Delegate Math — Week of May 30th

The primary campaign enters the home stretch.  Depending upon which count you use, Donald Trump either has or is about to clinch the Republican nomination.  (The counts differ in their estimate of how many of the officially “uncommitted” delegates have pledged to support Trump.  Trump is 139 short by the “bound” delegate count.)  Because there are no Republican contests this week, the only thing that can change between now and the next (and final) Republican contests on June 7 will be additional pledges from uncommitted delegates.

This week the action is all on the Democratic side in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Between now and the Virgin Island’s contest, there will be some minor adjustments as results are certified from the April states and as superdelegates announce their support for one of the candidates.  However, barring a large number of superdelegates endorsing Clinton, the delegates up for stake this week should not be enough to clinch the nomination.  At the present time, Clinton is approximately 100 delegates short of clinching the nomination.

The Virgin Islands contest on June 4 is a little bit unusual.  At the territorial mass meeting, attendees from St. Croix will select three delegates.  Attendees from the other islands will select four delegates.  Assuming that both candidates meet the fifteen percent threshold, St. Croix will almost certainly split 2-1.  The other four delegates will either split 3-1 or 2-2.   As a result, the most likely outcomes are either a 5-2 or a 4-3 split (most likely in favor of Clinton).  At this stage of the race, the results in the Virgin Islands will not make much of a difference in the delegate count.  At most the Virgin Islands will play into any “momentum” argument that the Sanders campaign wants to make to the superdelegates.  (That argument is the same reason why Sanders is considering a recount in Kentucky even though such a recount would probably only change one delegate at most.)

The other contest is the Puerto Rico Primary.  Puerto Rico will allocate 40 district level delegates by its eight senatorial districts.    All the districts have an even number of delegates ranging from four delegates to eight delegates.  The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th districts have four delegates each.  It will take 62.5% of the vote to get a 3-1 edge.  The 2nd and 8th districts have six delegates each.  It will take 58.34% to get a 4-2 edge (and 75% to get a 5-1 edge.)  Finally, the 1st district has eight delegates.  It will take 56.25% to get a 5-3 edge (68.75% to get to 6-2, and 81.25% to get to 7-1).  There are seven pledged party leaders and 13 at-large delegates as well.  For the party leader delegates, the winner will get a 4-3 edge, but it will take 64.3% to get to 5-2 (and 78.6% to get to 6-1).  For the at-large delegates, the winner will get a 7-6 edge (with an additional delegate for every 7.7%).  In 2008, Clinton received 68% of the vote in Puerto Rico.  A similar result this time would give her a 42-18 win.

The bottom line is that — depending on the exact results — on the morning of June 6, Clinton will probably be somewhere between 50-70 delegates short of clinching the nomination.  With 700 delegates up for grabs on June 7, Clinton will almost certainly clinch the nomination with 200-300 to spare.

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