I talked to a reporter yesterday about the prospects of a brokered convention in Tampa. I said I didn't think that was going to happen because either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum would have either secured the nomination or would be close to the required 1,144 delegates by the time the primary season ends in June.
If either of them is close, then I believe two of the other three, which would include Ron Paul, would release their delegates to the presumptive winner thus avoiding a brokered convention. Why? Because fighting all the way to Tampa in late August would mean the eventual nominee would have only about 10 weeks to mount a general election campaign against President Barack Obama.
If the non-likely candidates get in behind the presumptive winner in June, the campaign against Obama starts at that point giving the GOP nominee an additional 60 days to focus his attention on the President instead of the other Republican candidates.
I suspect that if the leader in the clubhouse at the end of June is Santorum, Gingrich will join Romney and Paul in supporting him. If the leader is Romney, it would not surprise me if Gingrich withheld his support because he feels he has been personally offended by Romney.
Reporters love to play the "what if" game. The reporter I was talking to "what if-ed" me to the point where I said, "Look, an asteroid could fall on our heads during this phone call; but we would look pretty silly running to the basement of our buildings to avoid it, right?"
In the end, I still think Romney is the best bet to win this thing, but given what happened Tuesday night it might take the support of Ron Paul and/or Rick Santorum to put him over the top. That means brokering a deal - but it will be done prior to Republicans in funny hats gathering in Tampa on August 27.
Romney is a deal-maker. That's how he made his money.
If it comes down to making deal with Santorum and Paul, I have no doubt Romney will be able to get it done well before August.
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