Mitt Romney's campaign apparently doesn't expect to do well in the three GOP presidential nomination contests tonight and has released a memo dramatically downplaying their importance.
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Rich Beeson, Political Director
SUBJECT: The Road Ahead - A Reality Check
DATE: February 7, 2012
Since launching his campaign for President in June, Governor Romney has dominated the debates, travelled tens of thousands of miles rallying Americans with his conservative message of American renewal and clearly emerged as the one Republican who can defeat President Obama and restore American greatness.
As the campaign moves forward toward Super Tuesday, it has become apparent that Mitt Romney is the only candidate with the organizational strength and broad-based appeal to secure delegates in all remaining primaries and caucuses. Of course, there is no way for any nominee to win first place in every single contest -- John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents to notch a few wins too. But unlike the other candidates, our campaign has the resources and organization to keep winning over the long run. A winning conservative message, hard work and old fashioned delegate math will win this race for Governor Romney.
After a virtual tie in Iowa, Governor Romney won resounding victories in New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada. He now has a significant delegate lead, and he is the only candidate to have earned delegates in every available contest.
The Reality of February
It is difficult to see what Governor Romney's opponents can do to change the dynamics of the race in February. No delegates will be awarded on February 7 -- Colorado and Minnesota hold caucuses with nonbinding preference polls, and the Missouri primary is purely a beauty contest. Except for the Maine and Wyoming nonbinding caucuses running through February, the next contests are on February 28 in states where Governor Romney is strong. Arizona's 29 delegates will be bound in a winner-take-all contest. Michigan, the state where Governor Romney grew up, binds 30 delegates.
The rules for the March states offer even less comfort to Governor Romney's opponents. With so many states and territories voting, organization and resources are key. Ours is the only campaign to be active in all of these states, and we have the resources and organization to maximize delegate totals according to each state's rules. Speaker Gingrich and Senator Santorum have no plan in the majority of the March states (although the Paul campaign has waged a systematic effort in a number of them). Governor Romney is the only candidate prepared to compete in simultaneous contests across the country.
Speaker Gingrich indicated Saturday night that the Southern states in March were his strength. This is a flight of fancy and not grounded in reality. In Virginia, Gingrich failed to qualify for the ballot. Because only Governor Romney and Congressman Paul will be on the ballot (and write-ins are not permitted), one candidate will receive either all or a significant majority of Virginia's 46 bound delegates, which are awarded to the candidate who receives more than 50% statewide and in each CD. And Texas, which Speaker Gingrich cited as a firewall in his bitter post-Nevada press conference, has moved from Super Tuesday to at least April 3, and possibly as late as June.
Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi offer a mix of proportional allocation, proportional allocation with vote thresholds, and winner-take-all by CD rules. The bottom line is that it will be difficult for Speaker Gingrich to take large delegate prizes from any of these states. More likely, the delegates will be split among multiple candidates.
In addition, Speaker Gingrich faces other March states that are far less favorable to him: Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont, Guam, Kansas, Northern Marianas, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Illinois will all be casting votes.
Competing in the March states will take resources, a national organization, and broad-based appeal that Speaker Gingrich, Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul simply do not have. This is exactly the sort of operation Governor Romney has been building from the beginning of this campaign.
Speaker Gingrich's and Senator Santorum's campaigns have resource challenges. The remaining February states may not be kind to them, and their hopes for a comeback in March may be very difficult and based on an incomplete understanding of the delegate selection rules. Even "success" in a few states will not mean collecting enough delegates to win the nomination.
In contrast, Governor Romney will be competing across the country and collecting delegates in state after state, even if other candidates pick up some wins. This is exactly the sort of methodical, long-haul campaign we planned for, and we are well on the way to victory.
Taegan D. Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites.
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You
Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political
management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from
both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public
policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country,
including the Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, San Francisco
Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and Christian Science
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
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