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Reality Check: The truth behind the Republican delegate numbers

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(FOX19) - A number of people have been asking me online to explain where the Republican candidates stand on delegates.  Largely because everywhere you look, different numbers are being reported.

From CNN, to Fox news, even the AP.  So what is correct and what is not?  Tonight, the truth in the numbers.

Let's begin with what the candidates need.  2,286 delegates are slated to go to the Republican Party's national convention.  In order to win the Republican nomination for president, a candidate needs to have 1,144 delegates votes at the convention in Tampa.

Let's start with Iowa.  Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucus by 8 votes over Rick Santorum.  Ron Paul was a close third.  So how were those delegates awarded?

According to the Huffington Post, Fox News and the Associated Press, Iowa had 25 delegates to award.  Romney won 13 and Santorum 12 delegates.  Ron Paul, they said, didn't win in each of the state's 4 congressional districts, therefore wasn't eligible for any delegates.

CNN disagreed and put the totals like this, seven delegates for Romney, seven for Santorum and seven for Paul.  Those are probably the numbers you have seen reported.  All of it is wrong.

So who do those 25 delegates go to? So far, nobody. Iowa has what are called soft delegates. That means they can vote for whomever they choose.  Also, there is no rule about winning in all four districts.

The Iowa party rep I spoke with says when those delegates go to Tampa, they are free to vote for whomever they choose. They are not bound to the winner of the caucus, the second place winner the third place, etc.

So before last night, the actual number of assigned delegates was zero.

We won't know who those delegates vote for until the convention. 

What about New Hampshire?

New Hampshire moved up its primary and was punished by the RNC. Instead of having its usual 24 delegates, this year it has only 12.  Last night, Romney took 39 percent of the vote.  He now has seven hard delegates. Ron Paul took 24 percent of the vote and was awarded three hard delegates.  Finally, Jon Huntsman finished with 17 percent of the vote and was awarded two delegates.

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