On Friday, Mitt Romney announced he had won all of Guam’s nine delegates. How did he do it? In a word: organization.
Guam is a tiny U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean with around 160,000 people divided into 19 villages. Each village sends one delegate to the party conference for every 50 votes the Republican governor Eddie Calvo received in the 2010 general election. In addition, a village gets an extra delegate if its representative to the territorial legislature, its mayor, or its deputy mayor is Republican. The governor and lieutenant governor’s home villages each get an extra delegate as well. In total, 215 delegates assembled for the conference on Friday.
At the conference, the delegates elect the national committeeman, national committeewoman, and party chairman. They also elect their delegates to the national convention and hold a straw poll on the presidential nomination. A Guam Republican official tells NRO that Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio made a motion to suspend the rules and let the conference express its preference by acclamation (in this case, by raising hands). Afterward, the governor motioned that the conference express its support for Romney. Both motions passed unanimously.
The conference also elected the delegates, who technically remain unbound. Nonetheless, all of the delegates elected said they would abide by the conference vote and support Romney. Thus, the ex-governor was able to proclaim himself the victor.
The Guam Republican official tells NRO that one reason for Romney’s success was his organization. He earned Calvo’s endorsement after organizing a conference call between his policy staff and the governor’s aides and chatting with Calvo himself over the phone. He also sent his son Matt to address the delegates. Santorum, meanwhile, did not reach out to the governor, though he did call in to a local radio show and hold a conference call with legislators.
The conference call, however, was less than successful. While chatting with them, Santorum revealed he knew little about the territory’s political problems — such as the transfer of Marines from Okinawa to the island, for example.
Santorum also paid dearly for a joke he had made at Guam’s expense while in New Hampshire. Pledging to eliminate the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Santorum had told a crowd that, since judges had life appointments, he would ship them to Guam to keep them as far away from the continental U.S. as possible. Guam Republicans weren’t pleased, and they showed their displeasure by giving a unanimous vote of confidence to Romney.
UPDATE: Another Guam Republican points out that Santorum and Newt Gingrich sent letters to be read at the convention. Santorum’s arrived on time for a reading, but Gingrich’s was a tad too late. It was mentioned in today’s papers.