Last week, struggling Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum had his campaign e-mail a memo to thousands of supporters disputing the current delegate count. According to CNN, his campaign is claiming that front-runner Mitt Romney only has a total of 571 delegates while Mr. Santorum has 342. Both numbers are completely false; as of today, Mr. Romney has won 657 delegates while Mr. Santorum has only won 273. So why is Mr. Santorum claiming he has more delegates than what’s actually being reported? Because his campaign is so desperate to stay alive after a series of losses (including three primaries from last week) that they have now stooped to distorting the accuracy of the delegate count in an ill-advised attempt to quell the increasing calls for him to end his campaign.
Let’s go over the first point he addresses in the e-mail: He claims that Florida and Arizona will award their delegates proportionally, even though the two states have already awarded their delegates to Mr. Romney. Doesn’t he remember that New Gingrich made the very same request just after the Florida primaries when he lost by double-digits? As Ed Morrissey noted today, the RNC has no sway with how states choose to award their delegates, and even if they did, it is far too late in the primary process to change the delegates that were already awarded. From the CNN story I linked to above: ”Florida Republican Party Director of Communications Brian Hughes told CNN his state’s rule was accepted by the RNC and therefore it will stay a winner take all state.” The point being, neither Mr. Santorum nor Mr. Gingrich are going to change the way a state conducts their primaries, so this is nothing short of a futile attempt to deny Mr. Romney the delegates that he earned.
The next point argument from the campaign memo brings us to the Texas primary being held on May 25th. According to this story from CBS News, Texas originally wanted a primary that allowed for allocated delegates so the state could hold their primary on Super Tuesday (March 6th). Then the Justice Department forced Texas to push its primary back to May because of the issues they are having with redistricting (i.e. the Justice Department is making the case that state’s new electoral maps do not protect minority voting rights). So now that it’s becoming clearer that Mr. Romney is the presumptive nominee, Weston Martinez of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (and an ardent supporter of Mr. Santorum) is desperately trying to make the state a winner-take-all primary so that his preferred candidate has a chance to take this fight to a brokered convention. Despite Martinez’s claims that his motive is about “increasing Texas’ power in the nominating process”, it is painfully transparent that he is attempting to work with Santorum’s campaign to do anything they can to block Mr. Romney from winning the nomination. It is unprofessional and ludicrous to attempt to change the primary rules this far in the game, not to mention arduous. Santorum’s campaign and Martinez would have to get 15 out of the 62 members of the Texas Republican Party’s executive committee to sign a letter requesting an emergency meeting on the matter. From there, two-thirds of the committee would have to approve the change, and then Republican National Committee and Justice Department would also have to approve it. That hardly sounds likely.
Not only is Santorum’s campaign having an unsuccessful time convincing Florida, Arizona and Washington to award their delegates proportionally, it turns out they won’t even get all the delegates from North Dakota (a state that Mr. Santorum actually won). It was also reported that superdelegates are starting to move to Mr. Romney’s corner. So not only was Mr. Santorum’s campaign e-mail misleading and bordering on the delusional, it conveniently ignores the impossible steps it would have to take to take delegates away from Mr. Romney and change Texas’s primary system. Also, one can’t help but ask the obvious question: If neither Mr. Santorum nor Mr. Gingrich had the organizational capacity to get on the ballot in a state like Virginia, what makes them think their campaigns could strong-arm states into changing their primary system? All this is going to do is get more Republicans in Mr. Romney’s corner (including three congressmen from Texas) and further the obvious truth that the end of Mr. Santorum’s campaign is already here.
I would like to end this post on a sincere, non-partisan point: I am very happy to hear that Mr. Santorum’s daughter will be released from the hospital and is stable for now. Regardless of my opinion that he should not be our nominee, I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and hope that one day his daughter will no longer suffer from her terrible ailment. For those who don’t know, Mr. Santorum’s youngest daughter Bella (of age three) suffers from a chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18, which causes severe developmental and medical problems for young children and carries on into their adulthood.