There is much chatter that Mitt Romney will have a tough time getting to 1,144 delegates. But when you go week by week it doesn’t seem that hard after all.
He has roughly 500 delegates now. Through the end of March there are 23 winner-take-all delegates in Puerto Rico (very likely to go to Romney) and 167 delegates to be proportionately awarded (Rick Santorum can’t get 10 of those in Illinois because he did not complete a full slate of delegates). In all likelihood, Romney will be at about the 600-delegate mark at the end of March.
April 3 likely will be a banner day for Romney. Santorum isn’t on the DC ballot, and Maryland and Wisconsin are strong states for Romney. That is 98 winner-take-all delegates that in all likelihood go to Romney. He would then be up to about 700 delegates.
The next big day is April 24, with states such as New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island awarding a total of 214 delegates proportionately, and Delaware having 17 winner-take all delegates. These states, with the exception of Pennsylvania, are strong opportunities for Romney. It’s quite possible he’d pick up, conservatively calculating, another 150 or so delegates. That would put him at about 850. (His haul could well be bigger given that New York, for example, has 95 delegates.)
We go into May. There are about 430 delegates at stake. Some are strong Romney states (e.g., Oregon, Indiana) and some are not (e.g., Arkansas). If he gets 294 of the 430, he hits the 1,144 mark. But even if he get only half (215), he is only about 80 delegates away.
Romney has a slew of delegates to target on June 5 in friendly states including California and New Mexico. There are 299 delegates, including 50 winner-take-all delegates in New Jersey. Surely he could get a big chunk of those.
In other words, not only is there a discernible path to 1,144 delegates for Romney, but there is one with room to spare. This doesn’t mean he has it in the bag. But it does mean that those who imagine a brokered convention is possible or even likely should sit down with their calculators and work the numbers.