It is possible that Mitt Romney might not get the requisite number of delegates before the Republican National Convention is held in August, but that’s looking more and more unlikely as the primary season grinds on. Because it could happen, though, here’s a review of the “delegate math,” as well as a look at how it might be skewed by the tangled web of rules spun by the Republican Party and the flouting of those rules by a couple of key states.
We’ve had 28 primaries as of March 25. Here’s the delegate math. Total delegates decided thus far: 1,043. Delegate Count: Romney 565, Santorum 256, Gingrich 141, Paul 66, according to Real Clear Politics. Number of delegates left to decide: 1,244 (of a total of 2,287, although because of RNC rules, some counts differ by four votes). The number of delegates up for grabs should be between 2,429 and 2,433, but there have been penalties levied against Arizona and Florida for holding their winner-take-all primaries before April 1, so the actual number of delegates is down to 2,287, with 1,144 needed to win.
Romney to this point has captured 54% of the delegates (565/1,043 = 54%); Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul together have captured 46% (463/1,043 = 46%).
If Romney grabs 54% of the remaining 1,244, he’ll have an additional 672 delegates and his total will be 1,237, well above the 1,144 needed to win. It’s not certain whether Romney will continue to win at a 54% pace, but the odds are that he will. The delegate math, calculated in this way, indicates that the nomination is his, especially when this delegate math is combined with what I see as a groundswell of Romney support that is broadening throughout the Republican Party and which I think will soon begin to sway more conservative voters.