Romney wins NC, inches closer to magic number of delegates
Posted May 8, 2012
Updated May 9, 2012
WASHINGTON — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney added to his big lead in the race for convention delegates Tuesday by winning Republican presidential primaries in North Carolina, West Virginia and Indiana, inching closer to the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.
North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said he was "thrilled" by Romney's victory.
"With North Carolina’s unemployment rate remaining at an unacceptably high level, our citizens demand a president who understands how to create an environment where job creators can flourish," Hayes said in a statement. "Governor Romney’s successful business and governing background make him uniquely qualified for the job."
None of the outcomes is a surprise. Romney faces no serious challenge to the Republican nomination.
Even the candidate himself is essentially ignoring Tuesday's primaries. Romney has been spending the day campaigning in Michigan, where he castigated President Barack Obama as an "old-school liberal" whose policies would take the country backward.
Romney won at least 55 delegates Tuesday, with 52 still undecided. Romney has a commanding lead in the race for delegates with 911. He is 233 delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to clinch the nomination — a gap he could close by the end of the month.
The only other Republican still in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, has 94 delegates.
Romney won all 27 delegates at stake in Indiana and at least 28 of the 52 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina. Voters also went to the polls in West Virginia, with 28 delegates at stake, but delegate results were not expected on election night.
West Virginia elects individual delegates directly on the ballot. Each delegate is listed on the ballot — three in each of the three congressional districts and 19 statewide — along with the presidential candidate they support. With 112 candidates running for the 19 statewide spots, results were expected to be late.
North Carolina awarded delegates in direct proportion to the statewide vote, so Paul should win a few delegates even though he was trailing Romney by 55 percentage points with about 42 percent of the precincts reporting.
Even Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who both dropped out of the race, stand to win a few North Carolina delegates because their names were still on the ballot.