, ABC News reports:

In Illinois, Santorum failed to file slates of delegates in a handful of congressional districts, similar to the shortcomings he faced in Ohio. The former senator will, however, appear on Illinois’s statewide presidential-preference ballot in the March 20 primary.
The failure to file slates of delegates in some districts will cost Santorum the chance to win 10 delegates, out of the 54 allocated at Illinois’s congressional-district level. Another 15 Illinois delegates will not be awarded to any candidate in advance; those delegates can support whomever they choose at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this August.
In Illinois, candidates must collect 600 signatures in each congressional district to present full “slates,” or lists of delegates, on the primary-day ballot in each district. In addition to voting on presidential candidates, Illinois voters elect their delegates. On the ballot, next to each delegate candidate’s name, is the name of the presidential candidate they support. In four congressional districts, no delegates are supporting Santorum.
Santorum filed only 44 of the possible 54 delegates in Illinois, filing no candidates in the state’s 4th, 5th, 7th, and 13th Congressional Districts.
The 13th District, which stretches from Central to Southern Illinois, could be good territory for Santorum, according to one Illinois political insider.

Actually, he could have been in even worse shape. The Mitt Romney team could have challenged in 10 congressional districts where Santorum fell short of the required signatures. However, a source close to the Romney camp explained to me that “it would have been incumbent on us or another campaign to force him off the ballot. We decided against doing that.”

Look at it this way: Santorum got eight more delegates than Romney in Mississippi and Alabama. His Illinois goof gives those all back, plus two more.

This is not a candidate who can afford to throw away delegates. With 1,356 delegates to go, he needs to win 892 (about 66 percent). Even an error-free campaign would find that near impossible.

A Romney spokeswoman commented to me a short time ago, “The fact that Sen. Santorum cannot execute the simple tasks that are required to win the Republican nomination raises questions about his capacity to take on President Obama’s formidable political machine, much less to run the country.”

She’s got a point. The Santorum team has continually boasted that it is doing great for a tiny team with much less money. But this is not a selling point for his readiness for the general election. Do Republicans really want to entrust their nomination and chances of booting President Obama from the White House to the gang that couldn’t get its act together?

And it is not as if the campaign has bulked up since then. In fact, it spokesman bragged that “we will never be the bureaucratic behemoth the Romney campaign is.” That would be the campaign that managed to get on every ballot and out-fundraise Santorum.

What was endearing in Iowa (when he was one guy, in a pickup with no media) is now problematic and reason to conclude he hasn’t put together an organization deft enough to win the nomination. That’s not a good sign for a guy running for chief executive of the entire country.

By  |  01:35 PM ET, 03/14/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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