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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What happens to Santorum's Delegates?

Now that Rick Santorum has exited the presidential race, what happens to his 285 delegates?

Via ABC News:
ABC estimates that 78 Santorum delegates, from his wins in states that don’t “award” their delegates – Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota, would have been free to support any candidate at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Another two of Santorum’s delegates were Republican National Committee superdelegates, who will attend the convention by virtue of their positions in the party, and are also free to support whomever they choose in Tampa. 
Santorum won seven more delegates from unbound caucus states Washington and Wyoming.

He won another 10 delegates from Illinois, where they would not be required by state or national-party rule to vote for Santorum in Tampa, either, although Santorum’s campaign presented their names and qualifying signatures to the state board of elections.

That leaves 188 Santorum delegates heading to Tampa. They’ll be required to vote for him, unless he chooses to release them, according to state-party rules.

Even if Santorum endorses Romney, that doesn’t mean he can gift all of his delegates to his former rival.  Should Santorum elect to release his delegates, they’ll become free agents, able to support whichever candidate they choose.
It will be interesting to see where those unbound 97 delegates go; it will be interesting to see if Santorum releases the remaining 188; and it will be interesting to see if he endorses Gingrich or Romney. If Santorum favors a brokered convention over a Romney nomination, a Gingrich endorsement would make the most sense.

The establishment sees Santorum's exit as a major victory for Romney.

h/t Free Republic 

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