The Romney campaign claims he has a lock on the nomination. However, he is saturating the airwaves in Wisconsin as if his political future depended on it. Wisconsin is voting today in a winner-take-all primary. It is an open primary so anyone can vote regardless of party affiliation.
According to Politico, “Romney’s campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future are spending a combined $1,917,764 over the next seven days, including $742,928 from the campaign and the balance from ROF. The pro-Romney super PAC is the only group on the radio in Wisconsin and has a major TV presence across the state.”
Meanwhile, Santorum is responding in kind (albeit with a much smaller budget). According to ABC News, “Rick Santorum is closing out his Wisconsin primary battle with a ferocious new television ad that portrays Romney and President Obama as the same person.”
According to projections from the Associated Press, Romney has 572 delegates (of 55% of the 1031 projected so far) which puts him exactly halfway to the total of 1144 to lock in the nomination. He would need 45.5% of the remaining delegates to avoid a brokered convention.
The Santorum campaign contests those numbers. Many of the states which have voted already have a multi-stage delegate selection process which has not yet been completed, and as we saw recently in North Dakota the results can diverge surprisingly from the initial straw vote. According to DemConWatch only 869 delegates have actually been chosen of which 503 have endorsed or are pledged to Romney. This includes the 50 delegates from Florida chosen in an early winner-take-all primary which is against the rules and likely to be challenged at the Republican National Convention.
However, in the battle for campaign merchandising, Santorum is beating Romney hands down. According to the Washington Post,
The campaign has looked for them, selling official Mitt Romney Super Fan T-shirts for $30 apiece. At last count, it had sold 346. Rick Santorum, by contrast, has sold 3,000 of his $100 souvenir sweater vests.
Primary results after the jump.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No Votes: Black.
No vote yet: Grey.