Metropolitik: Will lack of focus doom Rick Santorum?

If Mitt Romney seals the nomination Rick Santorum may have only his own campaign to blame.

For complaints, suggestions and digital attaboys, e-mail us at brayden.simms@metro.us.

 

If Mitt Romney seals up the GOP?presidential nomination before the August convention -- an eventuality looking more eventual with each passing day -- Rick Santorum may have only his own campaign to blame.

 

This is because of a backroom deal struck by the two campaigns over a pair of organizational difficulties each faced in Illinois. For Romney, the problem was a failure to acquire the necessary signatures to qualify for delegates. Santorum stared down a similar problem, lagging in petitions for 10 congressional districts.

 

The Romney camp challenged Santorum's petitions, and Santorum challenged back. Then both candidates decided to rescind their challenges, allowing Romney onto Illinois ballots and allowing Santorum to collect delegates in (all but four of) Illinois' 18 congressional districts.

 

These sorts of thing should never happen, especially in well-organized campaigns like Romney's. But happen they did, and the Santorum camp -- at that point not yet running as the clear Romney alternative -- missed an opportunity to keep Mitt away from the state's 69 delegates. (As it stands, Santorum has forfeited 10 of these.)

So now it's on to Illinois today, where polls put Romney at a commanding lead. This is bad news for Santorum, who must win nearly 65 percent of all remaining delegates to prevent the impending Rom-ination.

And it's even worse than that:?As David Corn points out, Romney's real magic number isn't 1,144 as most report, but 1,104; that's because Utah, the last state to hold a primary, on June 26, awards its delegates on a winner-take-all basis to any candidate that wins a plurality of votes. Romney, who won all the state's delegates in 2008, is a heavy favorite to do so again, considering the Beehive State's big Mormon voting bloc.

Santorum needs to stop Romney from reaching 1,104 delegates. Yet he traded a chance at doing so for a shot at some of his own, from which he won't even benefit greatly.



Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik

 
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