Well, I’m not sure you can get a Mai Tai in Guam, but you can get a plane load of Mittmentum. The US Territories held their caucuses on Saturday and Mitt made it a clean sweep. He won all 9 delegates in Guam, all 9 in the US Virgin Islands, and all 9 in the Northern Mariana Islands. American Samoa and Puerto Rico are the only two territories left to vote and they go 13 and 18 March respectively. Quick aside, residents in the US Territories can vote in the primary and send delegates to the national convention but they are barred from voting in the general election in November.
Romney also won the Wyoming caucus, taking 10 more delegates. Santorum came in 2nd in Wyoming and took 9. Santorum smoked the field in Kansas, winning by over 50% of the vote and grabbing 30 of that state’s 40 delegates. Romney currently has 7 from Kansas but as the counting finishes up, he’ll likely be awarded the other 3.
So at the end of the day Santorum won 1 more delegate than Romney. With 27 states and territories of the 55 having voted, Santorum may be running out of real-estate. The mathematics really come into play now. After Saturday’s caucuses Mitt stands at 454 and Santorum at 217. Rick will have to win some big winner take all states to catch up. That is tougher for the Santorum campaign because they are fighting a two front war. While trying to catch Mitt they have to ward off Gingrich. Newt is out of it for sure now. He is only a suicide bomber the rest of the way. He will need to win 70% of the remaining delegates to get to 1144. He won’t do that. But he is denying Santorum the chance to close the gap with Romney.
However, math can be a fickle lass. The mathematics will turn on Mitt in about a week or so. Right now math and Newt are keeping Santorum from closing on Mitt. In a week to two weeks they will be keeping Mitt from closing the deal. The race for delegates is more like hockey or soccer than it is basketball, there are no ties, but they don’t go on forever to find a winner either, they go to a shootout. In this case the shootout is the open floor fight at the Republican National Convention on August 24th in Tampa Florida.
If neither Mitt, nor Rick can get to 1144 by the last primary election in Utah on June 26th, then all 4 candidates will go to the convention for an open floor fight. Oh and any of the candidates that dropped out can come back in and people never in the race can get in. Looking at you Sarah. A floor fight is where the delegates will vote again from the convention floor, live on national TV, by state roll call method. So some leader in the republican party will get up to the podium and call each state and territory by alphabetical order. A representative from each will step to their own mic and announce who their delegates are voting for.
For the first run through, all bound delegates will have to vote according to their states’s primary election results. If no candidate gets 1144 votes the first time around, they do it all again. Only this time all delegates are unbound and can vote for whoever they want. And I mean whoever. If a state’s representative gets up there and says “The great state of Georgia, the Peach state, places into nomination for consideration for Republican candidate for President of these United States, the honorable Kevin D. Thomas of Toccoa, Stephens County Georgia, and casts for him, all 76 delegates.” well then guess what, Kevin D. Thomas from Toccoa is now on the ballot and any delegate from any state can vote for him. And Kevin D. Thomas does not even have to give his consent, if by some apocalyptic miracle he wins he would then have the chance to accept or deny the nomination. My bold prediction is this: if it does become a floor fight, Palin will be nominated either by her own doing or by some state rep doing it without her consent.
Only Newt and Ron Paul, and maybe Palin, are even hoping for an open convention. Santorum or Romney want to sew this thing up by the end of May. An open convention would be awesome television and fun politics, ya know, if you’re into that sort of thing. I also happen to disagree with democrats and TV pundits who say this would be bad for the Republicans. Quite the contrary, it keeps everyone in the party involved to the latest possible point before November. It makes their eventual nominee front page news for a while. You’ll start hearing about the last brokered convention in 48, an incorrect comparison by the way, and seeing stats about the success of nominees who became such through a floor fight. Spoiler: no floor fight nominee has ever come close to winning the Presidency. Having said all that the Republicans need that enthusiasm right now. They’ll need it ten fold in the dog days of August and early September when the debates and primaries are a distant memory and we start that long wait until the election in November.
Man an open floor fight would be 10 kinds of awesome.
Next up Southern Primaries and Newt’s last chance? Maybe, tune in to find out. Alabama & Mississippi primaries and Hawaii & American Samoa caucuses this Tuesday, 13 March.
Frank’s Place will have up to the minute updates as another long night rolls on.