Delegate Math — Week of May 9

With Donald Trump being the last Republican standing, delegate math on the Republican side is almost meaningless.  (Of course with early voting, some segments of votes have already been cast and some segment of voters tend to vote against the presumptive nominee.)  On May 10, the Republicans will have primaries in Nebraska (thirty-six delegates on winner-take-all basis) and West Virginia (thirty-one directly elected delegates — three in each district and twenty-two state-wide.  There are some weird restrictions on the twenty-two state-wide delegates that could distort the results if voters do not understand the rules).  Trump still needs 223 more delegates to clinch the nomination.  As such, he will probably not officially clinch the nomination until June 7, but it would take some very bizarre results between now and June 7 to stop Trump from getting the nomination.  In the upcoming weeks, I am sure there will be several posts on this site on what the nomination of Trump means for this year’s elections and the future of the Republican Party.

On the Democratic side, counting superdelegates, Hillary Clinton is approximately 189 delegates short of clinching the nomination.  The main event this week is the West Virginia Primary on May 10.  The delegate breakdown in West Virginia is seven delegates in both the first and second districts, six delegates for both the third district and the at-large pool, and three pledged party leader delegates.  Given votes in similar states, Bernie Sanders has a shot at getting to five delegates (64.3%) in the first and the second and four delegates in the third and at-large.  With an almost certain 2-1 split for the pledged party leaders, that would give Sanders a 20-9 advantage.

Additionally, there are two state conventions on Saturday and Sunday — Alaska and Nevada.  In Alaska, Sanders is projected to get 13 delegates to Clinton’s 3.  Given the numbers in Alaska, the only way that Sanders could improve on the local caucus estimates would be if enough delegates switched or did not show up to keep Clinton below 15% (Clinton had 20% of the state convention delegates after the local caucuses).

In Nevada, the state convention will only allocate the state-wide delegates.  The congressional district caucuses are based on the precinct caucus results.  After the precinct caucuses, Clinton had a projected 7-5 edge (based on a narrow win giving 4-3 and 3-2 splits).  After the county conventions, Sanders had a projected 7-5 edge.  It took a significant swing at the county level to swing the state from Clinton to Sanders.  It would take an even larger swing at the state convention to increase the number of delegates for Sanders.

The net result is that this week will probably confirm 20 projected delegates for Sanders and 8 projected delegates for Clinton along with an additional 20-9 split in favor of Sanders among new delegates.  At this point in time, the Sanders math requires that he win 100% of the delegates remaining and get some of the currently available superdelegates.  As time goes on and Clinton wins even one-third of the remaining pledged delegates, the math will require that Sanders convince some superdelegates who have pledged to support Clinton to switch.   After this week (and certainly after next week), Clinton will have enough estimated pledged delegates (and maybe enough actual pledged delegates) to allow the remaining “unpledged” superdelegates to get Clinton to a majority of the delegates at the convention.

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