Santorum Backers Push Winner-Take-All Texas Primary

Friday, 06 Apr 2012 11:34 AM

By Robert Engler

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wants Texas to provide a boost to his campaign by changing the state’s May 29 primary into a winner-take-all contest, a move the Republican National Committee (RNC) has rejected.
 
Weston Martinez, a Santorum supporter and Texas GOP official, told the Austin American-Statesman Thursday he has enough state party executive committee support to call an emergency meeting to change how the state’s 152 delegates are awarded in the primary.
 
A change would allow the candidate who wins the primary to claim all of the delegates instead of them being apportioned based on vote percentages.
 
If he succeeds, and the RNC does grant a waiver for the change, then Texas could become a make-or-break state for Santorum, who is some distance behind Romney in the chase to collect the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the party’s nomination.
 
“If our campaign wins Texas . . . the delegate gap with Mitt Romney will have closed dramatically and this campaign will head to the convention and be decided there,” the Santorum campaign said in fundraising email to supporters. “If we do not, our grass-roots, issue-based campaign together for a better America will end in the Lone Star State.”
 
Martinez, who previously backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s run for president, said he was pushing the change to give the state’s voters a bigger say in the nomination fight. 
 
“Texans want to be relevant. We’ve been passed by in the process before, and we’re tired of sitting on the sidelines,” Martinez told the American-Statesman.
 
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, however, said Thursday via his Twitter account, “There is no basis for a waiver. Texas will remain a proportional state.”

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