Wednesday, June 17, 2020

2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: CONNECTICUT


Election type: primary
Date: August 11
    [April 28 originally and then June 2]
Number of delegates: 75 [14 at-large, 6 PLEOs, 40 congressional district, 15 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional statewide and at the congressional district level
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 15%
2016: proportional primary
Delegate selection plan (post-coronavirus)

Changes since 2016
If one followed the 2016 series on the Republican process here at FHQ, then you may end up somewhat disappointed. The two national parties manage the presidential nomination process differently. The Republican National Committee is much less hands-on in regulating state and state party activity in the delegate selection process than the Democratic National Committee is. That leads to a lot of variation from state to state and from cycle to cycle on the Republican side. Meanwhile, the DNC is much more top down in its approach. Thresholds stay the same. It is a 15 percent barrier that candidates must cross in order to qualify for delegates. That is standard across all states. The allocation of delegates is roughly proportional. Again, that is applied to every state.

That does not mean there are no changes. The calendar has changed as have other facets of the process such as whether a state has a primary or a caucus.

Neither the state of Connecticut or Democrats in the Nutmeg state, however, did much to alter the regular methods for selecting or allocated delegates for the 2020 cycle. Not before 2020 and the coronavirus in any event. But once the calendar flipped to 2020, the primary process began and the global pandemic intervened, changes were made necessary by both the state and the political parties in the state.

The state government initially moved the April 28 primary away from its Acela primary position to June 2. But that did not prove to be enough time for elections officials to adequately prepare for a different type of election much less be out of the shadow of the coronavirus before any in-person voting in the early June primary. That forced Governor Ned Lamont (D) and Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) to act again, consolidating the presidential primary with those primaries for other offices on August 11.

That primary, if it continues as planned, will be the latest presidential primary in the post-reform era and one that comes just days before the Democratic National Convention is set to commence. [More on state party changes to the delegate selection process below.]

Yet, the move to August does buy the state's elections officials time to implement a predominantly vote-by-mail system where one did not exist before. All registered voters in the state will receive an absentee ballot application, but in-person voting will remain an option for voters who do not take advantage of the remote alternative.

All absentee ballots are due to town clerks' offices before polls close on Tuesday, August 11. 

Overall, the Democratic delegation in Connecticut changed by four delegates from 2016 to 2020. New York rejoining the Acela primary group of states reconnected Connecticut and Rhode Island to the regional primary, opening both up to not only timing bonuses but clustering bonuses as well. Connecticut Democrats saw their district delegate total increase by four delegates and the at-large number grow by two. Those gains were offset to some extent by a one delegate decrease in the PLEO delegate category.

[Please see below for more on the post-coronavirus changes specifically to the delegate selection process.]

The standard 15 percent qualifying threshold applies both statewide and on the congressional district level.

Delegate allocation (at-large and PLEO delegates)
To win any at-large or PLEO (pledged Party Leader and Elected Officials) delegates a candidate must win 15 percent of the statewide vote. Only the votes of those candidates above the threshold will count for the purposes of the separate allocation of these two pools of delegates.

See New Hampshire synopsis for an example of how the delegate allocation math works for all categories of delegates.

Delegate allocation (congressional district delegates)
Connecticut's 40 congressional district delegates are split across five congressional districts and have no delegate variation across districts from the measure of Democratic strength Democrats in the Nutmeg state are using based on the results of the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections in the state. That method apportions delegates as follows...
CD1 - 8 delegates
CD2 - 8 delegates
CD3 - 8 delegates
CD4 - 8 delegates
CD5 - 8 delegates

*Bear in mind that districts with odd numbers of national convention delegates are potentially important to winners (and those above the qualifying threshold) within those districts. Rounding up for an extra delegate initially requires less in those districts than in districts with even numbers of delegates.

Delegate allocation (automatic delegates/superdelegates)
Superdelegates are free to align with a candidate of their choice at a time of their choosing. While their support may be a signal to voters in their state (if an endorsement is made before voting in that state), superdelegates will only vote on the first ballot at the national convention if half of the total number of delegates -- pledged plus superdelegates -- have been pledged to one candidate. Otherwise, superdelegates are locked out of the voting unless 1) the convention adopts rules that allow them to vote or 2) the voting process extends to a second ballot. But then all delegates, not just superdelegates will be free to vote for any candidate.

[NOTE: All Democratic delegates are pledged and not bound to their candidates. They are to vote in good conscience for the candidate to whom they have been pledged, but technically do not have to. But they tend to because the candidates and their campaigns are involved in vetting and selecting their delegates through the various selection processes on the state level. Well, the good campaigns are anyway.]

An originally post-primary process for the selection of Connecticut's 60 pledged delegates has been replaced by a pre-primary process because of the coronavirus. The new pre-primary process will pre-slate delegates who will then fill in delegate slots allocated in the August 11 presidential primary.

The 40 district delegates will be selected in virtual congressional district caucuses on June 30. Under the initial delegate selection plan, it was the campaigns who were charged with organizing and carrying out these caucuses (similar to California Democrats' process) on May 27, but that task will be handled by congressional district delegates to the Connecticut Democratic state convention now. The delegate candidate filing and candidate campaign review will happen from June 19-26 according to the new plan. All of that leads up to the virtual vote on June 30.

The statewide delegates will similarly be selected before the August 11 presidential primary. A virtual meeting of the state party committee will select PLEO and then at-large delegates on July 8. Delegate candidates selected for each presidential candidate will then be chosen from those slates based on the results of the primary. The working plan from which Connecticut Democrats were operating before the coronavirus set selection of the statewide delegates for a June 10 state party committee meeting.

Importantly, if a candidate drops out of the race before the selection of statewide delegates, then any statewide delegates allocated to that candidate will be reallocated to the remaining candidates. This applies less in the case of Connecticut for at least a couple of reason. First, Sanders has already dropped out of the race which will have some negative impact on his likely vote share in the primary in the Nutmeg state. That said, Senator Sanders did cut a deal with the Biden campaign to keep any statewide delegates won in the remaining contests. Second, delegates will be selected before the primary rather than after it. Delegates can only be allocated from the pre-selected slates based on the results of the primary in such a situation.

No comments: