If Mitt Romney manages to capture the Republican nomination, it probably won’t be because of his dynamite personality or the magnetism of his message. Instead, he will owe his victory to a superior campaign organization personified by the obsessive plodding of his diminutive delegate counter.
In the Boston headquarters, a few blocks from the North End apartment Biber, 33, shares with her husband and two young sons, she can be seen hugging black binders full of delegate information, wearing a Romney sweatshirt with the words “Legal team” stitched on the arm, or walking reporters through the campaign’s operations in major states such as Illinois, where Romney added to his delegate advantage Tuesday.
To some in the outside world, Biber is most recognizable as the legalistic voice of certain doom, quantifying the implausibility of a Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich nomination.
“It’s becoming increasingly mathematically impossible for Rick Santorum to get to the 1,144 delegates necessary to win, and they know that,” Biber said in an interview Tuesday. “That’s why they are starting to talk about things like contested conventions, which they know very well is not the way to win a general election.”
She said Santorum’s only play was to distract from Romney’s delegate advantage with “book-cooking math.”
Biber’s mother said that her daughter — an older sister to attention-grabbing triplets — has always known “what she wanted and how to get it.” Now she wants delegates, and luckily for Romney, she mapped out her strategy early.
Last year, while still at the powerhouse Washington law firm Patton Boggs, she mulled with her legal mentor, Ben Ginsberg, how the forward shift in the primary calendar would upend the nominating process and put more emphasis on delegates.
“Katie knew that was part of her mission,” said Ginsberg, a veteran of many Republican campaigns and a Patton Boggs attorney now serving as the Romney campaign’s national counsel. “And she embraced it.”
Biber has never suffered from lack of determination.
When her parents came home from the hospital with triplet sisters, Katie Biber, not quite 2, asked, “Can’t you take them back?” according to her father, and later declared “I’m here, too!” when passersby showered her sisters with attention. She described home as “chaos,” thanks also to the addition of foreign-exchange students.
From the disorder emerged a highly ordered mind.
Biber became a proficient pianist, favoring Chopin, and played clarinet in the high school band. (Her recent playlist includes Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.”) She gave up music for the debate team, where her parents said she came into her own. When it came time to leave her childhood room (it was so messy, her father said, that police responding to a false alarm about a break-in thought burglars had ransacked her quarters), the family expected her to apply to an affordable state school. Instead, she clandestinely applied to George Washington University, where she volunteered for a local congresswoman and Bob Dole’s ’96 campaign.