GOP Skeptics Holding Out For Late-Entry Hero To Save 2012?

What were once murmurs about a late entry by a candidate into the Republican presidential primary or a potential convention fight for the nomination have become a topic of open speculation in the GOP, reflecting concerns about the party’s existing crop of competitors.

Odds remain heavily stacked against the party arriving at its convention without a nominee, but the remaining candidates face lingering doubts about their strength versus President Barack Obama ... and that's fueling discussion that some kind of “knight in shining armor” could, or should, ride in to “save” the GOP at the last moment.

Mitt Romney in particular is facing fresh doubts about his ability to take the reins in the Republican primary after failing to win several recent caucus contests. Now Romney appears to be at risk of losing next Tuesday’s primary in his native Michigan to Rick Santorum.

Romney has failed to seal the deal in a series of key primaries and caucuses over the month and a half, struggling to win over skeptical conservatives. Santorum, in turn, has rallied those conservatives to score victories which stymied Romney’s momentum, but did nothing to quell doubts about the former Pennsylvania senator’s ability to square off against Obama in November.

The speculation -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s endorsed Romney, acknowledged Wednesday that he’s still facing pressure to wage his own campaign -- may well reach a fever pitch after Super Tuesday on March 6.

If the race between Romney, Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul remains stalemated and no single candidate is able to amass the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination, talk will grow louder about a once-unthinkable possibility: a contested, or brokered, convention and the potential for a new candidate to be added to the mix.

"Anything's possible. I think it's unlikely," Romney said earlier this month on FOX News, addressing the possibility of a contested convention.

"I must say I'd be a little surprised if we went all the way to August or September until we had a nominee. That would be unusual. Is it mathematically possible? Yeah, but usually one or the other candidates runs out of money, runs out of support, and someone else is able to garner the delegates needed for the nomination," Romney said.

Gingrich, who’s vowed to fight all the way to the convention, was more sanguine Wednesday morning on FOX News: “I think it may go all the way to Tampa. I think this may be the most open nominating process we've seen since 1940.”

Such scenarios are, in part, the continuation of the dominant campaign story line from 2011, when Republican activists fiercely courted other candidates to join the race.

A number of Republicans to whom conservatives had looked ended up skipping the race; governors like Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Mitch Daniels of Indiana declined running. Only Texas Gov. Rick Perry fell victim to the swan song of dissatisfied Republicans, and made in August what was then considered a “late” entry into the campaign.

And even Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Christie reconsidered their opposition to running in response to Republican entreaties last fall.

NBC News projections have allocated 138 total delegates between Romney, Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul as a result of the first nine primaries. Fifty-nine delegates are at stake in next week’s Arizona and Michigan primaries, with 43 up for grabs in March 3’s Washington caucus. A whopping 437 delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday, on which 10 states host caucuses or primaries.

Continuing on into March, though, rule changes from the Republican National Committee mean that a number of the primaries and contests that allotted its delegates on a winner-take-all basis in 2008 are now forced to award delegates proportionally -- in some cases, as long as no candidate clears 50 percent -- in 2012. Many of these contests are back-loaded in the primary calendar this spring, making it more difficult for any candidate to amass a major lead in the delegate count.

A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination, making a late entry difficult but certainly not implausible with big states which offer large shares of delegates yet to vote. The filing deadlines for most states have passed, though a candidate could conceivably enter and play to win a large contest like California. Those primaries and caucuses wouldn't give a candidate enough delegates to win the nomination, but he or she might carry momentum into a brokered convention.

The notion that Romney has even addressed such scenarios, however unlikely they may be, highlights the difficulties he’s facing in winning over conservatives. That breakdown is reflected in Wednesday’s NBC News/Marist polls, in which Santorum leads Romney among voters in Arizona and Michigan who describe themselves as “very conservative.”

If he loses next Tuesday in Michigan to Santorum, talk about finding a new candidate -- either through a late primary entry or a brokered convention -- is poised to reach a fever pitch.

“We have a great field though, as it stands, and we are going to see how this process evolves and if it if ends up as a brokered convention at the end of the day, well that would be a really exciting time for all,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, told reporters earlier this month at the annual CPAC conference. (She said Tuesday evening on FOX News that Republicans shouldn’t fear a contested convention, though she expressed doubt that party leaders would turn to her in case of a stalemate.)

“If that’s what happens, that’s fine,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a conservative darling, told a Florida Fox affiliate earlier this month. Rubio, a favorite choice as a running mate for the eventual GOP nominee, said he still saw such a scenario as unlikely.

But a brokered convention remains more a fantasy of political journalists at this point than a realistic scenario. A virtual perfect storm of variables would have to fall into place for none of the four remaining Republican candidates to have won enough delegates to secure the nomination by late August.

And the bench of remaining Republican candidates is scant; a number of onetime GOP hopefuls have ruled out running, and would have to reverse their stance. There are also very few unifying national figures right now in the GOP who could rally the whole party behind their candidacy. And any candidate to make a late entry or win nomination at the convention would face major logistical and fundraising hurdles trying to quickly bring a national campaign online.

“I just don't see that happening,” Daniels said Tuesday on the Fox Business Network about his willingness to reconsider. “And I can't say often enough that this is just not an obsession or personal ambition of mine.”

Moreover, the existing crop of candidates is primed to carry the fight all the way to the convention. Gingrich might have been forced to end his campaign for lack of finances in a more conventional cycle, but a super PAC funded primarily by billionaire Sheldon Adelson may help the ex-speaker follow through with his vow to fight all the way to the convention.

And Romney advisers have consistently said they have been working on a strategy aimed at winning the necessary number of delegates to secure the nomination -- a type of long-game strategy that could advantage the former Massachusetts governor.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 2, 2012 at 03:42 AM
    They better go look for Daffy Duck, stand a better chance than Romney or Santorum.
  • by New candidate? Location: enc on Mar 1, 2012 at 09:09 AM
    The GOP has a new candidate in Ill. He is Arthur Jones, running on the GOP ticket for the Senate. He is also an out-spoken neo-nazi! He is a member of the American Socialist Party. This is the party name for Nazi, NOT socialim or communism as Snake doesn't seem to understand. So far, there have been no out-cries from the GOP. Of course, Peter Brinelow-a white supremist- was a "featured speaker" at this year's CPAC and Paul has accepted contributions from other white supremist groups, so they don't have much to stand on. For those of you who think the Dems. have lost the Jewish vote, I would remind you that Jones says the Holocaust never happened.
  • by Jackie B on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:13 PM
    My prediction: Romney will win - by a squeaker. He'll proudly declare victory, thank the 'wonderful people of Michigan' (many of whom he wanted to send to unemployment), praise the height of the trees and sing "American the Beautiful". There will be a recount and Romney will actually have lost by 10 votes
  • by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:06 PM
    Go Ricky.....This Liberal Progressive Democrat is pulling for ya. Obama 2012
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Feb 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM
    THIS JUST IN! HOT OFF THE PRESS! The Republican Party has been sold! I repeat: The Republican Party has been sold. Very credible sources say the GOP has been sold to extreem right wing radicals. It is rumored to be lead by extreemist to the likes of The Talibans Rick Santorum and the well known Cult leader Willard "Mitt" Romney. Stay tuned for more information on this breaking story!
    • reply
      by Enough is enough on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:09 PM in reply to Lavon
      I am a Moderate Republican, so do not hate on me too much. :-) I was just speaking with some Republican coworkers. We all agree that if Santorum is our nominee, we are sitting out this election and letting the RNC know not to ask us for cash in 2012. To all the Ds out there, we Rs are not all like Santorum. That guy is dangerous. Romney has his many faults, but it is not like we had a great crowd to choose from. What a mess. Obama and Hillary going at it in 2008 was nothing compared to our show. (Those two kept it professional) All the Republican party is doing right now is providing Obama with plenty of ammo come election time. I have a headache.
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM
    I know some people dislike facts , but I figure I will put this out. Lavon this is the way we spell ' Rasmussen ' If you ever ues your computer to find a fact? Monday, February 27, 2012 Republicans hold a four-point lead over Democrats on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, Feb. 26. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 39% would choose the Democrat instead. Last week, the Republican led by just one point. The national telephone survey of 3,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from February 20-26, 2012. The margin of sampling error for the survey is /- 2 percentage point with a 95% level of confidence.
    • reply
      by Lavon on Feb 28, 2012 at 02:39 PM in reply to Wolfgang
      Wolfgang just tried to show me how to spell and spelled Use as "UES" LMBO!!!! Ha ha ha ha!!! I tell you what folks it doesn't get any more pathetic than that.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM in reply to Wolfgang
      I know some people dislike facts , but I figure I will put this out....Wolfsbreath is OSOC. (he's having another idenity episode again)
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:08 PM in reply to
        No news there...every body already knew that.
    • reply
      by Lavon on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM in reply to Wolfgang
      Im now 100 percent convinced that Wolfgang is Snake Oil. This guy is a Troll, just ignore him..
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Feb 29, 2012 at 01:14 PM in reply to Lavon
        I'm now 100% convinced that you are totally clueless Barlow......
    • reply
      by And... on Feb 29, 2012 at 10:47 AM in reply to Wolfgang
      The only fact we see is a man with many names,one tinfoil hat.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Feb 29, 2012 at 01:15 PM in reply to And...
        Wow, you world must be closing from all sides....
    • reply
      by RS on Mar 1, 2012 at 01:15 AM in reply to Wolfgang
      Check your state voter turn out. There's not enough voters that have gone to the poles to carry thier states in a presidential run off. Most states to date have had lower than the "low voter turn out" they anticipated. The proof is in the pudding. The republicans just don't don't like the pieces on th game board. So much for your statistics.
  • by Religious freedome? Location: enc on Feb 28, 2012 at 08:52 AM
    While the GOP is screaming about a business having to provide health insurance, Rick Perry's state-Texas is requiring a Jewish school to compete in the state basketball finals on the Sabbath~! They asked that the schedule be change, but it was no go. Therefore, these boys are forfeiting the game! How's that for caring about religious freedom? Denying healthy insurance is fine, but changing a basketball game time is too much trouble! The GOP is nothing if not hypocritical!
    • reply
      by H a Ha Ha on Feb 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM in reply to Religious freedome?
      Party of Fools/Idiots/Creeps/Hypocrites/ etc etc etc.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:29 AM
    What is so funny, most of you anti GOP posters just don't seem to understand that the power to vote out Obama is more than the power to keep him in. He is a dismal failure yet you turn the blind side to it. Thats OK, 4 dollar to 5 dollar gas is just a guarentee that he is gone. He has tied the hands of US oil companies and now pays for it at the pumps. So when you put Obamagas in your tank, just remember, its the cost of hope and change. You hope prices come down and pray they change soon.
    • reply
      by Lavon on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:58 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      LOL. According to what polls. Have you found anyone that can beat Obama yet Snake Oil?
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:14 AM in reply to Lavon
        Dear Lavon or Barlow, As you may have noticed, we’ve asked you for a donation a few times now. But according to our records, you haven’t yet made an online donation to this campaign at this email address. (If our records are wrong, I apologize and thank you!) I’m not writing to ask you for money again. I’m actually writing to ask your opinion about why you haven’t given, and what you think would inspire you or other Obama supporters like you to decide to take the leap and donate. We have two quick questions for you. Can you take a minute to answer them? There’s a good reason we’re asking for your feedback: The kind of organization we all decided to be a part of only works if people like you pitch in to build it. It’s also the reason no other candidate has been able to match our level of grassroots support. This isn’t the easiest way to run a campaign — but we know it’s the right way. That’s why we want to know what you’re thinking. Thanks so much, Rufus Rufus Gifford National Finance Director Obama for America
        • reply
          by To Oddball Snake Oil Co. on Feb 28, 2012 at 02:51 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
          You fail to notice one thing....The Dems are NOT DESPERATELY LOOKING for another Canididate, but the GOP are! If Santorum wins tonight in Mich. the GOP heads will spin..just like in the EXORCIST!!
    • reply
      by x on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      I'm a Democrat with many Republican friends and NONE of them are anything like Rick Santorum (and some are religious). ALL of them are in a quandary about the election - some voted for Obama in 2008; some will do so again. Others will sit out the election and vote only for local candidates. Some might pull the lever for Romney (I think that's a mistake) but NONE would vote for Santorum.
  • by The Badger on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:19 AM
    Come on Dems, help these pitiful fools in Michigan so they wont look so bad, vote for Santorum or Romney in the primaries then after the GOP celebrates... Kapoweeeee, Vote Obama in 2012!! LOL Repugs are so stupid.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:01 AM
    According to osoc, the GOP don't need's in the bag for them. He is still suffering from a case of denial.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:19 AM in reply to
      Denial? Really? Me? The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 26% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -16 (see trends). That’s the president’s lowest rating in over a month.
      • reply
        by And... on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:37 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        This just in, polls show the futures in GOP tinfoil hats down over 59%. Good thing you can save yours for next election.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Feb 28, 2012 at 07:38 AM in reply to And...
          Wow, are you going to have a fit in Nov....I hate hearing a whinny libterd complaining about how "they cheated"...just like usual. Obamas donations are down so you better step up or step in it. His approval is down to Bush approval at the end of his second term...even Jimmy Carter was beating Obamas approval. And you know its over when contributors only send in pennies as the are using their money to buy Obamagas and Obamaoil for heating. Now go pound sand and have that good cry you need...
    • reply
      by And... on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:44 AM in reply to
      That was just after he was runner up the eastern nc tinfoil hatter of the year. The prizes, a sweater vest with matching magic underwear was shared with his imaginary friend wolfgank.

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