By Jared Allebest
The idea, Mr. DeSantis said, is to persuade unpledged delegates and those who have backed another candidate to see Mr. Gingrich as the best challenger to face President Obama.
“We believe that if Governor Romney is unable to secure 1,144 by the last primaries, he will be unable to do so at the convention where the vast majority of the delegates are conservative,” DeSantis said. “That creates [an] environment at the convention where Gingrich can emerge as the one candidate who can unite social, economic and national security conservatives (a fact which is borne out by polling).”
Joe DeSantis said Gingrich's decision to lay off staff and replace his campaign manager was a reorganization that would enable him to fight on to the Republican National Convention in the summer and win the nomination there.The overhaul comes as a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday indicated that most Republicans would like to see Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul end their White House bids.But they want conservative challenger Rick Santorum to stay in the race.The poll, conducted over the weekend, showed that about six in 10 Republicans wanted Gingrich and Paul to halt their campaigns, while a similar number supported Santorum continuing his bid.DeSantis said the poll "showed that Gingrich dropping out of the race would help Mitt Romney dramatically more than it helps Rick Santorum."This would "virtually guarantee Mitt Romney the nomination," he said, as he urged conservatives to rally behind Gingrich to keep the former Massachusetts governor from victory.
Romney still leads by about 300 delegates . With 568 delegates to Santorum’s 273 Romney, Romney needs only 576 more delegates, about 46 percent of the remaining delegates. Santorum would need to win about 70 percent, and that just isn’t going to happen.
As he struggles to keep up with frontrunner Mitt Romney and parries calls for him to drop out of the Republican presidential race, Rick Santorum has said in recent weeks that he has actually won more delegates than some media counts show. Those counts, Santorum says, are not taking into account Republican party rules, as well as the state-level meetings that actually determine how many delegates go to each candidate."Here's one of the things that I can tell you I didn't know," Santorum told a small group of reporters at a breakfast in Washington Monday. "Every single state is different. Every state. Every single state is different. It's different on how you get on the ballot. It's different on their structure, how they allocate delegates, whether they are bound, whether they are unbound, when they're committed, how long they committed, how they're selected. Our math is actually based on the reality of what's going on in the states."Now, the Santorum campaign is providing some numbers to flesh out the candidate's claims. In a long conversation Wednesday evening, John Yob, the campaign's national and state convention director, pointed out that many high-profile primaries have been little more than beauty contests, and that delegates in many key states are actually being awarded in county, district, and state conventions, which are often dominated by conservative activists. "In that process, we are doing very well," said Yob. "The moderate candidate almost never performs better than a conservative candidate in a county, district, or state convention process."
The Romney campaign strongly disputes Santorum's numbers. In a March 22 memo -- sent out after Romney's win in Illinois but before Santorum's victory in Louisiana -- Romney political director Rich Beeson wrote that Romney led Santorum by more than 300 delegates and that Romney already had more than half of the needed 1,144 delegates. "Each day Senator Santorum continues to march up this steep hill of improbability is a day we lose to unite in our effort as Republicans to defeat President Obama," Beeson wrote.Beeson pointed out that it is impossible for Santorum to reach the 1,144 delegate number himself. Team Santorum doesn't really claim otherwise. But their math is now about keeping Romney short of 1,144 -- and hoping things go their way in state conventions and, ultimately, in Tampa in August.
Arguing that neither he nor Mitt Romney will be able to sew things up by the last GOP primary in June, Santorum envisions spending July and August trying to persuade individual delegates to support him and “put together the coalition that’s necessary for you to get the 1,144.” He and his delegates would then move on to the Republican convention, scheduled to begin Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla.
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