Thursday, June 2, 2016

About those bound delegates

The Associated Press delegate count inched above the 1237 delegate barrier for Donald Trump last week, making the New York businessman the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. What put Trump over the top were not delegates bound to him through the Washington primary two days prior. Rather, it was a handful of unbound delegates pledging to Trump that did the trick.

That is all well and good. FHQ has no issue with the call. Given the suspensions of the Cruz and Kasich campaigns in the wake of the Indiana primary in early May, Trump was going to cross over the majority threshold at some point anyway.

What gives FHQ some pause, though, is that the AP number of bound delegates keeps changing. Trump's total shrunk from 1150 on May 26 to 1144 as of June 1. Both are north of where Trump likely is in the bound count in reality. By comparison, FHQ has Trump at 1138 bound delegates.  Here is where the two counts differ:

Where the AP has fewer delegates than FHQ bound to Trump
AP: 40
FHQ: 41
Notes: When the Washington secretary of state certifies the results of the May 24 primary -- importantly with the write-in votes not currently included -- Trump's total will likely settle on 40 delegates. The remaining four will be unbound. That will be true so long as the Washington total of write-ins hovers around the percentage of similar votes in the Oregon primary (around 3 percent).

That means that Trump is likely only at 1137 bound delegates and that there is a difference of seven delegates to be reconciled.

Where the AP has more delegates than FHQ bound to Trump
New Hampshire
AP: 12
FHQ: 11
Notes: There is nothing new from NHGOP that has been made public with respect to the certified delegate count in the Granite state. There were some discrepancies that were pointed out about how the count in New Hampshire ended up where it did, but if that correction was made, Trump would have fewer not more delegates. The twelfth delegate did come from Rubio's total. FHQ still has the Florida senator at two delegates to the AP's one. If Rubio had released a delegate (if only one could be released), then that delegate would be unbound and free to pledge to whomever. Yet, that would still be an unbound (and not re-bound) delegate.

AP: 16
FHQ : 14
Notes: The difference here is the two Carson delegates. The Carson campaign released those delegates -- making them unbound -- rather than choosing to have them reallocated as is allowed under Nevada Republican Party rules. Those are unbound but pledged delegates; released by Carson and pledged to Trump.

American Samoa
AP: 9
FHQ: 0
Notes: All nine American Samoa delegates are unbound by rule.

AP: 1
FHQ: 0
Notes: Ted Cruz claimed 30 of the 34 possible bound delegates in Colorado. The remainder elected at congressional district and state conventions were unbound/uncommitted but aligned with Cruz. That one delegate the AP has in the Trump column is either one of those four uncommitted delegates or one of the three unbound automatic/party delegates. Regardless, like Nevada and American Samoa above, that delegate is unbound but pledged to Trump.

AP 14
FHQ: 13
Notes: Due to the allocation equation used by the Oklahoma Republican Party -- the denominator was total rather than qualified -- votes, there were three uncommitted delegates that came out of the March 1 primary. Since the delegates allocated to Cruz and Rubio cannot be released until those candidates do not appear on the first ballot at the convention, one of those three uncommitted delegates has likely pledged to Trump. But again, that delegate, too, is unbound and thus does not contribute to the difference between the two counts.

AP: 25
FHQ: 18
Notes: First, Louisiana had a similar allocation equation to Oklahoma. That meant that there were five uncommitted delegates from the March 5 primary in the Pelican state. Additionally, under LAGOP rules, delegates are automatically released from any candidate who has suspended their campaign. That is a low bar compared to most states that require a more formal withdrawal from the race to release delegates. Since the AP still has Cruz at 18 delegates from Louisiana, that means that the additional seven delegates they have in Trump's column are from some combination of the five uncommitted delegates and the five released (and unbound) Rubio delegates. So again, all of those are unbound.

Virgin Islands
AP: 8
FHQ: 1
Notes: This one is still tricky given the dispute over which delegation will be seated at the Republican National Convention. The uncommitted slate of six delegates that was elected was discarded and replaced by the six elected alternates; one of which was a committed (and thus bound) Trump delegate. Seven others -- some of whom are automatic/party delegates -- have since pledged to support Trump as well. But again, those delegates were either already unbound or were made so upon the suspension of the campaigns with which they were aligned (and thus bound). This, then, is another group of delegates that are unbound but pledged to Trump. Only the original one delegate -- an elected, Trump-aligned delegate -- is bound to Trump.

AP: 9
FHQ: 0
Notes: As with American Samoa, the nine delegates from Guam are unbound by rule.

North Dakota:
AP: 16
FHQ: 0
Notes: All 28 of North Dakota's delegates are unbound by rule since the state party skipped any direct preference vote. The 16 from the AP count are all unbound but pledged delegates.

AP: 64
FHQ: 17
Notes: The 47 delegate difference here is based on unbound delegates elected at the congressional district level in the Keystone state. None of them are bound to Trump. They are only pledged to him.

Looking at the differences, only the New Hampshire one stands out as one that might be bound. But even that is not clear. The rest are clearly unbound whether by election, rule or release. The FHQ picture is also largely corroborated by the overall count at The Green Papers. The FHQ (1138) and Green Papers (1139) counts are within one delegate of each other and that is based on outdated results the latter is using for Oregon. Once those numbers are brought in line with the totals the Oregon secretary of state has, then the overall total matches completely.

Again, FHQ is not disputing that Trump is over 1237 or the AP's estimation of that. Unbound delegates put the now presumptive nominee over the top. However, the AP is currently overestimating the bound delegate total Trump has. Hopefully that number continues to decrease as it has since last week and converges with the more accurate counts.

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