What Happened in the Virgin Islands? Did Ron Paul Win or Did Romney?

Ron Paul won the popular vote in the Virgin Islands, but the media is reporting that Romney won. How can this be? In most caucus states, there are two parts to the process. First, the people vote for the candidate of their choice. Then, those who stay for the second part, get to vote for the people that they want to send as delegates, to the convention.

We all know that delegates are what matter. To be the nominee, a candidate must have 1,144 delegate votes at the convention. So what is the point of the straw poll, in which the people vote for a candidate? In most states, the people who are elected delegates are obligated to vote for a specific candidate based on the percentage that the candidate received in the straw poll. In some states though, like Iowa, Minnesota, and others, the delegates are actually not obligated to vote for any candidate. The straw poll in these states is meaningless, because it doesn’t affect how the delegates will vote at the convention.

This is too complicated for the media to report, so they usually just report the results of the straw poll, even in the states where the straw poll is meaningless, and make no mention of the fact that Ron Paul is actually the favorite to pick up the majority of the delegates in those states.

So what happened in the Virgin Islands? There, it isn’t a two-part process. There is no straw poll at all, to vote for a candidate. Only delegates are voted for, but the people voting for the delegates do know who those running for delegates, support, so a vote for a delegate is considered a vote for the candidate the delegate candidate supports. Here is the result of the poll:

  • Ron Paul 29% (112)
  • Mitt Romney 26% (101)
  • Rick Santorum 6% (23)
  • Newt Gingrich 5% (18)
  • Uncommitted 34% (130)

Ron Paul indirectly received more votes than Romney, yet Romney ended up getting more delegates. How did this happen? The winners at the caucus were the top six vote receivers. There were only three Romney supporters running, and six Ron Paul supporters, which caused the Ron Paul vote to be spread out among those six supporters. Only one Ron Paul supporter ended up in the top six. All three Romney supporters got elected, and two uncommitted delegates got elected.

Romney already had three super delegates committed to him, which gives him a total of 6. Super delegates are not elected at the caucus. They are party insiders that get to go to the convention automatically. This was the delegate total after the Virgin Islands caucus:

  • Mitt Romney 6 (3 regular delegates plus 3 super delegates)
  • Ron Paul 1
  • Uncommitted 2
  • Rick Santorum 0
  • Newt Gingrich 0

So the media is right in that Romney really did win the Virgin Islands where it counts. My question is, why is it that they all of a sudden decided to focus on delegates? Ron Paul won the popular vote, and the media decides that for this state it isn’t important?

According to Wikipedia, one of the uncommitted delegates announced his support for Romney after the vote had already taken place, giving Romney a total of 7 delegates. The 31 votes that that person received, the media is basically adding to Romney’s total, which puts him ahead of Paul in the popular vote as well. This is how they are justifying their reporting that Romney was the only winner in the Virgin Islands.

When the vote took place, those pledged to Ron Paul got more votes than any other candidate, period. That uncommitted delegate that pledged his support for Romney afterwards, didn’t have Romney next to his name, so I don’t think it is appropriate to take those votes and give them to Romney.

So yes, Mitt Romney won the Virgin Islands, but would it kill the media to mention that Ron Paul won the popular vote? They’ve been reporting the winner of meaningless straw polls in states that we all suspect Paul will end up with the majority of the delegates when it’s all set and done, and now they decide it’s not important to mention which candidate got the most votes? Had it been Ron Paul who got the majority of the delegates and Romney who won the popular vote, there is no doubt in my mind that the popular vote would be the focus right now, in the media reports.

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