03/16/2012 04:39 pm ET

Michael Steele: Mitt Romney Won't Clinch GOP Nomination Before Republican Convention

Former GOP Chairman Michael Steele told an MSNBC panel on Friday that he does not think Mitt Romney will be able to get the 1,144 delegates necessary to clinch the GOP presidential nomination before the Republican National Convention.

"If you take the most generous number of delegates that Romney would have at this point, whether it’s 419 or more, the RNC I think has fewer numbers, give him all of the remaining eight winner-take-all states, that’s about 382 delegates," Steele said. "He still doesn’t get to 1,144 when the remaining states are proportional."

Steele explained that Romney would have to win 50-60 percent of the vote in the remaining states where delegates are awarded proportionally in order to get to the magic number of 1,144 delegates. "Do you see Mitt taking 50-60 percent of those proportional delegates?" Steele asked. "No. So it's going to be tough for him, at this point, to get there."

The Republican primary race has been unpredictable thus far and has lasted longer than most people expected, beginning about nine months ago. On Tuesday Rick Santorum swept the Mississippi and Alabama primaries, extending it even further.

Still, the GOP race has not yet broken the record for longest primary race, which was set by the 2008 Democratic primary, which lasted a year and five months according to the National Association of Secretaries of State.