Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

Convention Committees

While most of the media attention is currently focused on whom might or might not still be in consideration for vice-president, a key activity over the next several weeks will be the work of the convention committees.

Because the Democrats give candidates a key role in selecting their delegates (and here in Missouri we had a bit of an uproar at our state convention due to the Sanders campaign exercising its right to trim the number of candidates for at-large delegates), the Rules Committee and the Credentials Committee tend not to be that important.  The fight this year was in the Platform Committee which wrapped up its work yesterday in Orlando.  There were several changes to the draft platform adopted at the full committee meeting in Orlando, and the revised draft has not yet been posted on the convention’s website (which does have the original version of the draft platform.)  There were some issues on which the committee had significant splits between Clinton and Sanders delegates.  It is unclear if any of these splits will lead to a minority report and debates on the floor.

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Delegate Math: Week of May 2

As a month, May is mostly about delegate selection rather than delegate allocation.  Even on the Democratic side (where some caucus allocations will be finalized), there will be over twenty delegate selection events in various states but fewer than ten delegate allocation events.

On the Republican side, there is just one delegate allocation event — Indiana.  After a good showing this past Tuesday (Trump even apparently got 31 supporters elected as unpledged district delegates in Pennsylvania), Trump looks to have a shot at getting enough delegates to win on the first ballot.  He still needs to win fifty percent of the remaining delegates though (approximately 250).  Indiana is another winner-take-most state  — three delegates to the winner in each of the nine congressional districts and thirty to the state-wide winner.  Indiana is the last best chance for Cruz to prevent Trump from getting the nomination.   After trying to arrange a deal with Kasich and (shades of Ronald Reagan) announcing his VP candidate, Cruz has few angles left to play.  Trump is up by 6% which would likely give him 45+ delegates.  If Cruz can make a comeback (with the help of Kasich supporters), Trump is probably looking at 15 or fewer delegates.  With only around 450 delegates left after Indiana, a thirty delegate swing is a big deal.

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Primary End Game — Republicans

As April begins to turn into May, delegate counts become key.  This site has typically used the count at www.thegreenpapers.com as a good count — mostly because the Green Papers shows its work — exactly how it calculates the delegate counts.  Actually, the Green Papers has four separate counts.  What those different counts mean for the next two months is the main focus of this post.  To explain the terminology that the Green Papers uses, the Green Papers distinguishes between hard counts and soft counts.  The hard count is the actual number of delegates actually won to date.  The soft count has three components — the soft pledged count, the soft unpledged  count, and the soft total.  These components have slightly different meanings for the two parties given the difference in the rules of the two parties.  This post looks in a general sense at what these counts mean — primarily looking at the delegates from the states that have already voted — for the Republicans.

For the Republican Party, because delegates are bound by either the initial presidential preference vote or the delegate’s pledge when they ran for delegate (in certain caucus states, Illinois, and West Virginia), the hard count and the soft pledged count is, for the most part, the same for all of the candidates and differs only for uncommitted.   Soft unpledged (for the most part) represents officially uncommitted delegates who have announced their non-binding support for a candidate.  Additionally, for Colorado and Wyoming, the Green Papers treats the automatic delegates as “available” but for American Samoa, Guam, North Dakota, and the Virgin Islands, the Green Papers treat these delegates as uncommitted.  The actual status appears to be the same for both sets of automatic delegates — because there was no preference vote, these delegates are not bound to support any of the candidates.

For the Republican Party, all that truly matters for now is the hard count.   Including the automatic delegates from Colorado and Wyoming and the 54 district-level delegates from Pennsylvania, there will be 124 unbound delegates available on June 8 (128 if the original delegation from the Virgin Islands is seated by the Convention).  Of those 124 delegates, 18 will be the party leaders (party chair and RNC members) from the three states and three territories that did not hold a preference vote.  The other 106 or 110 will be the individual elected as uncommitted delegates in Colorado (4), American Samoa (6), Guam (6), North Dakota (25), Virgin Islands (2 or 6), Wyoming (1),  Louisiana (5), Oklahoma (3),  and Pennsylvania (54).  In addition to the uncommitted delegates, there are the delegates won by the other candidates.  As discussed last month, as best as can be determined, sixty-nine of these delegates are effectively unbound and another 44 could be released by the candidate to whom they are bound.  Presumably Ben Carson will release his nine delegates, but the other 35 might be kept bound if the remaining candidates are firmly opposed to Trump.  (Given the binding rules, it is hard to see how any candidate other than Trump could win on the first ballot.  If it gets to the second ballot, everything is up in the air.)  The key for unbound delegates is that tentative pledges by these delegates (including guesses as to which way these delegates are believed to be leaning) are not binding or set in stone.  Depending upon how the rest of the campaign goes, they are free to change their mind. Continue Reading...

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Delegate Math: Week of April 25

New York this past week was huge for the front runners in both parties.  For both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the results in New York essentially offset everything that has happened over the past several weeks.  On the Republican side, the race stands essentially where it stood on April 1 except for 223 more delegates allocated.  On the Democratic side, the race stands essentially where it stood on March 14 except for 1197 more delegates allocated.  In other words, the New York reset basically gave Trump a glimmer of hope that he can win enough delegates to get the nomination while it put Clinton back in control of the Democratic race.  This week’s primaries feature five states that comprise the rest of the Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) and the last two New England states (Connecticut and Rhode Island).  For both Trump and Clinton, the hope is that this week will be mostly a repeat of New York.  For Trump that hope is a necessity because he still is behind where he needs to be on the delegate count and May is a little less friendly than this week.  Clinton also faces a potentially weaker performance in May, but she is fast approaching the point where it is mathematically impossible for Sanders to catchup on the pledged delegate count (much less the popular vote count).

Starting with the Republicans, the simplest state is Delaware — 16 delegates — winner-take-all.  There has not been much (if any polling) In Delaware.  Given the polls in neighboring states, Trump looks like the favorite to win in Delaware unless the supporters of Cruz and Kasich can unite to block him.

Maryland is only a little more complex — a winner-take-most state.  Maryland has eight congressional districts and the winner in each of those districts will take three delegates while the state-wide winner will take fourteen delegates.  Polling puts Trump near 40% with Cruz and Kasich tied for second.  There are potentially some districts that Cruz or Kasich could take.  Strategic voting would probably keep Trump from getting 12 or 15 delegates. Continue Reading...

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Delegate Math: New York

For the first time since February, there is only one state holding a primary during a week.  It’s also one of the biggest states in the country — New York.  It also comes at a surprisingly crucial time during the campaign.  By mid-April, the norm is that the race is over.   The lack of money for trailing candidates has typically forced them to suspend their campaign and party leaders are pressing for unity behind the likely nominee.  This year, the race is different.  Bernie Sanders has enough money to keep running through the convention.  Republican leaders are definitely not pushing for unity behind Donald Trump.

On the Republican side, we have seen the rules that New York is using in earlier states.  Delegates are awarded “proportionately” by congressional district (three in each of the twenty-seven districts or eighty-one total) and statewide (fourteen delegates).  As in many states, it takes twenty percent to become eligible for delegates, and a district (or the statewide results) becomes winner-take-all at fifty percent.  As in many states, the congressional district is a 2-1 split between first and second place if two or more candidates qualify.  At the state level, the party rounds delegates to the nearest whole number.   If there are any delegates remaining, they go to the winner.  If there are too many delegates allocated, the additional delegates will be taken from the last-placed candidate.  (At most, the math should lead to one or two delegates being added or subtracted.)

Heading into the primary, Donald Trump seems to be flirting with fifty percent state-wide.  By mathematical necessity, if he gets over fifty percent state-wide, he will get over fifty percent in some districts.  Additionally, Ted Cruz has the small problem of having attacked “New York” values while he was running in other states.  He can probably convince upstate voters (and how you define upstate depends upon where in the state you live — for New York City, upstate includes Westchester and Rockland County, but for Albany and Syracuse voters, Westchester and Rockland County are part of the New York City area as is Long Island) that he meant New York City, not New York State.  But only nine districts are wholly upstate (by the narrow definition).  Perhaps, he can convince some New York City Republicans that he meant the values espoused by Democratic politicians, but Cruz is not likely to be competitive in the New York City districts. Continue Reading...

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Convention Games

As each week passes, it is looking more and more likely that the Republicans are facing the great white whale of politics geeks — the contested convention.  While as discussed earlier, it is likely that the campaigns will maneuver to change the rules governing the convention, there are also some games that the candidates can play within the existing rules as set forth in the Rules of the Republican Party.

We have already seen one type of game being played — trying to “steal” pledged delegates.  As noted at this site, the national rules of the Republican Party do not give candidates the right to have input into the delegates pledged for that candidate, leaving it to the states to define what role (if any) candidates have in delegate selection.   As the folks at 538 have noted, the majority of Republican delegates are selected by party conventions or committees.  While each state has slightly different rules, a candidate with a good delegate selection strategy can slip his supporters into slots allocated to other candidates.  While these delegates are supposedly bound by state party rules and Rule 16 to vote according to their pledge on the first ballot, those state rules only bind the delegates for a certain number of ballots (mostly only the first ballot).  If nobody gets a majority on the first ballot, these stolen delegates could decide who wins on the second or third ballot.

The other games involve interpretation of the rules and the use of uncommitted delegates. Continue Reading...

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The Rules of the Convention: Part Four — Issues for the Convention

As discussed in the previous three parts (particularly part one and part three) of this series, the rules for the two conventions are currently simply a first draft set forth in the Rules of the Republican Party (on the Republican Side) and the Call for the Convention (on the Democratic side).  When the rules committees of the two conventions meet this summer before the conventions, they will need to decide what needs to be fixed for this convention and what can wait until after the convention.

On the Democratic side, this debate will be relatively simple.  In all likelihood, the candidate with the most pledged delegates will also have the most total delegates and will control the majority of the rules committee.  Given the input that candidates have on delegate selection, it is unlikely that the delegates would approve any rules changes that dramatically alter the business of the convention.  Additionally, the fact that both of the major candidates will have enough members on each of the committees to write a minority report will put a brake on any major rule changes.  While the general purpose of the rules is to manage the business of keeping the convention running smoothly, this balance of power on the Rules Committee tends to discourage attempts to use the rules to silence the trailing candidates at a Democratic Convention.   While there are certainly minor changes that people looking at the call might want to do, most of the Democratic debate about the convention involve things like unpledged party leader delegates that are not part of the rules of the convention.  The issue about whether to make any changes to the role of these super delegates are an issue for after the convention.

The same can’t be said about the Republicans — particularly if no candidate heads into Cleveland with more than 1,100 delegates.  In a contested convention, everything about the Republican rules will be open for discussion in the Rules Committee. Continue Reading...

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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.

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Delegate Math — March 21 through April 3

After three weeks of multiple primaries in large and medium-large states, there is one last week of multiple events before the process takes a bit of a breather.  After this week, there is a half contest during the week of March 28; one and a half contests during the week of April 4; one quarter contest during the week of April 11; and one contest during the week of April 18 (albeit the very big New York primary).  The pace will only pick back up starting the week of April 25.   In practical terms that means that the candidates will be spending the next month concentrating on a very few states and determining if it is worth continuing with the campaign.

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Delegate Math — Week of March 14

Under current Republican rules, March 15 is the first day that a state or territory (other than the first four) can hold a winner-take-all or winner-take-most primary.   Four of the five primaries scheduled for this week have some kind of winner-take component (at least for the state-wide delegates).  This week also features the home states (and perhaps the last stand) of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Governor John Kasich of Ohio.

As discussed Friday night, Illinois is an unusual state — especially on the Republican side.  In all likelihood, the results will resemble a winner-take-most primary with three delegates going to the candidate who finishes first in each of the eighteen congressional districts and fifteen delegates going to the candidate who finishes first state-wide.    However, because in the congressional districts delegates are on the ballot and are directly elected, there is a chance that some delegates might be elected even if their presidential candidate loses the district.  Such an “upset” is most likely to happen in close districts.

Missouri is a pure winner-take-most state.  However, unlike most states, the winner of the congressional districts will get five delegates from each district (rather than the normal three) and the state-wide winner will only get twelve delegates. Continue Reading...

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