Showing posts with label Red White and Blue Fund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red White and Blue Fund. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Santorum Super PAC Doubles Down on Ludicrous Delegate Count Claim


FHQ doesn't know where to start on this one. The Red White & Blue Fund -- the super PAC supporting Rick Santorum -- today again pushed its needlessly long plan to reallocate delegates across many of the states to have finalized the binding of delegates.1 That RWB is claiming this based on the rules only reinforces the growing notion that they have no idea what the rules are. Let's look at a few examples.

Romney: 50

Florida (RWB interpretation):
Romney: 23
Gingrich: 16
Santorum: 7
Paul: 4

Romney 29

Arizona (RWB interpretation):
Romney: 14
Santorum: 8
Gingrich: 5
Paul: 2

FHQ notes: Look, both RWB and the Santorum campaign have a leg to stand on in this argument. That Florida and Arizona not only held non-compliant primaries in terms of timing, but also held winner-take-all violations is a clear [double] violation of the RNC delegate selection rules. However, as I have tried to point out -- and this is where RWB and the Santorum campaign begins to show their lack of knowledge about the rules -- they are assuming a directly proportional allocation at the convention. That may happen in a challenge situation, but strict proportionality is not the only way a state can be "proportional" under the rules created in 2010. The delegate allocation can be divided into winner-take-all by congressional district (for the congressional district delegates) and proportional statewide (for the at-large delegates). Under that sort of allocation -- again, that is perfectly proportional under the rules -- Santorum would gain some delegates on Romney, but not nearly to the extent laid out above. The point is that this issue is anything but settled and both RWB and the Santorum campaign are only providing the polar opposite of the current allocation; a polar opposite with several options in between it and a winner-take-all allocation.

Additional note: It is poor form to cherrypick certain bits of rule 15 without considering the whole rule (see below for more of this).

Romney: 32

Idaho (RWB interpretation):
Romney: 20
Santorum: 6
Gingrich: 6

Puerto Rico:
Romney: 20

Puerto Rico (RWB interpretation):
Romney: 18
Santorum: 2

FHQ notes: These are just painful to read. It is an absolutely laughable proposition to claim that either Idaho or Puerto Rico are not abiding by the rules. Did both end up being winner-take-all in their final allocations? Yes, but that is because -- in a manner compliant with the RNC definition of proportionality -- Mitt Romney won over 50% of the vote in each. Again, that is the minimum conditional threshold by which a state with a primary or caucus before April 1 can allocate delegates winner-take-all if it chooses. If a candidate is over a majority of the vote that candidate receives all of that state's delegates. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote then the allocation is proportional. This is A-OK with RNC rules. There is no "valid and viable challenge" that Santorum can bring on this. None. Idaho and Puerto Rico are compliant. Ridiculous.

Romney: 16
Santorum: 14

Michigan (RWB interpretation):
Romney: 15
Santorum: 15

FHQ notes: I've dealt with this one already, but the bottom line is that at least those two at-large delegates should be looked at in Michigan. The original plan called for the full -- unpenalized -- allotment of at-large delegates be proportionally allocated to candidates over the 15% threshold. The Michigan Republican Party did a bad job of rolling out the altered plan to allocate its delegates and a winner-take-all allocation of the at-large delegates is a violation of the RNC rules on the same grounds as Florida and Arizona.

Of course, if this whole thing comes down to one delegate...

I don't know that I have the heart to address the Red, White and Blue Fund's position on the delegate allocation in the islands. Here is that rationale via Jon Ward at HuffPo:

Torchinsky said the estimates that Santorum can pick up delegates in the territories were "educated guesses based on rough numbers," rather than being based on any real political intelligence. 
"Seems that of 18 people, convincing 4 that Rick is the right guy is reasonable," Torchinsky told HuffPost.

FHQ notes: Really!?!

Look, as FHQ mentioned last week in response to the Santorum campaign delegate count conference call -- a count that differs from the RWB's tortured math -- I take them at their word on their efforts in the non-binding caucus states. Can Santorum overperform in the delegate allocation relative to the vote share in those non-binding straw polls? Sure. Will they? That remains to be seen and it is certainly true that they are not the only campaign attempting to pull off such a feat. The Santorum folks are not operating in a vacuum in that regard. Bernstein argues -- and I agree -- that it is those with enthusiasm and organization who will be well-positioned to do well with unbound delegates in the non-binding caucus states.

Even if we give Santorum all of the unbound delegates (336) -- right now and not when they will actually be allocated -- the former Pennsylvania senator only just edges ahead of Romney by 27 delegates in FHQ's count. That's all. And that's before any of the April contests that favor Romney anyway. [Note also that that 336 unbound delegates includes automatic delegates from states that have held contests thus far. Of the automatic delegates who have endorsed a candidate to this point in the race, Romney has gotten the nod from 86% of them. There are only about 85 total automatic delegates left to endorse.]

Yeah, but wouldn't that hurt Romney's efforts to get to 1144? It would, but the jury is still out on exactly how close that would cut it for the former Massachusetts governor.

...stay tuned on that front.

1 I suppose a couple of tweets on the matter weren't enough from FHQ. Truth be told, I was going to come back to this anyway, but thought this memo might have disappeared. Apparently not.
RWB Delegate Analysis 3-22-2012

Recent Posts:
There's a reason the Santorum campaign didn't mention West Virginia in its delegate conference call last week

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The Myth of Proportionality's Impact is Dead

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