Delegate Math — Week of June 13

The end is finally here.

On the Republican side, the voting is over and the only delegate selection still to come is the South Dakota state convention starting on June 24.  Depending upon which count you use, Trump has slightly over 1,440 delegates who are bound to him by current Republican Party rules (and another 80 who are officially uncommitted who have pledged to support him).  Of course, every time Trump opens his mouth, some senior figure in the party begins longingly considering the power of the Rules Committee and the Convention to change those rules.  Whether Trump has enough loyal delegates to survive himself is unclear (and it is unlikely that the Republicans would take this extreme step), but Trump is the exact type of candidate who would justify throwing the rules out the window to save the party.

The Democratic side still has a little more work to do.  With the caveat that the count in California is not yet final, Secretary Clinton currently has around 2,180 pledged delegates to 1,797 delegates for Senator Sanders — a clear majority of pledged delegates (even if Sanders wins every delegate still theoretically up for grabs, he would still be approximately 300 delegates behind Secretary Clinton).

The only primary this week is in the District of Columbia.  D.C. has thirteen district level delegates.  The District (similar to Delaware and Montana) will award the district-level delegates via two sub-districts — one of which will have seven delegates and one of which will have six delegates.  For the seven-delegate sub-district, the winner will get at-least a 4-3 split with it taking 64.3% to get a 5-2 split and 78.6% to get a 6-1 split.  In the other sub-district, it will take 58.4% to get a 4-2 split and 75.1% to get a 5-1 split.

D.C. has two party leader delegates (75.1% to win both delegates) and five at-large delegates (3-2 to the winner with 70% needed for a 4-1 split).  There is a slim chance that Clinton could get to the 85% to win all twenty D.C. delegates.  The more likely result however Is something closer to 13-7.

Besides the D.C. primary, this week and next also include delegate selection meetings in eighteen states and territories.  However, most of these meetings are just delegate selection meetings.  In a small number of caucus states, however, these state conventions will actually finalize the award of delegates.  There are between three and five state conventions taking place on June 18 and June 19 in caucus states.

As best as I can read the rules in North Dakota (June 18) and Washington (June 19), the state conventions are merely delegate selection events.  As I read the rules, both states award the state-level delegates based on the proportion of district-level delegates supporting the candidates.  In Washington, they selected the district-level delegates on May 24 and have already announced the state-level delegates allocated to the two candidates.  In North Dakota, the district-level delegates will be elected at the state convention, but they are apparently allocated based on this past Tuesday’s vote.

The other three conventions (all on June 18) will actually allocate delegates.  The state with the most potential significance is Nebraska.   Like several other states earlier this year, Nebraska has the congressional district meetings as part of the state convention (on the morning of the 18th).  Unlike most of these other states, however, Nebraska allocates the district-level delegates based on the vote at the district meetings.     As earlier states have shown, due to delegates dropping out of the process and not attending county conventions or the state conventions, numbers can change from the initial projections from the precinct caucuses.  Based on the precinct level result, Sanders could potentially gain a delegate in the second district, but could also lose a delegate in the first or third district — with the first being the closest of the three districts after the precinct caucuses.  The breakdown of the state-wide delegates seems more set (with Sanders having a 2-1 edge in the party leader delegates and a 3-2 edge in the at-large delegates).  It would take approximately a very significant swing to alter those allocations.  In short, the current projection of a 15-10 split is unlikely to change, but a 14-11 split or 16-9 split is not entirely out of the question.

While Idaho will also select its congressional district delegates as part of the state convention, Idaho appears to be following the same rules as Nevada did earlier this year — with the district-level delegates being allocated based on the initial results and only the state-level delegates being at stake.  Based on the caucus results, Sanders is currently projected to have a 2-1 split of the pledged party leader delegates and a 4-1 split of the at-large delegates.  The most likely change would be Sanders getting all three party leader delegates.  It would take an approximately 7% swing either way to change the allocation of at-large delegates.  Again, mostly likely no change from the current 6-2 projection, but a 7-1 split is possible.

Finally, there is Iowa.  Iowa has already selected its district-level delegates at district conventions.  As folks may remember way back at the start of the process, Iowa was almost dead-even.  Clinton came out of the county conventions with a 704-700 lead among the state convention delegates (with one uncommitted and one O’Malley delegate).    Given how close this contest was, it is unlikely that there will be enough no shows or switches to change the 3-3 split of the pledged party leader delegates, but either candidate could end up with the most supporters at the state convention to get the 5-4 split of the at-large delegates.

The bottom line from this week is that, when all is over on next Sunday, Sanders might pick up an additional three delegates from the state conventions, but will probably end up trailing Clinton in the over-all pledged delegate count by about 370.  That number will mean that Clinton will technically be relying on automatic delegates to get her to 50% of all delegates.  However, Clinton will have won about 55% of the pledged delegates and will only need about 25% of the automatic delegates to win the nomination.  Since Clinton currently has the support of about 70% of the automatic delegates, it is fair to describe her as the presumptive nominee just as it is fair to describe Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee — although in both cases, theoretically, anything could happen at the convention.

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