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Santorum Fiddles With Delegate Counts as Illinois Burns

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rick Santorum's campaign chose to howl Tuesday about proper delegate counts as it trailed by a wide margin in the Illinois primary.

As Illinois Republicans voted Tuesday for their preferred nominee, Santorum's senior strategist protested about unfair delegate counts by the media and Mitt Romney.

Rick Santorum

"Most of the media accounts that you see out there, and certainly the Romney count, for whatever reason choose to make their assessments based on the straw polls that do not have an impact rather than the county conventions, the district conventions that do have an impact," John Brabender said in a conference call.

Santorum, though, has ridden surprise momentum on a few occasions in this 2012 GOP race due in part to his performances in non-binding straw polls.

Brabender said that the campaign's latest delegate counts are out now because district and county conventions were just launched in some states.

Iowa, where he staged a charge only a few days before the Jan. 3 caucuses, leaned in favor of Santorum by a mere tenth of a percentage point in the statewide straw poll. The state didn't allot any binding delegates that day. Iowa counties convened on March 10 for county conventions to choose delegates for the district and state conventions, but none of those delegates are binding. Iowa won't select a single national delegate until June 16.

In Minnesota and Colorado, where Santorum grabbed shocking victories on Feb. 7, the votes were, again, for non-binding straw polls. Minnesota has been holding its Basic Political Organization Unit Conventions since Feb. 17, and will go through March 31, but this is to choose delegates for district and state conventions. National delegates won't begin to be chosen until April 14. A similar process has yet to unfold in Colorado, where county "assemblies" gather March 28 to choose delegates for the district and state conventions. Colorado's first national delegates won't be chosen until April 12.

Even Missouri, where Santorum handily won a Feb. 7 primary that had no bearing at all on the state's 52 national delegates, won't finish county caucuses until Saturday. County caucuses, like the other aforementioned states, choose delegates for district and state conventions where national delegates will be officially chosen in April and June.

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