Iowa-County Conventions

Saturday were the county conventions in Iowa.  On the Republican side,  the national convention delegates were allocated by the preference vote in the precinct delegates; so the county convention is merely about who will go to the state and congressional district conventions to choose the actual delegates (which might matter if the Republicans end up with a deadlocked convention).  On the Democratic side, the results of the precinct meetings (as reported to the media) are an estimate of what will happen at the county meeting, and the county meetings can change things.  While there appear to have been some changes at the county level, it appears that the bottom line has not changed.

Last week, I looked at the results of the precinct conventions and identified fourteen counties in which (primarily due to O’Malley and uncommitted delegates), the final delegate count was ambiguous.  Based on the results posted by the Iowa Democratic Party, in addition to these fourteen counties, there appear to have been nine other counties that gave a reminder on Saturday that delegates are technically free to change their preferences between each round of the process.  (By my original estimate, a total of eighteen projected delegates changed hands, but it is possible that my counts of the delegates to the county convention included some mathematical errors.)The most interesting of these nine counties was Mills County.

In Mills County, after the precinct meetings, Clinton had twenty-three delegates to the county convention and Bernie Sanders had twenty-two delegates.   With the county convention electing five delegates to the state convention, the projected split was three Clinton delegates to two Sanders delegates.  However, after the county convention, Clinton emerged with two delegates, Sanders with one, and Martin O’Malley and uncommitted also got one delegate each.  It would be interesting to hear news reports out of Mills County on how this happened.  Given that it takes seven delegates to be viable, it is theoretically possible that the Sanders delegates decided to split up 8-7-7 to “steal” a state convention delegate.  There is also the possibility that in some of the precincts, O’Malley or uncommitted voters “got” a county convention delegate in exchange for joining one of the other candidates when the O’Malley/uncommitted groups were too small to be viable. and reverted to their original preference (but it is hard seeing that many delegates having secret preferences).

The net results of these changes were minimal.  By my estimate, the result of switches gained Senator Sanders, Governor O’Malley, and uncommitted one state delegate each at the cost of three delegates for Secretary Clinton.  However, the “undecided delegates” spilt eight to seven in favor of Secretary Clinton.  The end results, however, appear to change nothing in terms of national convention delegates.

At the first district convention, Sanders will have 195 delegates to 193 delegates for Clinton.  With eight delegates at stake, the current vote would translate into a 4-4 split.    As it only takes 170 district convention delegates to get four national convention delegates, it would take a major swing to alter this projection.

At the second district convention, Sanders has a 193 to 179 lead.  Again, this projects to a 4-4 split with it taking 163 district convention delegates to get that split.

At the third district convention, Clinton leads 183 to 169 (with the 1 O’Malley delegate and the 1 uncommitted delegate).  Even if Sanders picks up the extra two delegates, Clinton would get four national convention delegates to three Sanders national convention delegates.  It takes 178 delegates to win the district and get the 4-3 split so this district is the easiest to swing.

At the fourth district convention, Clinton leads 146 to 141.  With six delegates at issue, this tentative vote translates to a 3-3 split.  Since it only takes 120 delegates to get that 3-3 split, this district is unlikely to change.

We will officially know the district level results after the district conventions on April 30.

The current count for the state convention has Clinton lead 704 to 700 (with the 1 O’Malley and the 1 uncommitted delegates).  For the party leader delegates, that translates into a 3-3 split with 586 needed to get that third delegate.  The real issue at the state convention on June 18 will be the at-large delegation.  If all of the Clinton delegates show and do not change their votes, Clinton will get the 5-4 split.  However, Clinton is right on the 704 needed to get the 5-4 split.  While Secretary Clinton now has a larger lead (4 delegates) compared to her lead after the precinct caucuses (0.55 delegates), it is not absolutely secured.  On the other hand, the Iowa state convention will be after the last primary.  By that date, it is unlikely that the two campaigns will still be fighting over delegates.

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