Meet the Man Behind the 2012 Delegate Count
"At the state convention,
So Santorum still holds a lot of delegates for the AP's Minnesota caucus projection because the Feb. 7 straw poll projects Santorum to grab a lot of national delegates in the state convention. Santorum will likely lose those delegates as he is no longer in the race.
The scorecard is constantly morphing, and with Santorum's exit earlier this month and Gingrich's announcement of an impending exit, unbound delegates have the freedom to switch their allegiance to Romney or Paul. Ohlemacher credits local and state reporters for doing enormous leg work involving in calling those delegates to finding out if they have shifted their support.
"Santorum and Gingrich dropped out, so that just meant there's another 400 people we have to call, because we have to find out what their delegates are going to do," Ohlemacher says.
Though most news outlets and politicians have declared Romney the presumed-nominee -- essentially awarding him a victory -- Ohlemacher is still arms deep in the uneventful GOP contest.
"Everybody says, 'Oh, your job's over now; it's over right?' I'm like, 'Oh, it's not over yet," Ohlemacher laughs. "I mean it's not over because -- you know, everyone knows Romney's gonna get there, but we still keep track of it and we're going to chart it until he does get to 1,144
Ohlemacher says that before the primary season heated up, he spoke to each of the Republican candidates' campaigns and offered to share the AP's information in advance how it plans to calculate every state. Just to be transparent, as he says. The open line of communication was to allow the campaigns a chance to raise any issues they had with the process.
Ohlemacher says some of the campaigns communicated with him throughout the 2012 primary season, while others didn't, which was mostly due to who had enough staffing to do so. In 2008, he says Obama and Clinton both had delegate experts who called him constantly to stay on top of the numbers.
"Like I said, I don't claim to have a monopoly on all of this," Ohlemacher says. "It's like what any reporter does when you're trying to research a story: you call as many people as you can to get input and then you start writing your story."