Delegate Math: Weeks of April 4 and April 11

The key contest for both sides during the week of April 4 is the Wisconsin Primary on April 5.  Additionally, Colorado Republicans will hold their congressional district conventions on April 8 and their state convention on April 9.  Democrats will hold county caucuses in Wyoming on April 9.  The Republicans will hold the second part of their delegate selection in Wyoming at the state convention on April 16 in the only contest scheduled for the week of April 11.

For the Republicans, the Wisconsin primary is a winner-take-most primary.  The candidate who finishes first in each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts will win three delegates (twenty-four total).  The candidate who finishes first state-wide will win eighteen delegates.  As with other upcoming contests, a key issue will be whether the Kasich and Cruz folks can cooperate.  Both Kasich and Cruz should be competitive in individual districts.  Current state-wide numbers suggest a tight race between Cruz and Trump with Kasich not entirely out of the picture.

For Colorado, there was no formal preference vote in the initial caucuses, and there will not be any formal preference vote at any of the conventions.  However, those running for the delegate slots had the option of filing as pledged to a particular candidate.  If a delegate has pledged to support a candidate, they are bound by that pledge.  Each of the seven districts will elect three delegates (twenty-one total) with the state convention electing thirteen at-large delegates.  These meetings will be a test of organizational skills.  My hunch says that Cruz will take at least eighteen delegates, but uncommitted could come in second.

Similarly in Wyoming, there is no presidential preference votes but delegates are bound based on their declared preference at the time that they file for national convention delegate.  At the earlier county conventions, Cruz won 9 of 12 delegates and 10 of 12 alternates.  It is likely that Cruz will get most of the 14 delegates at stake at the state convention.  (His delegates took about 65% of the votes at the county conventions.)

On the Democratic side, the delegate count is as follows:  1st district — six delegates; 2nd district — eleven delegates; 3rd district — seven delegates; 4th district — ten delegates; 5th district — five delegates; 6th district — six delegates; 7th district — six delegates; 8th district — six delegates; party leader — ten delegates; and at-large — nineteen delegates.  As in past weeks, the six delegate districts are most likely to result in a 3-3 split or maybe a 4-2 split.  The big chance to pick up delegates will be in the second district and the fourth district (as well as at least one delegate in the 3rd and 5th) if either candidate can win those districts by a large enough margin.   Right now Wisconsin looks to be a close contest.  If Sanders is going to make any significant dent in Clinton’s delegate lead, Wisconsin is the type of state that Sanders needs to win by a significant margin.  (The folks at 538 project that in a close national race, Sanders would be expected to win Wisconsin by 13% and pick up a net of at-least ten delegates).

Wyoming is one of the last states with a  caucus.  (There are also some territorial conventions left.)  So far, caucuses have been Sander’s strength, winning nine and coming in close in the other two.    Wyoming (with only one congressional district) has eight district delegates that will be awarded based on the vote at Saturday’s county meetings.  Based on past results, Sanders has a good chance of taking six of the eight.  Wyoming has two party leader delegates and four at-large delegates which will be awarded based on the vote at the state convention at the end of May.  (Of course, the vote on Saturday is used to choose the delegates to the state convention so the percentages should stay roughly the same).   Sanders should take four or five of the six state-wide delegates.

As noted in past weeks, the clock is steadily ticking on the candidates.  On the Democratic side, after this week’s contests, half of the remaining delegates will come from just three states — New York, Pennsylvania, and California.  While Sanders has chances in these states, none of these states are currently looking like the type of landslide win that Sanders needs to close the gap.  On the Republican side, there are about 900 delegates left to be awarded.  As noted above, some of these delegates will technically go to the convention as uncommitted.  Trump needs to win solid majorities every week to have enough delegates to prevent the party leadership from using a contested convention to deny him the nomination.  Kasich and Cruz need to combine for solid majorities to keep Trump below 1,100 delegates to undermine any claim by Trump that he is being cheated out of the nomination.

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