WASHINGTON — It's over, and Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP nominee for president.
That's the growing consensus among Republican National Committee members who will automatically attend the party's national convention this summer and can support any candidate they choose.
Even some members who support other candidates begrudgingly say the math doesn't add up for anyone but the former Massachusetts governor.
"I would be surprised if Romney doesn't get the number he needs," said Jeff Johnson of Minnesota, who supports former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Bob Bennett of Ohio was more blunt.
"Look, Gov. Romney's going to be the nominee, and he's going to have enough votes," said Bennett, who is publicly neutral but said he supported Romney four years ago.
Romney's chief rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, is pledging to stay in the race, hoping a victory in his home state's primary April 24 will give his campaign new life. But Santorum has fallen far behind Romney in the race for convention delegates, and RNC members are taking notice, even though most are publicly staying neutral, preferring to let primary voters decide the nominee.4 comments on this story
The Associated Press has polled 114 of the 120 superdelegates, party members who can support any candidate for president they choose at the national convention in August, regardless of what happens in primaries or caucuses.
In the latest survey, conducted Tuesday to Friday, Romney has 35 endorsements, far more than anyone else but a modest figure for the apparent nominee. Gingrich has four endorsements, Santorum has two and Texas Rep. Ron Paul got one.
RNC members have been slowly embracing Romney. He picked up 11 new endorsements since the last AP survey a month ago, after the Super Tuesday contests.
In the overall race for delegates, Romney has 660 and Santorum has 281, according to the AP count. Gingrich is even farther behind, with 135, followed by Paul with 51.