419 delegates are up for grabs on “Super Tuesday” (March 6, 2012) where multiple states will hold their primaries or caucuses at the same time. This day usually is the “nail in the coffin” or just for show as the candidate is normally already chosen. But this year, four candidates are still in the race, and most importantly, all four of them think that they can win. This leads to a lot of negative campaigning early on to wear one’s competitors down to emerge from the fray intact. Tens of millions of dollars have already been spent in 2011-12 tearing down other Republican candidates in negative advertising, all just to get a magic number of 1,144 (half plus 1) delegates for the Grand Old Party.
The “delegate estimates” are as follows going into Tuesday:
According to CNN after the Washington Caucuses:
Mitt Romney 207
Rick Santorum 86
Ron Paul 46
Newt Gingrich 39
Other news agencies have many different numbers, but throughout the process, I have found CNN to have the most consistent.
I am going to attempt to break down Super Tuesday state by state and only include the “pledged” delegates.
Alaska: Ron Paul
Alaska has two weeks to vote in their local conventions, so I would expect a high turnout for loyal candidate supporters, and a high turnout for Ron Paul supporters (democrats included). This state carries 24 delegates proportionally and I would expect Ron Paul to have a majority. In 2008, only 1,400 votes were cast, so expect low numbers again, but a win is a win as we saw in Maine. Second place will be tight with Gingrich/Romney because of Palin’s endorsement of Gingrich. Paul 11, Gingrich 6, Romney 6 and Santorum 1.
Idaho: Mitt Romney
Idaho has a 25% Mormon population and I expect them to support Romney just as in Arizona earlier. The Caucus awards proportionally as well, and I would expect Paul’s strong Western support to materialize here too, so a strong second for Paul. There’s 13 bonus delegates so if Paul were to pull in at first, that would give him more momentum going forward at least to the unaware average voter. Romney 22(9), Paul 7.
North Dakota: Ron Paul
North Dakota is great territory for the Paul Campaign and he pulled 21% there in 2008. I see him capitalizing on this and eeking out a win here but not by much. Paul 11, Romney 10, Santorum 5, Gingrich 2.
Oklahoma: Rick Santorum
Santorum is polling way ahead in Oklahoma, and his deep social conservatism echoes here. Following a poll this decisive, I expect him to win big. The delegate allocation is really convoluted here, but basically its this: 25 delegates will be awarded on a proportional basis to any candidate receiving 15%+ of the statewide vote, unless 1 candidate has more than 50%, in which case he wins all 25. In each of the state’s 5 congressional districts, 3 delegates will be awarded proportionally to candidates with 15%+ of the vote, unless 1 had more than 50% of the vote in that district. The other 3 delegates are the elected state party leaders. So I am expecting this to reward Santorum and Romney the most. Santorum 20, Romney 11, Gingrich 7, Paul 2.
Georgia: Newt Gingrich
Gingrich needs to win this state to stay relevant. Since his SC win, he has plunged in all categories across the board. 31 delegates will be awarded proportionally to any candidate receiving more than 20% of the statewide vote. The winner in each of the state’s 14 congressional districts will earn another 2 delegates, and the second-place finisher will win 1, unless one candidate wins more than 50 percent in a district. The other 3 delegates are the elected state party leaders. This is shot in the dark but, Gingrich takes 10/14 districts and Santorum pulls in 2nd in 7 of them and wins 4. Then Gingrich gets the majority of delegates in the overall poll. The allotment of the delegates would be: Gingrich 48, Santorum 22, Romney 3.
These are the first five states of the ten total, and the delegate count would be as follows:
Note that the 13 bonus delegates in Idaho could go to Paul which would tighten the race with Gingrich and put Paul at 90. However, so far “Super Tuesday” doesn’t seem to be helping anyone figure out the GOP nomination. A Georgia victory for Gingrich will just prolong his existence in the race, and continue to divide voters. I would think that unless Gingrich gets some 2nd place finishes, that even with Georgia, he should drop out. I have paid so much attention to Paul in this part because the caucuses are his strong suit, and I think that we will see the first "real" Paul win out of these. The remainder of the states are not his territory, and will further the disparity between him and Romney/Santorum.