By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
Jeff Greenfield has a great piece in Bloomberg explaining why, due to Republican Party procedures, Newt Gingrich really can take the nomination battle all the way to the Republican National Convention. After Florida, there are only a few more statewide winner-take-all primaries.
As Greenfield writes, "What we have instead is a patchwork of rules: Most states allocate most of their delegates by congressional district; some have the top two finishers split those delegates; some give them all to the district winner, but only if he gets 50 percent or more; some use winner-take-all for each district."
This means it’s going to take Mitt Romney a long time to accumulate the delegates he needs to win the nomination outright. If Gingrich stays in the race and Ron Paul stays in, they’ll likely lock up enough delegates to be serious forces down the line. Also, remember, the Republican rules say that if a candidate wins pluralities of delegates in five states – and those can include Guam or Washington DC – then you name gets placed on the ballot. If the candidate chooses to stay in the race, the party then goes through the whole drama of voting at the convention.
This protracted struggle is made for Newt Gingrich. He wants to be up on stage giving a speech at the convention. It’s possible that we’ll have a contentious national convention, the likes of which we haven’t had since Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter in 1980.