Monday, April 2, 2012

Will There be a Brokered Convention in Tampa?

I just saw a headline that cited Rick Santorum indicating that a convention floor fight would be good for the Republican Party. That may or may not be true but the truth of the matter is that it will not happen. The math is easy, and there will only be one ballot at the Convention in Tampa.

First, if what people are saying is right and Santorum has a chance to come back, it will take a huge swing. If that were to happen (and it is possible, if not likely), he would have to sweep the remaining states and doing something like that will build such huge momentum that he will have the necessarily delegates at the convention. The swing would have to be that big.

Let's say, however, that Santorum only gets close and Romney somehow fails to make the 1,144 pledged delegates in the last few states. That would mean that the Gingrich and Paul delegates would chose the nominee. I have heard people in both of those camps argue that they will make their play there and that Newt (or Paul) could hold his ground and win.

That is not true. I was enlightened on this by a Karl Rove interview where he explained RNC rule 40. Basically, rule 40 means that only candidates who have the support of a plurality of delegates in 5 or more states will be on the first ballot in Tampa. There will be only two candidates who meet that criteria: Romney and Santorum. That means that there are only two options for the 2,286 delegates to vote for. You don't have to be an election expert to do the math. When there are only two options and only a majority wins, there will be quick work and no run off.

I hope post isn't too heady or political, but a convention battle is not likely. There are over 400 delegates that are unallocated and they will also be fought over, but the bottom line is that the nomination if it is not won outright by a series of strong wins will be won over the phone and in meetings all over the country. Romney and Santorum will be wining and dinning with them because in the end, it will all be decided on the first ballot.
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