Tsunami Tuesday guide

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I don't do predictions, but I will set out a rosy scenario: If John McCain is to be stopped from all but clinching the nomination, the following is the way the evening would need to unfold.

All times Central. Delegate numbers will differ from what you see elsewhere, because I only include delegates who will be elected or bound by tomorrow's events. In many states with binding primaries, the state's three RNC members are not bound to any candidate. I am relying on the excellent The Green Papers website, along with state election board and state Republican party websites, for information on rules, delegate counts, and poll-closing times.

Going into Tuesday:

The BatesLine Strict-Constructionist Delegate Count has McCain with 86 delegates, Romney with 32, Huckabee with 13, Thompson 3, and Hunter 1. That accounts for primaries in NH, MI, SC, and FL, and the Wyoming county conventions which elected 12 delegates. I don't make any estimates based on the straw polls taken at the Iowa, Nevada, or Maine caucuses; the real decisions about national delegates won't be made until later stages of the process and will be influenced by what happens between now and then.

Sometime during the day:

West Virginia state convention (official website): It's only for 18 delegates, but this could be the most fun event of the entire day. The state party designed a process that got thousands of West Virginia Republicans to register and vote for state delegates online and got the attention of the major candidates. Huckabee, Romney, and Paul are all showing up to speak; former La. Gov. Buddy Roemer will speak on McCain's behalf. Over a thousand delegates have been certified; most were selected earlier this month by Internet voting. The candidates for state delegate identified themselves by their presidential preference. Elected officials and members of county and state executive committees make up the rest of the convention.

If no one has a majority after the first ballot, the top three will go on to the second ballot. If no one gets a majority again, a third ballot between the top two will decide the winner of all 18 delegates. (A later primary will choose 9 more delegates.) As of January 18, before Thompson and Giuliani left the race, 520 were uncommitted, Romney 184, Huckabee 132, Thompson 103, Paul 68, Giuliani 41, McCain 12, Hunter 4. It's wide open, and it may come down to how well the candidates connect with the delegates in their speeches. For that reason, I'll predict that Huckabee will win. Huckabee 18.

6:00 p.m.

Georgia primary: 33 statewide delegates (including 3 RNC members who are bound to the statewide winner), 39 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Huckabee wins statewide, but by a very close margin, taking 9 of 13 CDs, losing 3 CDs to McCain and one to Romney. Huckabee 60, McCain 9, Romney 3.

7:00 p.m.

Alabama primary: 24 statewide delegates, 21 congressional district delegates (3 each for seven districts). Proportional allocation with a 15% threshold. Breaking 50% wins all the delegates. Huckabee wins, but close enough that McCain takes a couple of congressional districts. Romney gets a proportion of the statewide delegates. Huckabee 23, McCain 16, Romney 6.

Connecticut primary: 27 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 27.

Delaware primary: 18 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 18.

Illinois primary: 57 congressional district delegates, with each district having 2, 3, or 4 delegates depending on how strongly they supported Bush in 2004. Ignore the statewide "beauty contest" vote. Voters will vote directly for delegates and alternates; each delegate candidate's presidential preference is listed on the ballot. Effectively this will be winner-take-all by congressional district. McCain wins statewide, but Romney wins several CDs downstate. McCain 33, Romney 24.

Massachusetts primary: 10 statewide delegates, 30 congressional district delegates (3 each for ten districts). Proportional allocation with a 15% threshold. Romney wins. Romney 27, McCain 13.

Missouri primary: 58 delegates, winner-take-all. Huckabee 58.

New Jersey primary: 52 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 52.

Oklahoma primary: 23 statewide delegates, 15 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Huckabee wins statewide, but by a very close margin, winning CDs 1, 2, and 3. CDs 4 and 5 go to McCain. Huckabee 32, McCain 6.

Tennessee primary: 25 statewide delegates, 27 congressional district delegates (3 each for nine districts). Proportional allocation with a 20% threshold. Breaking 66% wins all the delegates. The ballot is daunting (PDF sample here of the ballot Instapundit will see in Knox County) -- you cast your presidential preference, then you vote for 12 statewide delegates and three congressional district delegates. Order of finish among delegates for a certain candidate determines who gets to go to St Paul. For example, if Huckabee gets 55% of the vote in a congressional district, the top two vote-getting Huckabee delegates in that CD are elected to go to the RNC. Huckabee wins, but everybody gets some delegates. Huckabee 27, McCain 16, Romney 9.

7:30 p.m.

Arkansas primary: 19 statewide delegates, 12 congressional district delegates (3 each for four districts). Proportional allocation with a 10% threshold. Breaking 50% wins all the delegates. Huckabee wins and breaks 50% in each of the congressional districts. Huckabee 31.

8:00 p.m.

New York primary: 87 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 87.

9:00 p.m.

Arizona primary: 50 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 50.

Utah primary: 36 delegates, winner-take-all. One of Romney's three home states. Romney 36.

10:00 p.m.

California primary: 11 statewide delegates, 159 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Romney wins, but McCain takes 20 congressional districts, winning heavily Democratic districts that don't contribute as much to the statewide total. Romney 110, McCain 60.

Montana presidential preference caucus: 25 delegates are at stake. Each county will hold a caucus. State, county, and local elected officials, and state, county, and precinct party officials will be the only eligible voters. The precinct party officials were elected at precinct caucuses back in December. Each county caucus will take a presidential preference vote toward the end of their meeting. Montana's delegates will be bound to the candidate with the most votes statewide. Caucus times vary, but all the results ought to be in by 10 p.m. our time. Romney should win this one. Romney 25.

North Dakota presidential preference caucus: 26 delegates are at stake. Polls will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time. Results are due in to state HQ by 10 p.m. Central. If someone gets two-thirds of the vote, they get all the delegates. Otherwise, delegates are allocated proportionately with a 15% threshold. No absentee ballots. (Sorry, Julie.) No polling. I'm guessing that Romney will win this one, but the other two will pick up delegates as well. Romney 12, McCain 9, Huckabee 5.

Other events:

Alaska Republican district conventions: Electing delegates to the state convention. No national delegates will be chosen and no straw poll will be taken, as far as I can find.

Colorado Republican precinct caucuses: A straw poll will be taken, but no national delegates will be chosen or allocated. Delegates will be elected to the county assemblies and district conventions, but they aren't likely to be selected based on presidential preference.

Minnesota Republican precinct caucuses: A straw poll will be taken, but no national delegates will be chosen or allocated. Delegates will be elected to the equivalent of county conventions, but they aren't likely to be selected based on presidential preference.

Bottom line:

In this admittedly rosy scenario, which requires anti-McCain forces to coalesce around the strongest alternative in each state, Huckabee would win 7 states, McCain 6, and Romney 5, but McCain would win 396 delegates, Huckabee 254, and Romney 252. McCain is doing best in winner-take-all states; Huckabee and Romney's best states have some degree of proportionality. This would bring the totals up to McCain 482, Romney 284, Huckabee 267.

If instead voters jump on McCain's bandwagon, he could easily win 12 of the 18 contests, and come away with over 600 delegates.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 4, 2008 7:35 PM.

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