Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: North Dakota

This is the nineteenth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


It is likely sufficient to say that to get a sense of how the North Dakota Republican delegate selection/allocation process operates, one can simply look at Iowa, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Washington as broad guides. Republicans in the Peace Garden state will similarly hold a non-binding straw poll vote in the precinct caucuses across 47 legislative districts in the state. Again, the straw poll results are non-binding and give us a snapshot of how well each candidate has done among the caucusgoers in attendance. Ultimately, the 28 delegates North Dakota Republicans were apportioned will head to the Tampa convention unbound (but free to endorse). That means that the process is just starting tonight and will not be complete until those delegates are selected at the state convention on March 30-April 1.

There is no party registration in North Dakota, so any registered voter can participate in the caucuses.

North Dakota delegate breakdown:
  • 28 total delegates
  • 22 at-large delegates
  • 3 congressional district delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
Both the congressional district and at-large delegates will be selected at the state convention. With only one congressional district, the state convention in North Dakota -- unlike Alaska for instance -- doubles as a district convention gathering as well. The Republican national committeeman and Republican national committeewoman -- both automatic delegates -- are also elected at the state convention in presidential election years.

UPDATE: As our anonymous commenter has pointed out, district conventions have been going on since January 17 and will continue into March. That, however, is a completely separate vote from the straw poll that is being conducted across the 47 districts across the state today. This does say something about the likely link between the two events though. If FHQ has talk about anything consistently, it is that the snapshot in the straw poll vote does not necessarily reflect the vote in the delegate allocation portion of the meeting. And that is within one meeting. If the two votes are separately the link between the straw poll vote and the delegate selection (through the initial district-level conventions) is even more tenuous.

UPDATE (3/30/12): The delegate selection process will be complete with the selection of congressional district and at-large delegates at the March 30-April 1 convention in the Peace Garden state. Those delegates are technically unbound, but it will be up to the state party, old-fashioned press reporting or the selected delegates themselves revealing who they prefer. Rick Santorum won the March 6 straw poll and this weekend may be a better indicator of where the former Pennsylvania senator stands in this race than the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. If he performs up to or overperforms his straw poll performance in the final delegate count in North Dakota, then nothing really changes. If, however, Santorum underperforms in the delegate count compared to his straw poll showing, then it will be revealing about his organization and perhaps the emerging inevitability argument in this Republican nomination race.

1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Massachusetts

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Idaho

Goodbye Idaho Presidential Primary

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The District Conventions began January 17 and last through March 22.