WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s over, and Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP nominee for president.
That’s the growing consensus among Republican National Committee members who will automatically attend the party’s national convention this summer and can support any candidate they choose.
Even some RNC members who support other candidates begrudgingly say the math doesn’t add up for anyone but the former Massachusetts governor.
Romney’s chief rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, is vowing to stay in the race, hoping a win in his home state’s primary on April 24 will give new life to his campaign. But Santorum has fallen far behind Romney in the race for convention delegates, and RNC members are taking notice, even though most are publicly staying neutral, preferring to let primary voters decide the nominee.
The Associated Press has polled 114 of the 120 RNC superdelegates, party members who can support any candidate for president they choose at the national convention in August, regardless of what happens in primaries or caucuses.
Results from the latest survey conducted Tuesday to Friday: Romney has 35 endorsements, far more than anyone else but a modest figure for the apparent nominee. Gingrich has four endorsements, Santorum has two and Texas Rep. Ron Paul got one.
RNC members have been slowly embracing Romney — he picked up 11 new endorsements since the last AP survey a month ago, after the Super Tuesday contests. Over the course of the campaign, however, Romney has methodically added endorsements from every region of the country. And in the U.S. territories, where voters help decide the nominee but can’t vote in the general election, Romney has dominated.
Romney may be struggling among voters in the South, but he was endorsed by two of the three RNC members in Mississippi, Henry Barbour and Jeanne Luckey. Romney even has support from RNC member Robert Asher of Pennsylvania, the state Santorum represented in the Senate.
“I talked to Rick the other day,” Gleason said. “He didn’t even ask me to support him.”