The Big Story Blog

Romney seeks momentum in Minnesota

Posted at 8:47 AM on February 1, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican presidential nominations are usually a done deal by the time they reach Minnesota. That's what Mitt Romney's hoping as he enters the state today for some campaigning leading up to state precinct caucuses Feb. 7.

After losing South Carolina to Newt Gingrich, Romney scored a big win last night in Florida.

Romney has some strong support already in Minnesota with the backing of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The Boston Globe this morning reports Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann may also be poised to endorse Romney.

Certainly it will be tough for Romney or any other Republican to win a November presidential majority in Minnesota, where Richard Nixon (1972) was the last Republican to win the state.

Still, the fight over Minnesota's Republican convention delegates is intriguing. Romney seems to be pulling away. If he doesn't, though, pundits are speculating already about Republicans going into their convention without a clear-cut candidate.

If that happens, the Washington Post writes, it could make Minnesota's delegates very important. Laying out scenarios for a brokered GOP convention, the Post writes that Minnesota's potentially unbound delegates could play kingmaker:

Another scenario... is that no candidate comes in with a majority, but it's a close call. In that case, all eyes would focus on the "unbound" delegates -- the delegates who can theoretically vote for whoever they wanted.

There are 412 such delegates now, including a number of state party chairs, and Minnesota and Louisiana could still decided to "unbind" their 65 delegates at upcoming state conventions. Add it up, and that's a potentially powerful swing bloc... about one-fifth of the delegates..."
Yes, an unlikely scenario, but one that makes Romney's Minnesota visit today a lot more interesting.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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