Monday, March 26, 2012

Race to 1144: Louisiana Primary

Contest Delegates (via contest results and rules, and RNC, Georgia Secretary of State)
Automatic Delegates (Democratic Convention Watch)

Delegate breakdown (post-Louisiana):

Changes since Illinois (3/21/12):
Romney: +7 delegates (Louisiana: +5, Georgia: +1, New Hampshire: +11)
Santorum: +10 delegates (Louisiana: +10)
Gingrich: -1 delegate (Georgia: -1)

1) Those who have been following these updates closely will notice that the "Uncommitted" column in the spreadsheet above has been made primary red (unbound/unpledged) instead of maroon (bound/pledged) as it has been in previous publications. This brings up an interesting quirk in the delegate classification. While those delegates -- one each in the Virgin Islands and Wyoming and 10 now from Louisiana -- have been allocated, they are no more bound/pledged to any candidate than the unallocated/unbound/unpledged delegates that Santorum would have been entitled to in, say, Ohio (if he had been on the ballot across all of the Buckeye state) or the automatic delegates. So while these uncommitted delegates have been allocated, they are unbound according to the RNC count. FHQ will treat them as such as well. NOTE: The two uncommitted delegates -- before Louisiana -- were not included in the bar chart previously. Those are now included in the "Unbound" total both on the chart and in the spreadsheet.

2) There was a very interesting discussion Saturday night as the Louisiana returns were coming in as to the true nature of the delegate allocation in the state. FHQ's reading of the allocation was that the Louisiana Republican method is set up in such a way as to push "extra" delegates -- those not claimed by candidates under the threshold -- into the uncommitted category as opposed to being reallocated to the candidates above the threshold. The Green Papers, however, persuasively argued from a legalistic standpoint, that the language and order of the allocation rules embedded rule 20(b) indicated that those delegates would in reality be allocated to Santorum and Romney. Instead of a 10 (Santorum)-5 (Romney)-5 (uncommitted) distribution, the count would have been or should be 13 (Santorum)-7 (Romney). FHQ doesn't have a dog is this "fight". We are willing to defer to the RNC or LAGOP on the matter. And in a press release put out by LAGOP on Sunday, it appears that the 10-5-5 allocation is their interpretation of the allocation rules:
Based upon the unofficial election results from the Secretary of State, Rick Santorum has won 10 delegates with 49.07% of the vote.  Mitt Romney came in second with 5 delegates with 26.62% of the vote. Both Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul did not meet the threshold of 25% of voters required in order to garner delegates. As a result, neither Gingrich or Paul will be allocated delegates and five of the twenty delegates will go uncommitted to the National Convention.  
3) Speaking of thresholds, can someone explain to FHQ how the 25% threshold that the Louisiana Republican Party is using is within the RNC rules? My reading of the rules -- certainly subject to being incorrect -- is that the highest that threshold can be is 20%. Though this is curious, a challenge is futile on at least one front: Dropping the eligibility line for delegates to 20% would not alter the delegate allocation described above. Yet, it is still a violation of the rules and though it does not alter the delegate allocation, it could open the state up to the 50% delegate penalty for violating the rules. Imagine a scenario -- Yes, for the love of all that is holy, this is VERY far-fetched, but bear with me here for the sake of the exercise. -- where Romney is close enough to the 1144 1132 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination that losing two or three delegates in a penalized Louisiana delegation would keep the former Massachusetts governor under 1144 1132.2 That would have Santorum, well, taking one for the team, and taking a greater delegate hit from the challenge in an effort to keep Romney under 1144 1132.  Is Romney likely to be that close to 1144 1132 that just a handful of delegates could make a difference? Probably not, but a penalized Louisiana along with proportionally allocated Arizona and Florida delegates might provide the Santorum camp with a little more ammunition in keeping Romney under 1144 1132. Will that happen? No.

...but it is a fun scenario to think about.

4) The allocation of the delegates in Georgia is based on the most recent vote returns published online by the office of the Georgia Secretary of State. The allocation here differs from the RNC allocation in Georgia. The above grants Gingrich one additional delegate (which has been taken from Romney's total). ***UPDATE*** Due to the way the Georgia Republican Party rounds fractional delegates, the FHQ count was off by one delegate (+Romney/-Gingrich). The congressional district count is unaffected (Gingrich 31, Romney, 8 and Santorum 3), but the way the at-large delegates are allocated to Gingrich and Romney -- the only candidates over 20% statewide -- is a bit quirky. Gingrich's portion of the vote would have entitled him to 14.6 delegates and Romney's 8.0. Under Georgia Republican rules, Gingrich is given 14 delegates and Romney 8. That leaves nine delegates unclaimed because the remaining candidates did not clear the 20% threshold. The candidate with the highest "remainder" is awarded the first delegate and the candidates over 20% trade turns until all of those delegates are allocated. Remember, Gingrich did not round up to 15 delegates (14.6), but that 0.6 gives him a larger "remainder" than Romney. The former speaker, then, is allocated the first of nine delegates. With an odd number of delegates leftover, Gingrich would have a fifth turn after Romney's fourth and that would end the allocation of those "extra" delegates. Gingrich would claim five to Romney's four. Of the 31 at-large delegates, Gingrich is allocated 19 and Romney 12. Please note that for winning the statewide vote, Gingrich is allocated the three automatic delegates. That makes the final allocation Gingrich 53, Romney 20 and Santorum 3.

5) The Alabama primary results by congressional district have not been released by the Alabama Republican Party. The allocation above is based on the RNC interpretation of the allocation. The same is true in Tennessee

6)  Iowa Republican Party Chairman Spiker was a part of the Paul campaign in Iowa and resigned his position upon taking up the post of party chair. While he has expressed his intent to side with whomever the Republican nominee will be, Spiker has not also directly signaled any neutrality in the race. The door is open for his support of Paul at a potential contested convention. While FHQ includes Spiker in Paul's delegate total, it is necessary to make note of the possible future subtraction of one delegate that would bring the Texas congressman's total to 26.

1 Romney picked up the support of one of the two now-unbound Jon Huntsman delegates from New Hampshire. The RNC has considered those delegates unbound.

2 If Louisiana lost half of their delegation for a violation of the RNC delegate selection rules, that would reduce Louisiana's delegates to 23. That would, in turn, reduce the overall total number of delegates to 2263. A simple majority of 2263 is 1132 delegates. A hat tip to Sam G for bringing this back to my attention in the comments.

Recent Posts:
The Myth of Proportionality's Impact is Dead

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Louisiana

August Presidential Primary Resurrected in Kentucky Legislation

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Sam G said...

If Louisiana's delegation were halved, the magic number would no longer be 1144 though, right?

Josh Putnam said...


I've got to start writing these things down because that thought had crossed my mind.

...and then quickly slipped away as I was writing that section.

The new magic number would be 1132 in that scenario.

Thanks for the catch.