POLITICS

The real score in Illinois: Romney 41, Santorum 10

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

You might see numbers coming out of Illinois like 47%-35% Romney, but if you're thinking about the actual GOP nomination those numbers are of secondary importance. While the Illinois ballot did have a line for voters to choose between Romney, Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich, that was a non-binding "beauty contest." At most it guides the unbound statewide delegates that will be chosen later this Spring.

The actual election last night was of 54 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Each congressional district sends 2, 3, or 4. On that score, Romney didn't just win. He dominated.

As of 5:25 am, AP has fully called 16 of the 18 congressional districts, and Santorum carried only three of them, for a total of 10 delegates. Romney won all the delegates in 13 districts, for a total of 37 delegates.

But two districts -- the Rockford-based 16th spanning the Wisconsin border and the Peoria-to-just-outside-Springfield-based 18th -- might split their delegates. So far, AP has awarded one delegate from the 16th to Romney (two remain undecided) and three delegates from the 18th to Romney (one remains undecided).

So the current total is Romney 41, Santorum 10, with 3 too close to call. If the current numbers hold up (and the relevant gaps are 780 votes and 110 votes, which are decently big with 100% of precincts in), Santorum gets 2 of the remaining 3, leaving a final score of 42-12 Romney.

That's a huge win for Romney. I've written recently that the non-Romneys have to win more than 55 percent of remaining delegates in order to stop Romney from getting 1,144 delegates, thus making the convention potentially interesting. Well, 12 out of 54 is 22.2%, which is nowhere near 55%.

So the climb to blocking Romney is now even harder. The non-Romneys now would have to win about 56% of remaining delegates in order to control a majority of delegates among them. so far, they've won about 42 percent of delegates. That means, by my quick math, that they would need to improve by more than 33 percent over past performance. I don't see any reason to suspect this might happen. Do you?

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