Robert Costa reports that Newt Gingrich’s strategy is essentially the same as Rick Santorum’s: prevent Mitt Romney from obtaining a majority of Republican delegates, even if they can’t clinch a majority themselves.
“Romney is weak,” Tyler says. “While I concede that it’ll be hard for Newt to catch Romney’s delegate totals, it’ll be equally hard for Romney to have enough delegates by the time Tampa comes to get the nomination. And if that happens, Romney would lose on the first ballot.”
As mentioned earlier, Santorum’s memo (written by John Yob), emphasizes count and state conventions as a mechanism for keeping Romney from picking up additional delegates:
Romney has a delegate problem in that he will have a very hard time getting his moderate supporters elected as delegates in these convention systems. This was evident in Iowa this weekend where the Romney operation collapsed, and Santorum and Paul gained.
The idea has been all along that Romney’s superior organization will position him for such a protracted fight for delegates. But what if grassroots enthusiasm can at least partly compensate for Santorum’s lack of organizational muscle? Indeed, what if social conservative use their own organizations on Santorum’s behalf, as we are increasingly seeing in caucus states?
If the convention goes multiple ballots, it is likely that a conservative candidate like Rick Santorum will gain votes on the 2nd and 3rd ballots whereas a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney will lose votes.
Mitt Romney must have a majority on the first ballot in order to win the nomination because he will perform worse on subsequent ballots as grassroots conservative delegates decide to back the more conservative candidate. Subsequently, Santorum only needs to be relatively close on the initial ballot in order to win on a later ballot as Romney’s support erodes.
Yet under that scenario, who’s to say the delegates won’t pick someone else?