Romney-Haters for Ron Paul (in Virginia)

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 2 2012 1:09 PM

Romney-Haters for Ron Paul (in Virginia)

The Virginia primary is a mess. The state has 49 delegates to hand out on Super Tuesday, but only one candidate has traveled there recently to try and win them. That candidate was Ron Paul. His opponent is Mitt Romney. No one else is on the ballot.

In theory, Paul has a chance to take Romney on and humiliate him. It'll be tough, because the rules give all the delegates in a district or statewide to a candidate who wins more than 50 percent of the vote. This is a two-man race. Every poll shows Romney winning with more than 50 percent of the vote. Is there any particular part of the state where Paul could overperform? Perhaps. But when he won 4.5 percent statewide in 2008, he did about that well in every district.

Advertisement

But the Paul campaign is the only thing that can stop Mitt Romney from netting as many delegates from one state as, say, Rick Santorum could net from Tennessee, Ohio, and Georgia combined. The Paul campaign is getting late, opportunistic support from groups like Citizens for the Republic, chaired by Gingrich biographer Craig Shirley, employing Santorum counsel Cleta Mitchell. What is it actually doing in Virginia, besides putting out statements of support for Paul? Executive director Bill Pascoe stayed vague.

"Calls are being made, emails are being circulated," he said. "Particularly in Northern Virginia, there might be an awful lot of people who support Ron Paul on a series of issues but don't usually vote in this primary." He was referring to Democrats and independents; there is no party registration in Virginia. But conservative, hey, you guys should vote for Paul, too! "If the choice is between Romney and Ron Paul, Ron Paul is the more conservative candidate."

But was this a "dirty trick?" That's what Romney's campaign said about Rick Santorum's effort to pull in non-Republicans to vote against Romney in Michigan. The Romney campaign called it illegitimate.

"The illegitimacy is the ballot situation," he said. "The illegitimacy was denying ballot slots to other candidates. Under the clean hands doctrine, Romney doesn't have clean hands to make any argument here. Also, look: Romney's whole argument is electability. If you want to show you're electable, why be unhappy about Democrats coming in to vote for a Republican?"

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.