GOP presidential race seems close, but Mitt Romney has the numbers
Political campaigns are about heart and soul, but in the end it's the numbers that count. Mitt Romney clearly is ahead in the delegate count, and one prominent Republican says "this thing is about over."
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Rick Santorum calls him a “very desperate” man who “reinvents himself for whatever the political occasion calls for."
Newt Gingrich, ever the history professor, says Romney is “probably the weakest Republican front-runner since Leonard Wood." (Bonus points for knowing that Leonard Wood was the Army general who lost the GOP nomination to Warren G. Harding in 1920. He did have a US Army fort in Missouri named for him, however.)
Press reporting continues to dwell on Romney’s short-comings as a candidate as well – his Richie Rich persona, his cringe-worthy attempts to seem folksy (a new-found appetite for southern biscuits and cheesy grits), the distance rightward he’s traveled since his days as a moderate Republican, his failure as front-runner to deliver a “knockout blow” – a favorite phrase of headline writers after Super Tuesday.
And, besides, the worst thing in the world for political pundits would be to have the GOP nominating race over and eight months to go until the election.
RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about Mitt Romney? A quiz.
But while Gingrich compares himself to the tortoise in the race, it is Romney who has been steadily building up his delegate count in a way that makes him almost unstoppable.
So far, he’s won 56 percent of the delegates available in primaries and caucuses; Santorum has won 24 percent, and Gingrich has won 14 percent, according to an Associated Press calculation.
He’s also ahead among Republican National Committee members, who are automatic delegates. And among “bound” delegates (those obliged to vote for a particular candidate at the party convention), Romney leads with 339 compared to 107 for Gingrich and 95 for Santorum. Overall, according to the Real Clear Politics tally, Romney has 453 delegates, Santorum has 199, Gingrich has 117, and Ron Paul has 64. He also enjoys an average 10-point lead over his rivals in national polls of Republicans.