How Secure is Mitt Romney?

Independent Voter Network has been keeping a close eye on developments in the  GOP Primary for months. Based on Senator Santorum’s “suspension” of his campaign this week, we brought you a specific breakdown of delegate allocations and upcoming primaries on the horizon. Shortly after, Doug Wead, an advisor to the Paul Campaign, echoed much of those same comments in a posting at Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign website:

“Without revealing too much, and keeping in mind that this changes weekly, you would be wise to calculate that Mitt Romney has about 106 delegates less than what the national media is now showing. Santorum, even before dropping out, had about 16 less. This includes adding delegates that the media incorrectly withheld from Santorum and then subtracting its false calculations. Now add 98 delegates to Ron Paul. And you have the real picture of where it stands today.

“There is something else. Many of the delegates who have already been selected to go to Tampa and are pledged to vote for Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are actually Ron Paul activists who were chosen as delegates because they showed up and got elected as such, not because they committed to any of the candidates. We don’t yet have a complete count on any of this but it is substantial. We are in the process of taking over the GOP at many precinct and county levels. And that is translating into power at the state conventions where the delegations are chosen. The GOP establishment is trying to block this by telling their people not to vote for anyone under thirty years of age or anyone who is Hispanic. But our people are filling those delegate slots. Even we can’t keep up with the numbers.

“This means that the convention floor in Tampa will be loaded with Ron Paul supporters. And it means if Santorum releases his delegates many of them will vote for us because they were never Rick Santorum supporters in the first place.

“Don’t underestimate the power of money to influence this process. And don’t underestimate the power of money to corrupt this process.

“The presidential campaign of former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is $4 million in debt. So far Romney has declined to make a deal. This stalemate is likely to go all the way to convention. Why should either side back down?

“And keep in mind this number. 15%. Many of the remaining primary states require a candidate to get 15% of the vote before being awarded any of the delegates. With Santorum out, it is likely that both Gingrich and Paul will qualify for delegates in most, if not all of these remaining states. Why is that important? Won’t it take more than 15% to win the nomination? It is important because it means that Gingrich, without any money, will still be able to drain off a few anti-Romney, anti-Paul delegates that would have stayed home but will now help keep a Romney victory at bay.

“Texas is important. We will get no breaks from the mainstream media. So Texas will require television advertising of our own. And that will require money. Watch the next money bomb closely.”

Concerning Nevada, Wead’s comments are accurate. Reports coming out of Iowa suggest the same could be true there, as well. After our last IVN GOP Primary update, Dr. Paul won the third largest county in Missouri. Republican officials in the state admitted that “the Ron Paul supporters may dominate the congressional district meetings and seize all of Missouri’s delegates for Ron Paul.”

In addition, as of April 6th the official RNC website noted that Sen. Santorum had 202 delegates, Speaker Newt Gingrich 202, and Gov. Mitt Romney 573. However, yesterday ABC News reported on “The Fate of Rick Santorum’s Delegates” which echoed Wead’s basic point:

“But some of those delegates were never really ‘his.’ ABC estimates that 78 Santorum delegates, from his wins in states that don’t “award” their delegates –Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota, would have been free to support any candidate at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

“Another two of Santorum’s delegates were Republican National Committee super delegates, who will attend the convention by virtue of their positions in the party, and are also free to support whomever they choose in Tampa.”

This is not to suggest that Dr. Paul will be the nominee or that Gov. Romney will lose the nomination. But what it does mean is that Gov. Romney still has to campaign in primary states and devote resources to that effort in order to avoid embarrassments. It also means that Dr. Paul will, in all likelihood, have enough state wins to be placed in nomination for President. It could also affect the type of platform Republicans agree on at their National Convention. Last but certainly not least, Paul supporters will in fact control Republican State parties in a number of states which could complicate Gov. Romney’s situation as the Republican nominee for President.

One immediate area where the continued campaign will have an effect is on foreign policy. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a majority of Republicans say for the first time that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting which also suggest his macho neocon talk is a further downer with GOP voters who are not enthused with him to begin with.