Listen closely. Do you hear that faint singing? What you hear is the proverbial fat lady signaling the GOP race is over and Mitt Romney will be the nominee.
Santorum and Gingrich are unlikely to concede the race before early June, which puts the GOP on the same schedule as the Democrats in 2008 (Hillary Clinton dropped out on June 7th). Despite their public declarations to the contrary, it is impossible for either Gingrich or Santorum to gain the 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination, and almost impossible for Romney not to reach that level.
Santorum’s campaign has privately admitted that he cannot win the nomination outright. In a memo Santorum adviser John Yob argued that they have a strategy to win — at a contested convention. The major problem with that strategy is that it’s hard to see a scenario that ends with a brokered convention.
Looking objectively at the remaining contests the former Massachusetts Governor will reach the magic 1,144 number by late May or first week of June at the latest.
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Including last night Romney has 568 delegates 55% of those chosen. He needs only 46% of the remaining of the remaining delegates to win. The former Pennsylvania Senator needs 70% of the remaining delegates for 1,144. Newt Gingrich needs 80%.
A few weeks ago I said the only way for Gingrich to win is for both Romney and Santorum are caught bed with a prostitute– and each other. His chances have deteriorated since then. With his third place finish in yesterday’s Louisiana primary Gingrich has won only a single primary outside his home state of Georgia.
As for Santorum, with all the talk about yesterday’s “big win” the former Pennsylvania Senator only put a five delegate dent into Romney’s two to one delegate lead.
After yesterday’s Louisiana primary, the action moves north to the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, and West, all areas where Romney will do well.
Many of those remaining primaries are big states, winner-take-all and favor Romney. Next Tuesday three of those winner-take all primaries DC, Maryland and Wisconsin take place. Polls show Romney will win all three adding 98 delegates to his total.
Romney is also likely to take the winner-take-all primaries in the liberal leanings states of California and New Jersey (where Governor Christie is a strong supporter) the first week of June and the heavily Mormon Utah at the end of the month leaving Romney to within 216 of his goal.
The end of April sees the primaries in Romney strongholds. In total 236 delegates will be selected from Delaware (winner-take-all), Rhode Island Connecticut, New York and Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania (RI and CT are proportional while PA and NY delegates are elected by district).
The sole Santorum victory in those primaries should come from his home state, although a win on his home turf is not a given. Santorum is more conservative than Pennsylvania’s voter base (Obama won the state by 11% and Santorum lost his 2006 re-election bid by 18%).
The May primaries are all proportional, meaning win or lose Romney will continue his march to 1,144. California and New Jersey in early June should put him over the top. Even if he is still a bit short, just as they did in the 2008 Democratic campaign, the super delegates will rally behind the Romney putting him over the top.
National polls of GOP voters show Romney’s lead surging over recent days Gallup reports Romney building his lead to 14% over Santorum, a ten point jump in one week.
Over the past week or so conservatives have begun to coalesce behind the front-runner, most notably former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the leader of conservative Republicans in the Senate, Jim DeMint. Freedomworks, one of the few national tea party organizations dropped its objection to Romney and suggested that Republicans rally around Romney (not an endorsement but a major step).
While not endorsing Romney, on this week’s Sunday morning news shows Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham all said they believed that Romney will be the nominee and it was time for GOP voters to rally around Romney.
This movement will continue and will even accelerate as the former Massachusetts governor moves closer to the magic number.
The mainstream media will tell you there the GOP has doubts about the Romney and Santorum, which is true. What they don’t understand is Republican voters will enthusiastically support
their party’s standard-bearer because defeating Barack Obama and putting and end to his progressive policies is crucial to the future of this republic.