A New Effort To Give Texas More Influence On GOP Primary Race

Mitt Romney is expected to have the GOP presidential nomination pretty much sewn up by the time Texas holds its primary on May 29th. But some in the state GOP want Texas to have a bigger influence on the primary race, by changing the way the delegates are awarded.

Historically, Texas has used a winner-take-all model to award delegates in GOP presidential primary elections.  This year, the state had to change to awarding delegates in proportion to the votes each candidate earned.  The national party insisted on that change because Texas was originally scheduled to hold its primary before April 1st. 

However, the protracted fight over redistricting pushed the primary to the end of May.  And now a group of Rick Santorum supporters has launched a petition drive to revert to winner-take-all. 

Mark Jones chairs the political science department at Rice University.  He doesn't think the state or national GOP would go for the change.

"What a majority of the Republican establishment wants right now is to end this as soon as possible.  And so, they're not going to do anything that would prolong the Republican primary process any longer than they absolutely have to."

Jones says the state GOP establishment doesn't want to take any actions that could be seen as deliberately hurting Mitt Romney.  Also, Jones says rule changes should happen much sooner than just a month or two before an election.

"People design their strategies based upon the rules of the game.  It's sorta like, in football, saying 'okay, in the third quarter, a touchdown is now worth 20 points"

Jones believes this effort by some in the State Republican Executive Committee to change the delegate rules will be vain.  He predicts Romney will have all the delegates he needs to be the clear choice for the nomination by the end of this month — four weeks before Texas holds its primary.

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