Texas Republicans may give Romney the clinching delegates
05.28.12 | Houston Chronicle
May 28–WASHINGTON — The Texas presidential primary has been all but forgotten amid the state’s U.S. Senate free-for-all and some attention-grabbing congressional and legislative races.
But the Tuesdsay primary remains a test for Republican nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney. If the former Massachusetts governor performs well enough in Texas he could formally clinch the Republican presidential nomination there.
Romney, the only Republican candidate who is still actively campaigning in upcoming primaries, is between 79 and 107 votes shy of the 1,144 delegates he needs for the Republican National Convention. Texas’s 155 delegates could put him over.
But Texas Republicans warn that Romney’s lack of attention to the Lone Star State could prolong the contest for one more week, when California and New Jersey would end any remaining suspense.
Despite the state’s strong Republican leanings, Romney has shown little love for Texas in the days leading up to the primary. He has visited the state only once and held private fundraising events rather than public rallies.
His next planned visit — after the Tuesday primary — will once again seek campaign funding in the metropolitan areas of San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.
“He hasn’t had a single rally or meeting with grassroots,” complained Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri. “I think he takes Texas for granted.”
Munisteri has run the numbers and has concluded that for Romney to win 107 of the state’s 155 delegates would require about 70 percent of the primary vote. And while Rep. Ron Paul is the only other Republican candidate with a campaign organization in Texas, the state GOP chief says Romney faces a tough challenge Tuesday.
“Seventy percent is a very high bar,” Munisteri said.
Munisteri said he has talked with voters who have already cast ballots for Republican presidential candidates with suspended campaigns such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. And he can easily see Paul, a libertarian lawmaker from Lake Jackson, getting a “significant percentage” of votes.
George C. Edwards III, a political science professor at Texas A University, said the GOP lock on Texas leads national Republicans to see it as a place to seek money, not votes.
“The Electoral College means that candidates will ignore Texas,” Edwards said. “You’re not going to see either candidate campaign here during the general election because we already know the outcome.”