Super Tuesday Preview

Are we headed for a brokered convention?

Super Tuesday is here and the day is proving to be critical for every candidate in the race for the GOP nomination. As I wrote last week, Tuesday shifts the race from one of political perception into one of political reality. Some of our readers aren’t going to like what I have to say here, but please know I believe to my core this is the case. I’ve recently noticed a lot of conservatives like to read news that confirms their own beliefs, even if that news is not totally speaking from a view of reality. Gingrich fans get upset that I don’t tell them Gingrich has an excellent shot at winning. Santorum fans get angry when I suggest Romney is better positioned for a portion of the election. Paul fans get upset because I remind them that even though the race is about the delegates, Ron Paul has less than 20 pledged and maybe another 20 or so beyond that. Romney fans don’t like that I suggest this thing could slip away from them under a perfect storm.

I’ll remind everyone I have no dog in this fight. If the election were held here in Illinois today I have no idea who I would vote for. So for this post I’m just writing it as I see it and I hope you’ll read what I have to say with an open mind, not one so attached to a candidate that it can’t see reality through the trees of personally desired perception.

Let’s get started.

Super Tuesday, 2012

There are ten states that hit the polls this coming Tuesday. These states are Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. I wholeheartedly believe that if Romney is to be held back to the point of not being able to eventually gain enough delegates for the convention, it will have to happen on Super Tuesday. That said, unless Rick Santorum crushes Newt Gingrich in Tennessee and Oklahoma, and even picks up some delegates in Georgia, I do not see any of the not-Romney’s getting enough delegates either.

Which really leaves us with a potential mess on our hands. Especially considering the convention is on August 27th, leaving only two months for a candidate to build a full scale general election campaign against incumbent Barack Obama. If we’re left to watch this GOP fight continue on through the convention with none of the candidates holding 1,144 or more delegates, it’s going to be several times more difficult to win the White House in November.

The following map is from our very own delegate tracker at

The map shows states won by each candidate thus far. Keep in mind some states are proportional as far as delegate allocation goes. Some are also states that did not bind delegates or even pledge them during the primary election. According to our best “conditional” delegate count, the following applies.

  1. Mitt Romney – 165
  2. Rick Santorum – 85
  3. Newt Gingrich – 32
  4. Ron Paul – 19

The numbers vary widely depending on who you ask. The Wall Street Journal shows much higher totals, for example, and Politico shows much lower. No one knows exactly how many delegates will show up for each candidate… yet. Those totals will become more clear as we get through March and April, and non-binding states begin deciding where their delegates go.

Now let’s take a look at each candidate.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is wise to place so much emphasis on his original home state of Georgia. In terms of delegates, Georgia is the king of the day Tuesday. The state holds 76 delegates. The delegates are distributed proportionally, but Gingrich is polling very well there and may end up holding a full basket. For Georgia there are 31 at large delegates that are allocated by percentage. The higher the percentage of the vote, the more delegates the candidate receives. 42 delegates are allocated by Congressional District. If a candidate gains the majority of the vote in a CD, he gets all delegates for that district. 20% or higher of the at large vote is required to obtain at large delegates. 3 delegates are allocated to the RNC.

It’s highly likely that Ron Paul will gain zero delegates from Georgia. It’s somewhat likely that Santorum will gain none and remotely possible that Romney can’t pull out any either. If Gingrich were able to sweep Georgia it would be a huge boost for his total count. Gingrich would find himself at 108 delegates, which would be a good jump.

Unfortunately for Gingrich, I don’t see enough room elsewhere for him to make up enough to set him on a path to 1,144 total delegates. Other states where Gingrich could pick up delegates include Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma, Alaska, North Dakota and Idaho. The problem is Santorum maintains a heavy lead over Gingrich in all of these states. In Ohio, the next biggest state in terms of delegates, Gingrich runs in a distant 3rd behind both Santorum and Romney.

I think the total delegate pick-up for Gingrich on Tuesday might be around 100 or so. Which would place him at 132 total delegates.

Ron Paul

I know a lot of my Ron Paul supporting friends keep harping on the fact that this race is all about the delegates, but I don’t see how bringing up that fact is supposed to help Ron Paul’s shot at winning this thing. Ron Paul currently sits at 19 bound delegates. If we’re to be generous on the unbound and assign him twice as many, he still fails to reach 40. To make matters worse, Paul currently polls at less than 10% in almost every single state holding elections on Tuesday. The only state where he crosses the 20% threshold is Virginia, where he and Mitt Romney are the only two candidates on the ballot.

Of the available Virginia delegates, only 13 are divided up by the at large vote. The rest are winner-takes-all by congressional district. (3 delegates available through RNC)

My best guess is Ron Paul ends Super Tuesday with less than 30 new delegates. It might possibly be less than 20.

Rick Santorum

Santorum is poised to do very well in Tennessee, Oklahoma and other safe red states (outside of Georgia). Santorum’s greatest battle will happen in Ohio where 63 delegates are up for grabs. 15 are allocated by the at large vote, so Santorum can afford to lose the at large vote IF he wins more congressional districts. Another 48 delegates are allocated by winner-takes-all in the CD’s.

If Santorum does well in Ohio, I think he can pull around 125 delegates. Putting his total at around 210.

Mitt Romney

Romney may get a small cut out of Tennessee. He’ll take a good chunk in Ohio and will dominate in Massachusetts, Virginia and Vermont.

I think it’s possible Romney ends the day with between 140 and 150 new delegates. If this is the case, his total will be over 300.

Beyond Super Tuesday

You might look at these possible totals and read them to mean that Santorum is catching up to Romney on the delegate count. In terms of the “right now” that is true. Actually, that will continue to be the case until April 3. If Santorum and Gingrich both stay in the race, they’ll fight over southern red states in the coming weeks and close the gap on Romney’s lead. The problem comes on April 3rd and 24th. On those two days deep blue Obama states will propel Mitt Romney into a commanding lead.

A lot of people point to a few southern states that follow those, along with Texas and its whopping 155 delegates. Here’s the problem though… Texas delegates are allocated proportionally. And you know what winner-takes-all states will undo any big gains in Texas? California (169) and New Jersey (50).


This all spells trouble for the GOP convention. Based on basic math it looks like Romney might top out at 950-1,000 delegates by convention time. His closest competitor might be in the range of 600-700, and that’s if things go very smoothly for him, whoever it will be.

In other words, a brokered convention is not as impossible as some might want to believe.

-Eric Odom

  • Ginger Cochran

    I am all for that. Maybe this time We The People can select our nominee instead of the self-appointed elites of the party who think they know so much more than the rest of us. We are still a REPUBLIC, correct?

  • Matthew Riordan

    Not a chance. If Romney takes Ohio it’s over. He has won 5 in a row, and will win 5, maybe 6, of the 10 states on Tuesday.

  • Matthew Riordan

    And he will pick up delegates in the other state. I think his delegate lead on Wednesday morning will be huge.

    • Eric Odom

      Not at all disputing that.

  • Quemielle Angel DuChesne

    Soetoro/Obama is an illegal alien:

  • Bryan E Bustard

    One of the reasons why Parties tend to want to avoid brokered conventions is the fact that fights occur and they don’t want to be seen to be combative on television, but in the age of the Tea Party, combative may just be what we need. But OUCH!, some have even suggested that we will end up with none of the current candidates and that Jeb Bush might be chosen! So, some people believe that Jeb is the most conservative of all the Bush politicians, but ANOTHER Bush? Even if he’s the greatest guy out there with all the best parts of Gingrich, Paul, Romney, and Santorum (alphabetical order) and none of the bad, the NAME Bush would be political suicide. :(

  • Jeffrey Hunt

    He’s also a Socialist who wants the top 20% of this countries wage earners to pay for the other he way, what do Birth Control pills have to do with health care? Why should the tax payers have to pay for that?

  • Jeannie Kight Lucas

    I believe he is laughing at all of us..for fooling some into thinking he is a legal American..I still believe he is not..and his illegal aunt and uncle are still here!!

  • Allen Gent

    I don’t care how it’s done, we just need to weed out the weak links and bring on the one who will defeat Obama. Nothing else is more important for America’s future than putting him out of office. Too bad that Nancy PeLOUSY and Harry Reid are probably still going to remain in office since they are from liberal / socialist supporting areas but no more Obama would be a great start…

  • Tom Conde

    Weeks after 9/11 people where discussing that the new rules had very little to do with security and everytrhing to do with getting the population used to arbritary and non-sensical rules. Nobody stepped up and said NO. No one asked that people stop flying for a week and the govt come up with real security. They would have come up with something I guarantee you. Because the airlines had already lost 3 days and another week would have bankrupt most of them. Instead people just shrugged and went merrily along.

  • Jan Neuhaus

    the only thing that matters is getting BO out of office, and I for one would vote for a shoe if that would do it!!

  • Thelma Ratley

    @Allen, I’m afraid you might be right about Pelosi and Reid..I just wish that Skank Pelosi was in my district..she would be gone. No one like her here.

  • Debra Harrington

    That’s a shame, when our front runner should be focusing on our ‘REAL’ opponent, Obama.

  • Joe Zurawski

    I’ve been saying that for over a month.

  • Stephen Spears

    Uh… I don’t think any of you actually read the article. Look at the last sentence.

  • Rick Schechter

    I’m praying for that brokered convention. It’s the only chance to defeat nObama. And stop focusing on contraception. It’s a non starter for a lot of people. The economy must be paramount.

  • Sandra Huff Long

    I hope we do see a brokered convention–I liked it years ago–none of this having it all set up before the convention even starts–let them work for it !!!

  • Gail Spencer

    Let’s get this stupidity over, get a candidate and go after Obama. That’s what they all should be doing. The rest of this stupidity uis tedious and boring, I’m not watching or listiening. Will hold my nose and vote for the candidate to get rid of Obama. ABO

  • Troy Thayne

    Romney will easily take it.

  • Patty Garza

    The establishment would want that, it would give them more control to make sure Romney is the nominee

  • Bill Madden

    I’ll second that

  • Bill Floyd

    You hope but its time for everyone to quit this anti Romney vote crap last i seen we were trying to beat obama let’s stop this crazy its good for the candidate crap its time to focus on obama and ending his presidency queen palin will not be president fact get over it newt will not win little ricky is a liberal and cant win so we have two choices Romney or obama and if you dont vote or put this petty crap aside you will have obama bottom line this is the truth rather you accept it or not its up to you

  • Lura Miller

    Maybe we don’t trust Romney because he seems to be a reflection of Obama…or maybe Obama is a poor reflection of Romney; either way I don’t trust him.

  • http://?? Esther Busenlehner

    I would love to see the “one” illegal Alien crossing the border with his napsack over his shoulder reading an imaginary teleprompter that Bush is to blame for his problem!

  • Grace Brown Rentiers

    No, think you’re wrong here…we will have a winner before the convention.

  • Maggie Tamulis

    I can’t support Santorum because of his overwhelming focus on abortion, contraception and other social issues…he doesn’t have enough experience or confidence to confront Obama…I will clarify that, he doesn’t have enough experience or confidence to confront the Democrat’s big guns, the biased media and Obama…Ron Paul’s foreign policy views are not what this country can take given the hate filled climate in Iran and the middle east…I don’t trust Romney and I hear a lot of people say the same thing, they have a feeling “something isn’t quite right”, I personally feel like he has an agenda of his own and as far as his business experience he hasn’t really “worked” for a living, he’s “invested” for a living and he doesn’t show passion or “fire” for anything…Romney is very passive and will be lead by those with power and not by the Tea Party/Conservative ideals…so the man I have left is Newt Gingrich, I supported Herman Cain until he was destroyed by “vicious lies” just like what happened to Palin but the best debate I have seen in all these months was the one with just Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich where the two men debated without chewing each other up, without bashing each other over the head with past failings and at the end of the debate you could see that they are men who can work with people, articulate their positions, bring opposing sides together and have knowledge and know how to get things done and so after Cain left I have been behind Newt Gingrich because I really believe he is the one to pull this country out of the “hell” this president has put us in…Don’t vote for a “pretty face”, “great hair” and a man who “looks presidential”, or worse don’t vote for the candidate that everyone else is voting for just to be part of the crowd, that’s what we did in high-school…please don’t be a lemming, vote for a man who can do the job…after all our lives depend on our votes.

  • barryk

    i see Romney as Obama-Light (Massachusetts health care individual mandate, big government TARP bailout supporter, flip-flopper on abortion-on-demand (his ‘denomination” supports infanticide in the first trimester), What is there in a Romney win to motivate real Republicans to vote in November? A win for Romney is a win for Obama.

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