Uncommitted, a Winner at Last
By Juliet Eilperin
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) declared victory last night in Tuesday's Louisiana Caucus. But the real winner was "uncommitted," a stand-in for an anti-abortion slate. Yes, after making strong showing in Michigan, it appears Uncommitted has finally won a gold medal in the presidential race.
Explaining -- let alone understanding -- what happened this week in Louisiana presents a serious challenge for even the most devoted of political junkies. Consider this: Louisiana has 47 delegates total, 20 of which will be determined during a separate state primary on Feb. 9. Tuesday's caucus elected 105 delegates to attend the Feb. 16 state convention, who in turn will elect 21 delegates. (The remaining six are split between the state chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman and the three bonus delegates the state received in the wake of Gov. Bobby Jindal's election.)
Of those 105 delegates chosen Tuesday, McCain received roughly 30, more than any other named candidate. But "uncommitted pro-life" received twice that, about 70 delegates. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) each received a few delegates as well, but state officials are still calculating the exact number each candidate received because so many provisional ballots were cast. Caucusgoers had to register as Republicans by Nov. 30 in order to participate in the process but a number of voters -- many of whom were Paul supporters -- showed up and cast provisional ballots since questions remained over whether they had met this requirement.
Still, some of the delegates elected to the "uncommitted pro-life" slate now say they will support McCain. The upshot: Wednesday night the Louisiana GOP announced that the senator had won the state's caucus. According to a statement by the McCain campaign, "victory in Louisiana is another indication of John McCain's growing momentum and of the fact that John McCain is the consistent conservative choice capable of winning the GOP stronghold of the South this November."
And don't just take the campaign's word for it: former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, McCain's state chair, issued his own (albeit eerily similar) statement on the caucus Wednesday night.
"Last night's results go to show that John McCain is the best hope of conservatives here in Louisiana and across the country," Roemer said. "The people of Louisiana know that actions speak louder than words, and that's why they chose John McCain over Mitt Romney. He is the only candidate with a long-held and consistent record of defending life, of protecting our national security, and of promoting pro-growth economic principles that benefit hard-working American families. John McCain is quickly emerging as the consensus candidate in the Republican race and the only conservative who can win this November."
Alas, Uncommitted could not be reached for comment on the matter.
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