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All Mitt Romney needed to do in the Texas GOP primary Tuesday was win at least 38 percent of the vote to gather enough delegates to officially clinch the nomination for President.
He pulled down 69 percent, picked up 97 of the proportionally awarded delegates and cleared the 1,144 total hurdle with numbers.
The Republican National Committee and Associated Press count shows Romney with 1,183 delegates.
“It’s over. Romney is the nominee,” GOP political strategist Jonathan Dalton told Capitol Hill Blue Tuesday night. “Ron Paul’s faithful followers can pack the remaining state conventions and caucuses until the cows come home and it won’t make a bit of difference. Republicans have made their choice and that choice is Mitt Romney.”
Romney, attending a Las Vegas fundraiser Tuesday night, acknowledged the nomination:
This was a big day by the way – 1,144. We finally got there. It’s an honor and a privilege, an honor and a privilege, and a great responsibility. And I know the road to 1,144 was long and hard, but I also know that the road to 11/06, November 6, is also going to be long, it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be worth it because we’re going to take back the White House and get America right again.
Texas Congressman Paul, the last hanger-on in the Republican race, couldn’t score even a respectable showing in his home state. Paul finished the night with 11.9 percent of the vote and 10 delegates.
Paul finished just four percentage points ahead of former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, with withdrew from the race long ago and pulled in fewer votes than the combined totals of non-candidates Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who collected 4.7 percent.
Romney didn’t campaign actively in Texas. Paul suspended his “active campaigning” earlier this month to concentrate on the few remaining caucus states but his die-hard fans flooded the Internet with predictions that he would still win Texas.
“Ron Paul will take Texas in a landslide,” posted a supporter under the name Libxist on dailypaul.com. “This will build momentum for him causing supporters from the remaining states to flock to the voting booths, ensuring a brokered convention in Tampa.”
Didn’t quite turn out that way.
Romney’s nomination clinch is expected to bring new calls for Paul to officially end his campaign.
In recent weeks, Ron Paul has emerged as the greatest threat to the Republican Party’s future. If the Texas Congressman and one-time Libertarian Party presidential nominee actually wants to see President Obama defeated in November, he should bow out of the Republican nomination process quickly, accept whatever offer the Romney camp offers him for a speaking slot during the convention, and endorse the inevitable nominee. His continued efforts to pursue delegates (even after saying that he wouldn’t contest future primaries) make the possibility that the GOP convention could become a party-damaging circus rather than the coronation-style infomercial that’s needed to unify the party.
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