Why Mitt Romney is likely to get to Republican Party convention a winner
Rick Santorum needs to pull an upset in Illinois – an unlikely prospect given latest polls – and win in other winner-take-all primaries to push Mitt Romney to a brokered Republican Party convention.
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"Say that Mr. Romney wins the 16th Congressional District, which includes some areas on the far outskirts of the Chicago metro area, but Mr. Romney holds the other four," Mr. Silver wrote. "That would make the delegate count for the night Romney 40, Santorum 14, and put Mr. Romney ahead by almost 300 delegates – 561 to 267 – in the national total.Skip to next paragraph
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"That isn’t a close race, nor is it one that it is likely to require a brokered convention to resolve. If that is the count after Illinois votes, Mr. Romney would require only 46 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch a majority (he was won about 55 percent so far), and only 39 percent to clinch a plurality."
Brokered conventions are predicted fairly often, but seldom come to pass.
The last one was in 1952, when Democrats chose Adlai Stevenson as their candidate on the third ballot. In 1976, the GOP nominating process did go all the way to the convention – President Ford had a lead going into the convention but hadn't yet secured the nomination – but Ford managed to get the support he needed to win the nomination on the first ballot.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that the GOP is girding for the possibility of a brokered convention this year. It quoted Robert Duncan, a former Republican national chairman who presides over the council that hears disputes over delegates, as saying that "It's more likely than anything since '76."
But Mr. Duncan also said he doesn't really believe that it will happen, because momentum "is going to certainly push Romney – or somebody else – to the forefront."
If Santorum pulls a major upset and wins Illinois on Tuesday, expect talk of a brokered convention to increase.
But otherwise, it's likely that Santorum and others who don't want Romney will keep talking about it, but that Romney will eventually reach 1,144 – even though it may take him until June to get there.
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