Romney has all but wrapped up the GOP nomination

Fifteen days ago, as dawn broke on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney led the Republican primary race only tenuously. He had won 55 percent of the delegates awarded at that point, but there were more delegates on the line that day than in the first two months of voting combined. Many of them were in precisely the kind of Southern, conservative, evangelical-heavy states that could give a jolt of momentum to Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich.

Romney at that point needed to win 50 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination but, mathematically speaking, the other candidates didn’t face much more daunting odds: Santorum needed 56 percent of the remaining delegates, while Gingrich and Ron Paul each needed 58 percent of them. If either Santorum or Gingrich could perform well enough (or poorly enough) on Super Tuesday for one of them to drop out of the race immediately, winning between 55 percent and 60 percent of the remaining delegates was a feasible task. The states and delegates — and, at least as important, the momentum — to be won Super Tuesday were bound to shape the race going forward, if not settle it.

Just before midnight that day, I wrote that Super Tuesday was “a big night toward turning the off-and-on front-runner into a highly likely nominee.” Two weeks later, including last night’s big win in Illinois, that result is even clearer.

Romney still holds 55 percent of the awarded delegates, according to the latest count at Real Clear Politics, but the race has a completely different outlook today. Santorum would have to win 75 percent of the remaining delegates; Gingrich, 84 percent; Paul, 90 percent. Romney needs just 48 percent of them.

In short, it’s mathematically over.

The important thing to watch during the next few weeks, when only four relatively small primaries will be held, is whether Romney seeks to end the contest emotionally as well, by trying to make the conservative Republicans who doubted him feel better about their apparent nominee — or whether he goes ahead and pivots toward the general election. In my view, it would be prudent for him to continue doing some of the former before moving on to the latter.

(Note: With the state tax bill consuming my attention yesterday, this is effectively a day-late edition of this week’s “2012 Tuesday” post.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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157 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

March 21st, 2012
11:33 am

Honest appraisal. Not to rush (no pun intended) things, but who do you think his running mate will be?

Don't Forget

March 21st, 2012
11:36 am

Wow, just look at the enthusiasm! lol

Jefferson

March 21st, 2012
11:43 am

So how does your boy Newt look by staying in ? Is actions louder than words ?

Kyle Wingfield

March 21st, 2012
11:49 am

Road @ 11:33: If he is smart, it will be someone about whom conservatives will be enthusiastic — thus the talk about Marco Rubio and, from some precincts of the Internet, Rand Paul. (I doubt the latter’s chances, given that Ron Paul’s support won’t be necessary for Romney to clinch the nomination.)

Bobby Jindal could be a good choice as a guy who’s well-versed in health-care and energy policy, two points on which the Romney campaign has to lay into Obama hard. He’s also from the South.

Virginia Gov. McDonnell and Ohio Sen. Portman have gotten some attention but, while I have dealt with Portman in the past and respect him, I don’t see either of them being big draws on the ticket. Ditto for Tim Pawlenty.

Paul Ryan? I think he’s more effective in Congress and isn’t going to add much emotional appeal to the ticket; he’s a little too wonky.

Chris Christie would be an obvious choice, if the GOP is prepared to enter a general election with a Northeast-heavy ticket.

And there’s always the chance Rick Santorum could be brought onto the ticket if he continues to draw a significant chunk of the party’s base. Then again, Romney seemed to exclude that possibility with a recent comment. I don’t see Gingrich or Paul being strong enough at this point to merit consideration.

Rick Perry might have been a choice for someone else, but not for Romney imo. (Oh, but how fun it would be to watch him “debate” the equally tongue-tied Joe Biden!)

Other thoughts?

Uncle Jed

March 21st, 2012
11:53 am

If only Cynthia McKinney would switch party affiliation… a little color and a fair match for Bumbling Joe.

Bart Abel

March 21st, 2012
12:14 pm

About three weeks ago, Romney and Santorum were tied in Illinois, and about two weeks ago, Romney lead in the polls by only four points. Romney turned a competitive primary into a relatively easy win by sticking to the playbook: he and his super PAC spent multiple times what his closest rival spent. This is the model. The race looks close early on. Romney and his billionaire friends vastly outspend their rivals, and Romney walks away with a win in a traditionally “blue” state (hasn’t worked so well in the deep red states). If you feel like you’ve seen this movie before, you have.

The bottom line, with a few exceptions, those with the most television commercials wins. What does that say about our us?

Dearie

March 21st, 2012
12:15 pm

Lt. Col. Allen West of Florida is my choice.

Watch his brilliant response to a Marines question on Islam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkGQmCZjJ0k

Odis

March 21st, 2012
12:18 pm

Well if you look at the primary calendar for the months of April and May, I wouldn’t be so quick to draw the conclusion that Mitt will get to 1144. Will Romney may win most of the states in April, the May primaries look to be tailor made for Santorum. I think that both Newt and Santorum are sticking in the race not because they realistically think they can win the nomination, but solely to try and prevent Mitt from reaching 1144.

Bart Abel

March 21st, 2012
12:23 pm

Appearing on CNN this morning, Romney Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom:

CNN: “Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election.”

Fehrnstrom: “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”

Fehrnstrom has essentially told Republican primary voters that they shouldn’t believe anything Romney says to win their votes because…It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch.

Don't Tread

March 21st, 2012
12:26 pm

Romney wins in the blue and purple states because he is the most liberal of all the candidates. He can spend money like a drunken sailor down here but it has no effect on the outcome.

Jefferson

March 21st, 2012
12:29 pm

Palin sure has the experience of running for VP, give her another shot.

ByteMe

March 21st, 2012
12:32 pm

Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee from the “blue states”.
Santorum will be the nominee from the “red states”.

Makes you wonder who is the GOP these days.

Meanwhile, Kyle: nice posting. Math. And facts! And I don’t think the choice of VP matters much. the VP is just a co-campaigner spouting the same basic messages. The die is pretty much cast unless the macro-environment outside the campaigns changes abruptly.

Kyle Wingfield

March 21st, 2012
12:38 pm

Odis @ 12:18: I agree Santorum in particular will have a chance in May at something of a revival. But CA and NJ in early June are winner-take-all with 222 delegates between them — almost 40 percent of what Romney needs to clinch. And I expect him to do very well in those two states.

The only winner-take-all states between now and then are ones I also expect Romney to fare well in (MD, DC, DE and, to a lesser degree, WI). At this point, I don’t see how Romney fails to get to 1,144.

jconservative

March 21st, 2012
12:47 pm

What hurts Santorum is that he gets zero votes in to many primaries/caucuses. To date Santorum has gotten zero delegates in 12 primaries/caucuses. Romney always gets votes. He may lose the primary but he always get votes.

Here are the last 6 primaries/caucuses:(from RCP)

State….Romney…..Santorum
Ala………….11…………..19
MS………….12…………..13
HA…………..9……………..5
Am Sam……9……………..0
P Rico………20…………….0
Ill…………….42…………..10

Totals……..103…………..47

Santorum may end up being the VP nominee but he would be a lousy choice. Like so many he does not have the ability to stay on message. The message is “It’s the economy…”. Santorum talks about everything but the economy.

JDW

March 21st, 2012
12:58 pm

Bart wrote “Fehrnstrom has essentially told Republican primary voters that they shouldn’t believe anything Romney says to win their votes because…It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch.”

Sounds like SOP for Mittens!

Road Scholar

March 21st, 2012
1:05 pm

I had heard somewhere that Rubio can’t run. Is there a reason why? Codi has said No again.Gates?

I think it has to be an insider to Congress so that they have someone familiar with the rules, fed law and knows whose arm to twist and how hard.

Linda

March 21st, 2012
1:05 pm

Now, on to Nov.
What matters is the swing states. Here they are, ranked by likelihood that Obama will loose them, the margin of Obama’s win in ‘08 & the indicators, including their previous historical voting records (prior to ‘08), Obama’s unpopularity in them today, election results in ‘09 & ‘10, union influence, etc.

http://www.conservapedia.com/Swing_state

Jefferson

March 21st, 2012
1:18 pm

The GOP just loves shotgun weddings.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 21st, 2012
1:35 pm

Etch a Sketch for the Win!

Sounds like they are playing the far right for fools.

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
1:43 pm

Well, it does look like Romney will be the GOP candidate. I shall vote for him. He’ll be OK.

The people of Europe and China will love him. He has nice manners. So nice that even Democrats will see the folly of insulting him in their usual manner..

Rich people will love him because he’s one of them (as most presidents are).

If Romney changes his mind on a matter, it will be because he has new information on the subject.

He already knows how governmental healthcare can fail so he won’t make the mistakes of ObamaCare.

As to V-President, we will need a “cowboy honest” type to go with our ruling “smoothie”. Perry might be too strong and Rubio too smooth himself. I know!! Bring Zell Miller to Washington! We need one honest man there. (besides Romney, of course!).

Linda

March 21st, 2012
2:00 pm

Road@1:05, Our whole problem is that far too few of the DC bunch are familiar with the rules, specifically the constitution. As for fed. law, Romney’s gonna do away with half of it. He’s packing his favorite book. One side of his book reads, “KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN” & the other side reads, “MATCHES.”

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
2:11 pm

JDW, Finnie & Jeffie….

Etch-a-sketch” you say? Now that sounds like the words of a good Democrat.

Don’t you play “Fetch-a-stretch” everyday for Obama? You forget the national debt, the price of gasoline, unemployment and the shadow of inflation covering the land. It’s a stretch but you do it.

Now go draw us another rosy picture of the present administration. That takes a big stretch of imagination.

ragnar danneskjold

March 21st, 2012
2:18 pm

Agree broadly with the essay, and agree that Rubio has to be everyone’s first choice for VP – would be a great president some day, too. I really like Jindal – his genius is unquestionable – but he can bore sometimes, almost as wonkish as my guy Ryan. How about the governor South Carolina, Nikki Haley? Under the impression that conservatives in SC would like to see her move on.

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
2:26 pm

ragnar,

Yes yes Nikki Haley would be a great idea. Sugar & spiace and everything nice! And she’s smart!

I haven’t seen much of Rubio but he sounds good. Just be sure his birth certificate is Miami and not Havana. Well, you know how some folks are!!

ragnar danneskjold

March 21st, 2012
2:30 pm

Dear Dusty, Rubio is the real deal. He speaks better than any of the current GOP candidates – almost Reaganesque – and he writes well too.

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
2:38 pm

ragnar,

Maybe Kyle will give us a Wingfield window on vice presidential possibilities. Seems like we could use some smart young ideas in Washington.

Reaganesque! Them’s presidential words!

MarkV

March 21st, 2012
2:39 pm

Dusty,

I am glad you have included a laugh line in your post:

“If Romney changes his mind on a matter, it will be because he has new information on the subject.”

DannyX

March 21st, 2012
2:42 pm

Linda are you aware that Obama has a lead in just about every swing state right now?

Virginia Rasmussen +8
Nevada Rasmussen +6
Florida Rasmussen +3

Real Clear Politics Average
Ohio +4
Wisconsin +11
Pennsylvania + 5

saywhat?

March 21st, 2012
2:45 pm

“Romney has all but wrapped up the GOP nomination”
_________________________________________________
Quite true. All Romney has to do now is prepare for the overwhelming loss he will suffer in November. He can name anybody he wants as vice presidential candidate, because it won’t make a difference. The Republican turn out for the general election will still be at historic lows. Get ready for four more years of the man who restored responsible, intelligent governing to the White House.

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
2:51 pm

MarkV

Now don’t cast doubts! But glad I give you a laugh.

I am quite sure Romney changes his mind when he finds information that leads him to a difference of previous opinion.

You know. Kinda like Obama’s pre-election promises. He must have found new info on his arrival at the White House because he has certainly changed his mind on a number of promises he had made previously. Live & learn, right?

saywhat?

March 21st, 2012
2:51 pm

DannyX- Rasmussen is cleary a liberal pollster. Conservapedia is the definitive go-to source for all accurate information. Duh!

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
2:59 pm

say what?? 2:45

More wishful thinking! You think there will be a low GOP turnout? Uh huh…Ok…..

With all the unhappiness generated in Washington under the Obama administration and you think Democrats will be ready to “do it again”?

Even Democrats can get tired of dismal debt, do nothing politics and jobs scarce as hen’s teeth while the bank carries off their homes.

Think about it. You,too, may come to realization. .

George Walton

March 21st, 2012
3:06 pm

Romney was picked as the designated loser………….a few years ago.
.
The charade only works on retards and/or R versus D dummies.
.
Don’t worry………..Ron Paul supporters will pick up the pieces of our broken republic.
Just hurry up and get it over with.
You mindless ,tax-guzzling , pension nazi , metro/federo-sexual zombies are annoying.
.

Dusty

March 21st, 2012
3:17 pm

George Walton 3:06

Aren’t you just the bluebird of happiness. Bad day in the boonies or something?

Ron Paul supporters, all six of them, will probably vote for Romney. He’s the best choice they have.

And….. all of us ” mindless, tax-guzzling, pension nazi, metro/federo-sexual zombies” and a few others wish you a pleasant afternoon. You certainly need one.

Linda

March 21st, 2012
3:35 pm

DannyX@2:42, According to Rasmussen, the 4 Core Swing States are Fla., NC. Ohio & VA. As of 3/16, Santorum was leading Obama by 4 points & Obama was leading Romney by 4 points. The polls between Obama & the GOP various candidates don’t mean as much as the polls will mean between Obama & the specific GOP candidate.

Fla. went with Obama by a mere 2.8%. In ‘10 they elected a Rep. governor & Senator Rubio who is extremely popular. Obama’s approval rating is below 50%. There are grudges re: NASA, etc.

NC went with Obama by a mere .3%. The current Dem. gov. is highly unpopular & polling badly amidst scandals.

Ohio went with Obama by 4.6% & elected Reps. in ‘10.

VA went with Obama by 6%, but elected a popular Rep. governor in ‘09 & a Rep. state senate in ‘11. It’s now a red state since the state house was already red. VA had plans to drill off its coast & Obama placed a presidential moratorium on the OCS, costing VA lost revenues & jobs.

Don’t forget that the lawsuits by two dozen states over Obamacare include Fla. & VA & new lawsuits over Obamacare violating religious freedom that includes 5 colleges, a TV station, 4 plantiffs & 7 states include Fla. & Ohio. Don’t forget all the states that Obama is going after regarding immigration & voting fraud. Don’t forget that Obama has offended Israel (the Jews), the Catholics & all religions in general. And please don’t forget that everyone is paying $4 for gas.

At least Obama can still count on CA & Ill. Maybe.

Ernest T. Bass

March 21st, 2012
3:38 pm

Newt ” Moonbase ” Gingrich would be my choice for VP.

That way the republicans could really flush this next election in grand style.

General Election: Romney vs. Obama FOX News Obama 46, Romney 42 Obama +4

General Election: Romney vs. Obama Pew Research Obama 54, Romney 42 Obama +12

General Election: Romney vs. Obama Bloomberg Obama 47, Romney 47 Tie

General Election: Romney vs. Obama Reuters/Ipsos Obama 52, Romney 41 Obama +11

Its already over folks. Obama already has a huge lead over “Cheesy Grits” and he hasn’t really got his campaign in full gear yet.

Once Obama can start concentrating on “Cheesy Grits” his lead will only increase.

Ernest T. Bass

March 21st, 2012
3:40 pm

Pretty telling that even a Fox News poll, which is in the tank for the Republicans, shows Obama winning easily.

Rogue Squalor

March 21st, 2012
3:46 pm

Wow, the expert heard the dumbmasses say Rubio can’t run.

Won’t run jackass!

MarkV

March 21st, 2012
3:48 pm

Dusty

I have no doubts that Romney will “change his mind” when he finds information that leads him to a difference of previous opinion. Like an information that the new “opinion” would get him more votes in the general election.

And I am not so naive to think that the Democrats do not “change opinions” just as easily.

Jefferson

March 21st, 2012
3:50 pm

Based on how Romneys done so far, you can bet he will pull a McCain on the VP nod. Just look at what he can’t close the deal on now…

Linda

March 21st, 2012
3:53 pm

Obama has restored responsible, intelligent governing?
His adm. has racked up more natl. debt in 3 years than Bush did in 8 years.
His budget last year was voted down in the Senate by 0-97. Reid is trying every way he can to prevent a vote on Obama’s ‘13 budget. It includes the Democrats’ dream of higher taxes, higher spending & more deficits that add another $10 T to the debt.
The US suffered its first credit downgrade in history.
The unemployment rate has been higher every single solitary month during Obama’s 3 years than it was during any month during Bush’s 8 years.
I’ve posted at least 20 ways that Obama has caused gas prices to escalate.
His signature legislation is at the Supreme Court.
There are a historic number of law suits between the states & fed. govt.
Obama has trashed the Constitution & ignored congress.
Don’t get me started.

Reebok

March 21st, 2012
4:08 pm

Make Santorum the VP pick so Obama is guaranteed another four years!

Kyle Wingfield

March 21st, 2012
4:16 pm

ragnar @ 2:18: I think Haley’s VP prospects dimmed a bit when she endorsed Romney but couldn’t deliver her state to him. But she will be a possibility down the road.

Jefferson

March 21st, 2012
4:18 pm

I think the GOP has lost sight of the ball.

Linda

March 21st, 2012
4:25 pm

The national debt has increased an average of $4 B per day in ‘12.
It has increased $152 M per hour.
It has increased $112,000 per second.
We are spending $9 B per week on interest.
We will be spending $10 B per week on interest by 11/12.
It will continue to escalate at an ever increasing pace.
The Buffet Rule would raise $31 to $42 B over 11 years, an amt. equal to what the fed. govt. spends every 5 days. As much as Obama has talked about it, he did not include it in his ‘13 budget, because that it all it is: talk.
If the govt. taxed all taxable income 100%, it would take 3 years to pay down the national debt.
If the govt. took every cent we made, it would take 2 years to pay down the debt.
The fed. govt. spends 75% of what we earn every year.

The liberals either want the US to be destroyed OR don’t care OR are too stupid to see the worst predictable disaster in our history right before our eyes.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 21st, 2012
4:26 pm

I think Obozo would LOVE for Americans to lose sight of the ball–$1.5 trillion deficits, 8-10% unemployment, and Iran developing the bomb.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 21st, 2012
4:29 pm

Let’s not drill here–it would mean we wouldn’t have to keep our military in the Middle East. Obozo has to keep feeding that military-industrial complex.

carlosgvv

March 21st, 2012
4:29 pm

At the current rate, we’ll have a ticket of Romney and Santorum. That old saw of “only a heartbeat away” will take on a whole new meaning if we have to contemplate Santorum as president.

JohnnyReb

March 21st, 2012
4:40 pm

The etch-a-sketch thing plays right into Liberal hands. They are the ones who spout only a Moderate will gather undecided votes. Legacy media spouts it all the time. If it was a true election principle, you would not be hearing it from media in the tank for Obama. Conservatives know what happens when Republicans run a Moderate.

Romney needs to tack a little more Right and stay there. More telling the leaches if they want free stuff to vote for Barry. And, he needs to speak of more than the economy. We are sold on his economic credentials. The economy may improve to the point that it diminishes his experience there. The economy is important, but it’s not the most important aspect of this election.

JOE COOL~DoWnToWn THUG

March 21st, 2012
4:40 pm

Lets keep it going…..Mittens shows us everyday how weak he is.