The Virgin Islands Caucus: How Ron Paul Lost By Getting the Most Votes

SPRINGFIELD, VA - FEBRUARY 28: A little girl participates in a primary night party for Republican Presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) February 28, 2012 in Springfield, Virginia. According to early exit polls, Mitt Romney has a very slim lead over Rick Santorum in Michigan’s primary, with Romney projected to win the Arizona primary. Voters in Michigan and Arizona went to the polls today to pick their choice for the Republican presidential nominee. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The headline doesn’t match the data. Reporting from St. Thomas, the AP declares Mitt Romney the winner of the Virgin Islands caucuses. And at the same time the local Republcian Party prints these numbers.

384 total cast

112 to Paul (29%) Won one delegate

101 to Romney (26%) Won three delegates plus three RNC  member pledge.  (Pick up a uncommitted delegate after the balloting for a total of seven.)

23 to Santorm (6%) No delegates

18 to Gingrich (5%) No delegates


130 Uncommitted (34%) Two delegates but one changed to Romney after the vote totals were announced

How did Paul get 11 more votes than Romney, but lose to him on delegates? It’s complicated. The Virgin Islands doesn’t portion out delegates by popular vote. Voters literally elect delegates – the six with the most support get to go to Tampa. So April Newland, John Clendenin, Luis Martinez, all Romney supporters, made it into the top bracket. Warren Bruce Cole, an uncommitted delegate, won then backed Romney. Only one Paul delegate, Robert Max Schanfarber, made the six.

A pity for Paul. Just like in Virginia, he and Romney were the only candidates who hustled to qualify for the election. Both had six VI delegates on the slate; Santorum only had two.