More than 700 delegates are still available across the 11 states still to hold primaries, and Mr. Romney is now virtually assured of collecting the bulk of them and clinching the nomination.
Throughout the campaign, Mr. Paul has said his lower vote totals would be countered by his supporters’ enthusiasm, particularly in states that hold caucuses.
In many of those states, the initial caucuses amounted to nonbinding straw polls, with the real delegate-selection process for the Tampa convention happening at regional and state meetings. Mr. Paul’s supporters have been more likely to show up at those meetings and win the delegate slots.
Now Mr. Paul will rely on trying to maximize delegates at the few states that have yet to choose their final delegates to the national convention, such as Washington and Missouri. He can also try to win over support of delegates who were bound to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum — two former candidates who have suspended their campaigns.
“Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that liberty is the way of the future,” Mr. Paul said.
Many of Mr. Paul’s supporters argue he can still win the nomination, pointing to his success in having his supporters elected as delegates to the convention.
But most of those delegates are actually bound by the results of the primaries and conventions to vote for another candidate in the first round of voting. Most delegates’ personal views won’t come into play unless no candidate wins on the first ballot.
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Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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