By Trevor Antley.
Mitt Romney may have finished a disappointing third to Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in the South on Tuesday, but later in the night he walked away with wins in little-watched contests in Hawaii and American Samoa. And despite the lack of fanfare, these Pacific wins meant that the former Massachusetts governor still garnered more of the evening’s delegates than either of his competitors.
According to the Associated Press, Romney went to bed Tuesday night with an extra 42 delegates. Santorum added another 36 and Gingrich 24. CNN reports the candidate’s overall delegate totals as follows: Romney, 498; Santorum, 239; Gingrich, 139; Ron Paul, 69. According to a campaign spokesman, Romney has now won 50% of the delegates up for grabs this season and “45% of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination.”
In a nomination process where delegates really do matter more than votes, it doesn’t matter if Rick Santorum can best Romney in a higher-profile state if Romney keeps walking away with the bulk of the delegates. With about half of the delegates now awarded, Rick Santorum is going to be hard pressed to make up time in the delegate battle no matter how many more impressive victories he manages to snatch.