State of the race

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Moxie is puzzled:

I'm having a tough time understanding exactly WHO is voting in the Republican primaries and caucuses. Because it should be Republicans.

How is it that McCain, Romney and Huckabee keep winning, when good, solid conservatives like Duncan Hunter, Fred "sleepy" Thompson and RUDY barely register?

I wouldn't count Rudy as a good, solid conservative, but still, she has a point.

We haven't had one primary yet in which only registered Republicans are allowed to vote.

New Hampshire has registration by party, but allowed independents ("undeclared voters") to vote in either primary.

Michigan and South Carolina don't have registration by party. Michigan's Democratic primary was meaningless, so Democrats would have been tempted to vote in the Republican primary. South Carolina's Democratic primary isn't until next Saturday, so centrists may have decided to go ahead and vote in the Republican primary.

Florida's is the first primary where you must be a registered Republican to vote in the Republican primary.

Tonight's result is interesting because it appears that McCain and Huckabee each won three of South Carolina's six congressional districts. Huckabee won everything north of I-20 toward the mountains; McCain won everything to the south toward the ocean.

South Carolina is winner-take-all by congressional district. It is also one of the states that has been penalized with the loss of half its delegates for going too early, but it's not clear whether the lost delegates will be taken from the statewide delegates or from the congressional district delegates. If it's the former, then Huckabee wins 9 delegates and McCain wins 15. If it's the latter, then Huckabee wins 3 and McCain wins 21. I'm going to bet that the former method is used, but it may depend on which candidate has the most supporters in the state's Republican hierarchy.

CNN is keeping a delegate count and they are kind enough to show their work, detailing which delegates come from which states. I think they're wrong, however, in estimating the makeup of Iowa and Nevada delegations based on straw poll results at their caucuses. The preferences of the actual delegates elected to the convention won't be determined until those delegates are elected in April (for Nevada) and June (for Iowa).

An accurate delegate count should only include those delegates who are bound by primary results plus the announced preferences of delegates who have already been elected to go to the national convention. That means delegates bound by the New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina primaries, plus the announced (but unbound) preferences of the 12 national delegates elected by Wyoming's county conventions two weeks ago, plus any announced (but unbound) preferences of Republican National Committee members who are national convention delegates ex officio.

NH: McCain 7, Romney 4, Huckabee 1
MI: Romney 20, McCain 7, Huckabee 3
SC: McCain 15, Huckabee 9

So that's McCain 29, Romney 24, Huckabee 13.

Add in the
Wyoming results: 9 of the delegates elected at their county conventions said they support Romney, 3 said they support Thompson, and 1 said he supports Hunter. They are free to change their minds between now and the national convention in September, and they may well do so. Adding them in anyway, we get to Romney 33, McCain 29, Huckabee 13, Thompson 3, Hunter 1.

CNN says they've surveyed RNC members and 6 support Romney, 3 support Huckabee, and 1 supports Giuliani. They are free to change their minds before the convention.

I wonder if CNN is only surveying RNC members who have already been re-elected. Two of Oklahoma's three RNC members won't be running for re-election; their replacements will be elected in May at the state convention.

Still, counting those in, we end up at Romney 39, McCain 29, Huckabee 16, Thompson 3, Hunter 1, Giuliani 1. 1,191 is how many you need to be nominated.

So McCain leads in terms of bound delegates, Romney leads when you include elected, unbound delegates who have announced a preference.

Florida's 57 delegates will go to the candidate with the highest vote total -- winner-take-all statewide.

On February 5, here's how it breaks down. (Delegates bound by the primary vote listed in parentheses. * means RNC members are bound.)

Winner-take-all, statewide: Arizona (50), Connecticut (27), Delaware (24*), Montana (25*), Missouri (58*), New Jersey (52*), New York (87), Utah (36*), West Virginia (18)

Winner-take-all, statewide and by congressional district: California (170), Georgia (72), Oklahoma (38)

Proportional allocation: Alabama (45), Arkansas (31), Massachusetts (40), North Dakota (26*), Tennessee (40)

Elected, but unbound: Illinois (57)

Montana and West Virginia are odd cases. Montana holds county conventions involving about 2,000 party officials statewide. A presidential preference poll will be taken and the winner will control all 25 delegates. West Virginia is holding a state convention. A roll call will be taken and if no one has 50% or more, they hold a second ballot with the top three candidates, and if necessary hold a third ballot with the top two. The candidate that prevails takes 18 delegates. Nine more will be allocated in the May primary.

Illinois has a "beauty contest" primary, but voters also elect national delegates, whose presidential preferences will be listed on the ballot. It appears that, like the Wyoming delegates, presidential preference may help a delegate get elected, but he isn't bound to stay with that preference at the convention.

So that's 812 more delegates bound and another 57 elected but not bound on Super Duper Tuesday.

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3 Comments

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

People don't seem to realize that this is supposed to be a PARTY nomination process. It isn't an election. But I can see how allowing interlopers modify the outcome dampens the influence of the extremists of the parties with the result (maybe) of a more electable candidate. We shall see.

I can recall when the topic of abortion was among the overriding issues in past Republican primaries. I got so stinkin' tired of the constant pestering of candidates to be more specific about their views on abortion. On and on it went. I've heard very little about it this year. Great! Maybe those interlopers are good for something.

Ardent Author Profile Page said:

I agree with S. Lee above. Like them or not, primaries are about members of a party choosing their candidate for the election. There could certainly be a good debate about whether or not there should be any government, election board, etc. connection to a primary, or whether any public funds should be spent for this purpose. While I understand why many would choose to be independent of the various parties, there is really no place for an Independent in a Party Primary.

David V Author Profile Page said:

I guess we all have different definitions of the word; "Conservative".

Fred Thompson endorsed John McCain back in 2000. I was very disappointed with fred for his poor judgement back then, and I consider John McCain to be about as unstable now as he was back then.

Fred has convinced many republicans that his leadership would be preferable to those he has previously endorsed; Including my friend, Michael.

Generally I believe the contest this year is more about character and competence than about policy and positions. Hence my support for Huckabee.

I can support any of the mainstream republican candidates except Rudy. His cluelessness or even worse, callousness about the lives of unborn children is beyond my ability to overlook.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 19, 2008 11:05 PM.

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