By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
(CNN) – Mitt Romney may be in the driver’s seat right now, but there is still a chance he won’t be able to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination before the party convention in Tampa at the end of August.
If he comes up short, there could be a contested convention. That means the delegates actually would have to vote on the convention floor for the nominee.
That has prompted many of us to take a closer look at the arcane party rules that would guide the voting.
Republican Party Rule No. 40 is intriguing. It could automatically eliminate Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul for any consideration at the convention.
For a candidate’s name to be considered, the rule says, that candidate must have won the plurality of delegates in at least five states. Here’s the rule’s exact language:
“Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a plurality of the delegates from each of five (5) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination.”
As you know, Ron Paul so far has not won a plurality of delegates in any state.
Newt Gingrich has won South Carolina and Georgia, but he’s still three states shy of meeting the convention requirement.
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have more than met the requirement.
We are going through the other rules to see what other surprises might be in store if no one gets to the magic number in advance. Stay tuned.
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