Why Mitt Romney’s Virginia win could matter. A lot.
By Chris Cillizza,
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s victory in Virginia, according to the Associated Press, will be quickly forgotten as the eyes of the political world turn to the primaries in Ohio and Tennessee — contests expected to be more closely fought on this Super Tuesday night.
It shouldn’t be.
Jane Lough, front right, hands back Jim Gallon's identification card as Tom Lord hands a ballot to Jim's wife, Barbara, as the Gallons vote during the Super Tuesday's Republican primaries at Keister Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Va., Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (AP Photo/The Daily News-Record, Justin Falls)
Under state rules, if a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, which Romney almost certainly will, then the delegates will be parceled out in a winner-take-all format — both by congressional district and statewide. That means that Romney will claim the three delegates for each of the 11 districts in the state as well as the 13 delegates for winning the statewide vote with more than 50 percent.
That 46-delegate haul amounts to roughly one-quarter of the 187 delegates that Romney had won coming into Super Tuesday. It’s nearly 70 percent of the 65 delegates former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum had accumulated in the first two months of the race. It’s 16 delegates more than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has won in the race to date.
If you believe that Super Tuesday — and the race to come — is a battle for delegates, than you need to recognize the importance of Romney’s Virginia victory.