This is fascinating. We're still monitoring the GOP superdelegates for their endorsements, and it's pretty incredible that so many of them still haven't publicly endorsed the presumptive nominee.
And so we turn our attention to Minnesota, where towards the end of the contentious state convention, RNC members Pat Anderson (uncommitted) and Jeff Johnson (still listed for Gingrich) gave speeches. And not once did either mention Mitt Romney's name. Johnson focused on Paul:
So I want to say something to both the Ron Paul lovers in the room, and the Ron Paul haters in the room.
In probably the strangest day in the history of superdelegates, a petulant Mitt Romney would not allow members of the RNC to enter a meeting with him unless they signed a form pledging an endorsement. Most did, but notably for the presumptive nominee, many did not:
No signature, no photo. At a private reception for supporters before a speech to the Republican National Committee, a top aide to presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney risked creating an incident by enforcing that rule.
Romney held a gathering this morning for RNC members who have pledged to support his campaign at the convention in Tampa, Fla. To gain access and get a photograph taken, RNC members had to sign a pledge promising to vote for Romney.
But members of the Iowa delegation tried to join the party, even though they have not pledged to back Romney. Iowa National Committeewoman Kim Lehman was supporting former Sen. Rick Santorum; state party Chairman A.J. Spiker is the only one of the 168 RNC members to publicly back Rep. Ron Paul; and National Committeeman Steve Scheffler remains unpledged.
Romney completes the hat trick in West Virginia, picking up the last remaining superdelegate:
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is considered one of the front runners in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, is the "right person" for the job, West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart said.
The superdelegate chaos in Massachusetts has ended, and Romney's former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey has won the race for committeewoman position, and as a Romney supporter, becomes Romney's 33rd superdelegate. (We did not have her predecessor, Jody Dow, counted for Romney).
Mitt Romney won all 9 delegates in Guam tonight, including all 3 superdelegates:
Romney picked up all nine delegates from Guam. Republicans on the tiny Pacific island met Saturday at their state convention and backed the former Massachusetts governor in a unanimous show of hands.
Convention co-chair Jerry Crisostomo says though Guam's Republican National Convention delegates are technically uncommitted all pledged to vote for the candidate chosen at the state convention.
Update: And he's also won all 9 delegates in the Northern Marianas Islands:
Another victory for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He’s won the Republican caucus in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, picking up nine delegates from the U.S. territory.
Romney won 87 percent of the 848 votes cast Saturday on the main islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota. ... Romney was considered the favorite. He was endorsed by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, chairman of the island’s Republican Party.
Fitial says he and the eight other delegates will support Romney at the Republican National Convention in Florida.
We already had Fitial for Romney, so that's an additional 2 superdelegates, and additional 8 total, for Romney.
Chairman Herb Schoenbaum says Romney can count on seven delegates from the Virgin Islands. He already had three superdelegates before Saturday's caucuses and he picked up three more in voting in St. Thomas and St. Croix. After the vote, an uncommitted delegate switched to Romney.
Ron Paul got one delegate, and one delegate remains uncommitted.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/10/2687209/romney-wins-virgin-islands-gop.html#storylink=cpy
We had 2 of the USVI superdelegates already for Romney.
Finally, Romney has picked up 3 delegates in Wyoming today, with Santorum getting 3, with 3 more to be picked.
RNC member Bettye Fine Collins of Alabama said she supports Santorum because he can better relate to regular working people. That contrasts with Romney's image as a wealthy investor who made millions on Wall Street.
Santorum "has never flip-flopped on conservative values," Collins said, alluding to Romney changing positions on some issues.
We had been basing our superdelegate list on the RNC Delegate Summary (also in the left sidebar), but more and more we're finding out that the document is out-of-date or just wrong. This article notes that MO superdelegates are unbound and can vote as they wish, and consultations with the experts at Green Papers indicate the same for VT's superdelegates. So we have added the 6 supers back to the list, giving us 126 superdelegates up-for-grabs.
Two other notes. The VT GOP just appointed a new chairman, Jack Lindley, who has been added to our list. In addition, Section 11.h of the Vermont GOP rules state:
h.) Election of National Committeeman and Committeewoman
The delegates to the Republican State Convention in Presidential years shall elect one (1) man and one (1) woman for the offices of National Committeeman and National Committeewoman from this state for the ensuing four years.
But we've seen other states where Spring elections of national committeemen/women do not take effect until after the convention, so we'll keep our current VT list as it is, for now.
The total Texas delegation of delegates and alternates to the Republican National Convention shall be proportional to the statewide presidential primary vote, as provided for in this rule.
Seems clear, right? "Total" means "total", right? But today, Munisteri said no, he is a superdelegate:
With Texas' primary date up in the air, there's a question about how important the state will be to the GOP nominating process. One sign of the uncertainty may be that Munisteri's telephone has been curiously silent on at least one front since Perry got out of the presidential race.
Munisteri had supported Perry's White House bid but now is undecided. What's more, he's a super-delegate."
I wouldn't have expected anybody to call me while Perry was running because I was very publicly for Perry, but I would have thought the campaigns would have made efforts to contact the supporters of the candidates that dropped out, especially supporters that are automatically guaranteed delegate spots," Munisteri said. "Maybe I just don't understand campaigns. I must be missing something."
So we did some more research, and found two things. First, the General Rules, cited above, also says in Section 38.7.b:
At the State Convention, the National Nominations Committee shall meet to select nominees for all at-large delegates and alternate delegates, and consider the recommended names of members of the Congressional District Caucuses for possible selection as National Convention Delegates and Alternates. Those individuals who have access to the floor of the National Convention by virtue of their office shall be prohibited for selection as an at-large national delegate, by the National Nominations Committee.
So the superdelegates are not considered "at-large delegates".
We also found meeting minutes of the TX GOP (h/t Green Papers), which says:
Under the new rule, presidential candidates will be allocated national convention delegates in direct proportion to the statewide popular vote they receive in the Texas Republican Primary on March 6, 2012. However, to ensure that local leadership continues to have significant input in the selection of delegates, 3 delegates per Congressional district will still be selected. With 36 Congressional districts, this means that 108 of the state's 155 delegates will be selected by individual Congressional districts. 3 delegate spots are reserved for the National Committeeman, National Committeewoman and State Chairman, pursuant to national party rules. The remaining 44 delegates will be selected at-large by a nominating committee at the convention.
Former Iowa chairman Matt Strawn stepped down recently in the wake of the vote-count fiasco, creating an vacancy on the superdelegate list. This morning, Ron Paul Iowa co-chair AJ Spiker was elected the new chairman of the Iowa Republican State Party, giving Paul his first superdelegate. It is also a clear sign of organization strength for the Paul campaign, in their their quest to get excess delegates out of the caucus states, and it makes tonight's Maine results even more interesting.
Even though there may not be much of a presidential race by primary day, Illinois’ Republican Party chairman is optimistic that the likely nominee will do some campaigning here between now and March 20.
“I think Gov. (Mitt) Romney will be through (Illinois) in March,” said Pat Brady. ... Brady said he is supporting the former Massachusetts governor as, Brady believes, the best choice to oust President Obama.
And a rare party chairman endorsement also. That's #18 for Romney. (Note that the story is dated 1/18/12, between NH and SC).
The crowd came alive as Don Carlos Méndez, mayor of Aguadilla City, Puerto Rico, took the stage to introduce Gingrich.
"I do believe that Newt Gingrich is going to be the next president of the United States," Mendez said, to wild applause. "And I do believe that Callista, his wife, Callista Gingrich is going to be a wonderful first lady. The best first lady ever!"