Like leap year, talk of a brokered convention seems to surface every presidential cycle. Unlike leap year, the brokered convention itself rarely seems to happen in the end.

But this time around, as the GOP candidates grind it out delegate by delegate, the prospects seemed greater than at any time in the past few decades. As recently as Monday, Rick Santorum insisted he could collect enough delegates to deny rival Mitt Romney the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination outright.

As The New York Times' blog The Caucusput it the other day:

"Asked about the odds of a brokered convention, Mr. Santorum said, 'Obviously, they are increasing.'"

That view looks pretty different Wednesday morning. Politico's Mike Allen notesthat now "Romney would need just under 50 percent of the remaining delegates to get the nomination, per his campaign. Santorum would need almost 80 percent. Gingrich would need almost 90 percent."

Allen also points out that the Atlanta-Journal Constitution has news to dampen the hopes of Newt Gingrich, who seems to be banking on a contested convention turning to him as a last-minute anti-Romney alternative.

As Jim Galloway notes, the Republican party's rule no. 40(b) requires that "Each candidate for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a plurality of the delegates from each of five (5) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination."

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