To be honest, I myself cannot even believe I am about to say this, but it is starting to look like Newt Gingrich may just have another trick up his sleeve. Recent polls are starting to show him creep back up into contention in Mississippi and Alabama.
Mississippi – a new PPP (D) poll has Gingrich 33%, Romney 31% and Santorum 27%, Paul is so low I am not sure why he is in the race at all anymore.
Alabama – a new PPP (D) poll has Gingrich at 31%, Romney at 30%, Santorum at 29% and Paul with a lowly 8%.
Maybe it has something to do with Walker Texas Ranger star Chuck Norris recording robocall’s for Gingrich that say this:
“As my wife Jean and I watched the GOP debate, we were trying to decide which of the candidates would be best to do head-to-head combat with President Obama,” and “Now, I didn’t say hand-to-hand combat, even though I think they would win there too. Jean and I decided that Newt Gingrich would be the best man to beat President Obama.”
I mean, in Florida it seems Mitt Romney was able to convince voters Gingrich was too capricious to be trusted as the nominee. However, I would imagine that the Southern Voters identify with Norris better than a negative ad wielding Mormon form from out east. Some people do see his religion as something that will harm him in the general election.
Romney fire has been focused on Santorum as of late, possible opening up room for Gingrich. It must sting Romney, at least a little, every time he is able to burn one candidate, the voters go to another. Romney is already whining about the possibility of a brokered convention, likely an attempt to scare conservatives into voting for him. Maybe he should stop talking about his friends that are NASCAR and NFL Teams owners.
Despite Romney’s claim that he is winning conservative voters, the opposite is happening. We know conservative voters are sick of hearing Romney is the nominee [Trump], or a vote for anyone else is just a vote for a deadlocked convention [Dick Morris]. Well these two think Romney is likable enough. Maybe it is the “y’all’s he has suddenly gotten so fond of [are you kidding me, who thought that was a good idea].
Gingrich is counting on this very outcome as part of his strategy to become the nominee.
Over that last few weeks, many have called on Gingrich to exit the race [I am one of them] in the hopes that a united conservative base would stop Romney from winning the nomination. I still believe it would. So why is Gingrich staying in the race? If you ask him, he will tell you it is because:
“I went to work to change Washington,” Gingrich said. “This is somebody [Santorum] who had Washington change him. He had to go along. I am not running to go along to get along.”
Despite the hyperbole nature of this argument, Gingrich does have a valid plan, it is a long shot, but not unprecedented in American politics.
For starters, According to the RNC, Gingrich has more bound delegates than Santorum at this point: Gingrich has won 107 delegates compared to Santorum’s 95. According to a story that was first broke by Huffington Post [yucky], Santorum’s wins have come almost from all caucus states, and for the most part, those delegates are not bound to a candidate in the first round of voting. That is what Gingrich is counting on winning the nomination.
There are going to be a significant amount of delegates that are able to change their mind either before or at the convention. Gingrich only needs to see Romney and Santorum fall short of the required 1,144 delegates.
Before Super Tuesday, Jim Galloway broke the math down why if Romney did not sweep the states, then he would be hard pressed to get all the delegates before the convention.
According to Politico’s delegate tracker, which does include bound delegates the list looks like this:
Romney – 424, Santorum – 212, Gingrich – 103, and Paul – 2; there are 82 unallocated.
Here are the lists of bound and unbound delegates.
Here is a list of unbound delegates by state: AL-3; AK-3, American Samoa, Ark.-3, CA-3, CO-36, CT-3, DE-17, DC-3, Guam-9, Hawaii-3, ID-9, IL-69, IN-19, IA-28, KY-3, LA-21, ME-24, MD-3, Mass.-3, Minn.-40, MS-3, Montana-26, Neb.-3, NM-3, NY-3, NC-3, ND-28, Northern Marina-9, OH-3, OK-3, OR-3, PA-72, PR-3, RI-3, SD-3, TE-3, TX-3, UT-3, Virgin Islands-9, VA-3, WA-3, WV-3, Wis.-3, WY-29.
Here is a list of bound delegates by state: NH (12), SC (25), FL (50), Nev. (28), AZ (29), MI (30), Wash. (40).
Here is a list of winner -take-all state contests that have already happened: AZ-29; FL-50; SC-25. Michigan was winner-take- all at the congressional district level.
Here is the list of winner-take-all state contests still to come: CA-169, DE-17, DC-16, MD-34, NJ-50, PR-20, UT-37, and WI-39.
There five other states: IN, KS, MI, VT, and VA that all have various winner take all fat the congressional district level. In VT, Romney got 9 delegates while Santorum got 4, and Paul got 4. Romney got 43 in VA, and Paul got 4. KS netted Santorum 33 delegates, and Romney 7. Michigan netted Romney 16 and Santorum got 14.
If you look at these lists, you can see that it is possible that Gingrichsurvives this. Romney could get the 720 delegates he needs, but they would not all be bound. There is a possibility that Romney does not get to 1,144 even with the unbound delegates added, which in that case there are going to be a lot of unbound delegates.
Just for this exercise, Let us say Gingrich can dominate each of the remaining southern states: Alabama (50) and Mississippi (40), then Louisiana (46), Arkansas (36), Kentucky (45), Texas (155), and New Mexico (23), he would end up with 498 delegates. After watching Gingrich come back two times already, I would not be willing to write him off just yet.
Spreading Rumors that Gingrich is planning to pick Rick Perry asVP if nominated would make many conservatives happy as well as pick him up some support in southern states like Texas. Even if both camps have attempted to quash the speculation.
Gingrich could conceivably last until the convention, and then somehow talk the unbound delegates into voting for him over Romney or Santorum. I am not exactly sure that this would happen, but it is not impossible. The goal for Gingrich is to simply make sure Romney cannot clench the nomination himself. Once at the convention, he would then have to talk enough delegates into fleeing other candidates.
The big problem, other than this being highly unlikely, is that in pursuing this strategy, he all but guarantees that Rick Santorum does not get enough delegates, while risking that Romney does get enough to clinch the nomination.
Then there is the likelihood that even if it play out the way Gingrich envisions up to the convention, that the delegates do not go to him, but decide that Romney is the best positioned to beat Obama.
Maybe Santorum is right and the delegates choose him instead.
It seem an awful high risk from a man who once said that Romney must not be the nominee because he was not conservative enough to beat President Obama. The risk is that if Romney wins because Gingrich refused to leave the race and endorse Santorum, one has to wonder what was more important to Gingrich, beating Obama, or him being the nominee. Most people would say the two are mutually exclusive. Will Gingrich’s great gamble pay off for him, the Republican Party, or the country for that matter.
The recent news that President Obama’s approval ratings are falling may just give Gingrich that opening to make a case it is time for a conservative president again, a real one this time. Gingrich’s whole stradegy depends on Mississippi and Alabama swinging his way, and there are a few reasons to believe they just might do that.