DELEGATE COUNT:: Romney gets Michigan delegate victory – CNN

By at March 1, 2012 | 5:10 pm | Print

DELEGATE COUNT:: Romney gets Michigan delegate victory – CNN

(CNN) — Mitt Romney got more good delegate news Thursday as the Republican presidential campaign headed toward next week’s Super Tuesday showdown, with one candidate acknowledging he needs a victory to keep his campaign alive.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Atlanta ahead of the Georgia primary on March 6, made it clear he has to win the state he represented in Congress.

“I have to win Georgia, I think, to be credible in the race,” said Gingrich, who has won only one primary so far, in neighboring South Carolina.

Gingrich is vying with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to be the conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney in the race for the Republican nomination to face President Barack Obama in November.

Romney bolstered his delegate lead by winning in Wyoming, where Republicans held caucuses and cast votes in straw polls in recent weeks.

Based on results compiled and released Wednesday night by the Wyoming Republican Party, Romney won 39% of the votes cast in straw polls conducted at county-level caucuses, while Santorum got 32%. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas received 20% and Gingrich got 8%.

Of the 26 delegates at stake, CNN estimates Romney will pick up 10, while Santorum will take in nine delegates. Paul will receive six and Gingrich one.

In addition, Republican officials in Michigan announced Thursday they rejiggered the delegate allocation from Tuesday’s primary to give Romney 16 of the 30 available, with 14 going to Santorum.

The change was because of an expected penalty against Michigan by the Republican National Committee for holding the primary earlier than desired, according to the Michigan Republican Party.

Romney won the popular vote, receiving 41% to 38% for Santorum, but the initial delegate count was 15 for each. That had given Santorum some bragging rights for holding his own in the state where the better-financed Romney grew up and where his father was governor.

Santorum’s campaign accused Romney of engineering the delegate reallocation.

“We’ve all heard rumors that Mitt Romney was furious that he spent a fortune in his home state, had all the political establishment connections and could only manage a tie,” spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “But we never thought the Romney campaign would try to rig the outcome of an election by changing the rules after the vote. This kind of back-room dealing political thuggery just cannot and should not happen in America.”

CNN estimates that so far in the campaign, Romney has 182 delegates, Santorum has 79, Gingrich has 39 and Paul has 38. It takes 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination.

Romney also got a boost in Georgia on Thursday when the largest newspaper in Savannah endorsed him over Gingrich, calling Romney “the one GOP challenger who has the best chance of winning” against Obama.


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