Republican GOP: Four Way Tug-O-War

Ryan Tolley, Staff Writer


The fight for Republican nomination has been one of uncertainty, with each state election a new candidate jumps ahead, only to fall behind again. The Republican field has been narrowed down to four candidates but even with the narrowing of the field, the Republican Party is still having trouble finding out whom they want to support. CNN and MSNBC have compared the Republican field to a flavor of the week, which is proving accurate as every state election results in a shift of majority support. With the continuing power shift it is becoming hard to believe that any one of the Republican candidates will be able to claim the front runner position and have a commanding leader over the other Republican candidates.

Every victory in a state election the candidates receive a certain number of delegates. The number of delegates ranges from state to state and the manner of how they are allocated varies. In order for a candidate to win the Republican nomination he must have 1144 delegates out of a total of 2061. So far none of our candidates have come close to this number and continue to split the candidates in semi-equal parts. The CNN delegate tracker is predicting Romney with 106 delegates, Santorum 37 delegates, Gingrich with 35 delegates, and Paul with 27 delegates so far in the race. These numbers are not written in stone and are just predictions because states that have Caucus elections have an elaborate process for delegate allocation and delegates for these states will be unclear until later in the year. The numbers are very unsettling to Republican voters because they still have yet to get behind one candidate and all four candidates are refusing to drop from the race.

In order to gain 1144 delegates a candidate would have to win over 50% of all the delegates to win the Republican nomination. This seems to be impossible if Republicans are unable to pick one or two candidates to support. Right now the estimated percentages of the delegates already awarded stand roughly at Romney having 52%, Santorum at 18%, Gingrich at 17%, and Paul at 13%. All though it may look as Romney has the 50%, it is not that staggering of a figure when you take into account that he won Florida, a winner-take-all state, giving him 50 delegates which is half of his current delegates. Since only 205 delegates have been awarded thus far, a number comprising just under 10% of the possible delegates, the percentages are skewed because in the long run; fifty delegates are only 2% of the overall delegates. Without Florida, Romney would be looking at a percentage closer to 36% and would bump the rest of the candidates up 4-6%. That’s not to say Florida was not important victory because it was and it does need to be taken into account in the long run, but for our purposes it only makes the data misleading and incorrectly implies that Mitt Romney has a great deal of support over the other candidates.

If the current numbers continue with each candidate refusing to drop out, Republicans could get through the election without any candidate claiming the 1144 delegates. Someone must get pushed out in order free up delegate support to confirm the Republican nomination. One idea is that two candidates on each side will go ahead and form a President and Vice President pair to give their side the winning advantage over the other. Could this be leading us to look at a possible Santorum-Gingrich or Romney-Paul ticket? As for now the idea is taking hold but it might take a few more state elections before the candidates are ready to make this jump. If all four of the candidates refuse to drop and the numbers continue they will have to make the inevitable decision to pick sides with one another to have a chance at being their party’s nominee.