As recently as two weeks ago, the Gingrich campaign was apparently unable to name 40 New Hampshire supporters of his presidential campaign.

Candidates needed to file their slates of 20 delegates to the National Convention, along with 20 alternates, with the Secretary of State by November 18. The Gingrich campaign filed a partial slate of 14 delegates and 13 alternates, leaving 13 slots vacant. Among the 27 names Gingrich listed are three members of his staff.

Rick Santorum (12 delegates and 12 alternates) and Michele Bachmann (18 delegates) also filed partial slates. Gary Johnson (10 delegates and one alternate) and Buddy Roemer (eight delegates) also had incomplete filings.

In contrast, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney all filed full slates of 40 people.

No doubt Gingrich would be able to identify 40 committed supporters this week, in the wake of his endorsement by the New Hampshire Union Leader and riding a wave of interest in his candidacy. But the campaign’s failure to do so just nine days prior to the paper’s endorsement is an indicator of the extent to which the campaign is starting from scratch – and could signal a lack of basic organization. Filing a slate of delegates isn’t complicated, but it does require advance planning, as each delegate or alternate needs to sign his or her own form. It’s not the sort of thing that can be left to the last minute.

Any candidate who receives at least 10 percent of the vote on primary day will win at least one delegate to the national convention. Being named on a delegate slate is partly a commitment – in order to serve as a delegate to the national convention, a voter must have been listed with the Secretary of State by the deadline – and partly honorific, a way for campaigns to thank prominent endorsers or recognize hard-working volunteers.

Romney and Perry’s slates read like a who’s who of the New Hampshire Republican establishment, filled with familiar names. In both cases, many well-known public supporters apparently didn’t make the 40 person cut.

Ron Paul’s slate includes a number of state legislators who are supporting the Texas congressman. Among these are state Reps. Carol and Lucien Vita and Laurence Rappaport, all three of whom were among the nine state legislators who supported the Orly Taitz “birther” petition rejected by the state Ballot Law Commission two weeks ago.

Herman Cain’s list includes former U.S. Attorney Tom Colantuono and 2010 congressional candidate Bob Giuda of Warren. He also lists state Rep. William Panek, whom published news reports say switched his allegiance to Gingrich earlier this week. Oops.

New Hampshire has 23 delegates in all. State Republican Chairman Wayne MacDonald and National Committee members Steve Duprey and Phyllis Woods are automatic delegates.

fergus@ferguscullen.com, December 1, 2011