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Saturday, March 31, 2012

When Will Romney Reach 1,144?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I didn't post all week.  I'll tell you what--full refund.

But let's be serious--the 2012 Republican Primary has lost its luster.  It has grown uncompetitive.  The mainstream media has finally caught up to what this blog has been saying for a while--Mitt Romney is the nominee of the Republican Party.  Recent endorsements from Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and former president George HW Bush tell us as much.  This aura of inevitability puts us in no mans land.  The GOP Primary is over, but it's not quite the general election yet, either.  Thus, my week off (with more days off to come).

Yet, even with the nomination all but settled, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul forge on, each hoping that their combined delegates will ultimately keep Romney from the requisite 1,144 needed to go into the convention without a deadlocked first ballot.  Their pluck, though admirable, will be fruitless.  Romney will get there in plenty of time.

When exactly?  I'm glad you asked.  As of this posting, according to Real Clear Politics, Romney has 565 delegates, meaning he needs to win 579 more.  (To estimate exactly when that will be, read this post while referring to the Republican Primary Schedule.)

This Tuesday has three contests--Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington DC.  Romney has always been expected to win Maryland and DC rather easily, and their winner-take-all rules will earn a great delegate haul for him.  Santorum was thought to have a shot at Wisconsin, but Romney has stormed into and extended a lead in Wisconsin polls.  Of the day's 93 delegates, Romney will take around 75 to get up to about 640.

Then there's an 18-day break until Missouri (again).  Santorum might be able to hang on to his favorability there, but with Romney surely considered inevitable after sweeping on April 3, perhaps Santorum will even lose his stranglehold on the Midwest.  Let's say the candidates earn a split of the state's 52 delegates.  Romney has now tacked on 100 April delegates to bring his total to 665.

Three days later is the sizeable primary day of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware, the amalgam of which awards 231 delegates.  Santorum should win his home state, but get demolished in the other four.  Romney easily clears 150 delegates.  815.

Then we turn to May.  May 8 has three Santorum states in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Indiana, which combine for 132 delegates.  But with Romney surging and Santorum falling apart (if he's even still in the race) Romney probably finds a way to win all three states.  Let's give him, for the sake of round numbers, 85 more delegates, bringing him to 900.

May 15 and May 22 have two states each--Nebraska/Oregon and Kentucky/Arkansas, respectively.  The four of them combine for 153 delegates, and Romney can expect to continue to consolidate the party, even if three states are in Santorum's former wheelhouse.  That's 100 more for 1,000 total.

The May 29 Texas Primary is worth a weighty 155.  It doesn't seem Romney will quite reach 1,144 with it, barring a drop outs from his rivals.  He'll close in on 1,100, though.

Only six primaries left.  Five of them are on June 5--New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, and the Big One--California.  That's 279 delegates combined--172 from California alone--which will, without question, put Romney over the top.  (The final primary will then be in Utah on June 26.)

So, when will Romney reach 1,144?  Either May 29 in Texas or June 5 in California.  Book it.

The more interesting question is: When will Santorum drop out?  You'll just have to check back for that one.

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