Can Gingrich turn around the primary in Delaware?

posted at 11:21 am on April 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Ready for the greatest political comeback of all time?  According to the Newt Gingrich campaign, that’s what they hope to start tomorrow in Delaware by surprising Mitt Romney in tomorrow’s winner-take-all closed primary:

Up until now, Gingrich has promised to take his campaign all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa at the end of the summer, although the odds are not in his favor.

The former House speaker has been spending the majority of his time the past three weeks in the First State. Gingrich has made at least 12 campaign stops in Delaware thus far while the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, has held just one event there.

Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said they are “optimistic” about the results in the state.

“Because Delaware is a small state it has allowed us to campaign effectively,” Hammond said.

“We are looking for a bounce from Delaware and, with a good showing in the state, we will spend a lot of time on the phone with donors.”

The campaign told NBC that Tuesday would be a “big day” and that Gingrich was “just waiting to see” what the outcome of the primary would be.  He told a Wilmington audience last week that a win in Delaware would “break up the media narrative” that has formed from Gingrich’s inability to win a state in over six weeks.  Can Gingrich make this his “game changer” and force Romney to return to primary campaigning?

That’s pretty doubtful, although the possibility of a win isn’t.  Even if Gingrich managed a win, though, he would add 17 delegates to his total, thanks to the all-or-nothing allocation of the state primary.  Romney will win most or all of the other 214 delegates at stake in the other primaries taking place tomorrow; Delaware is the smallest state at stake.  That would move Gingrich from 140 t0 157 delegates, while Romney will easily top 800 and have perhaps as many as 870 by the end of the day tomorrow.  His best shot for another win would be in Texas at the end of May — which proportionally allocates its 155 delegates.

How will Gingrich campaign in a big state like Texas?  He’s millions of dollars in debt now, and even his super-PAC has stopped spending money, despite getting one last infusion from Sheldon Adelson in early March.  But perhaps that’s the key:

The Adelson family gave a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich another $5 million in March, bringing the family’s total investment in the lagging GOP presidential candidate’s campaign to more than $20 million.

Miriam Adelson’s latest donation to the Winning Our Future super PAC, recorded on March 21, shows up in a report filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission and comes as a bit of a surprise. Not only is it a surprise because Gingrich’s campaign has no momentum, but also because the super PAC basically hasn’t spent any of the money in the month since she gave it, and because her husband, billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, said a week after the donation that Gingrich was “at the end of his line.” …

Because of the late nature of the donation, Winning Our Future still had $5.8 million cash on hand at the end of March. And since then, the super PAC has not spent any of it on specific primaries, meaning it is likely still sitting on several million dollars that can be used in future contests.

If Gingrich gets a win in Delaware, the WOF super-PAC may be planning an all-in strategy in Texas.  That might be fun for bloggers, but it’s not going to keep Romney from winning the nomination outright.  Assuming Romney gets to 850 tomorrow, he’ll need less than 300 delegates to get the nomination secured.  Besides Texas, where he will pick up at least 100 delegates even if he loses the state, there are 292 delegates at stake in upcoming proportional primaries, and Romney will win at least half of those, if not most.  Add that to the winner-take-all contests in California (172, by CD), New Jersey (50), and Utah (40), and Gingrich doesn’t have a prayer of stopping Romney, win or no win in Delaware.  The only people who can’t do this math are on Team Gingrich.


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