Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Connecticut

This is the thirtieth 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.


FHQ took its stab at the Connecticut Republican Party delegate selection rules for the 2012 cycle back in October 2011 when the State Central Committee voted to change the rules.2 That said, it is worth glancing at the changes one more time before the primary is all said and done. For the record, the Connecticut Republican Party has shifted from a plan similar to Maryland and Wisconsin to one that fairly closely resembles the plan in New York. In other words, instead of being winner-take-all both statewide and by congressional district, Connecticut is conditionally winner-take-all/proportional at the state level while remaining winner-take-all at the congressional district level. [Let's just shunt to the side the quirk in New York that has the Republican Party there apportioning two instead of three delegates to the old (pre-census) 29 districts instead of the new (post-census) 27 districts.]

The bottom line is that both Connecticut and New York are marginally more "proportional" than either was in 2008. Plus those sorts of changes have not had all that great of an impact yet and that is even more true in a scenario where Romney has all but been dubbed the presumptive nominee by the RNC.

Connecticut delegate breakdown:
  • 28 total delegates
  • 10 at-large delegates
  • 15 congressional district delegates
At-large allocation: The ten at-large delegates are allocated winner-take-all if one candidate claims more than 50% of the vote, otherwise the delegates are allocated to the candidates clearing the 20% threshold in the statewide presidential primary vote. Even though Rick Santorum did not perform all that well in the other contests in the northeast, with him out of the race, the expectation is that the vote will begin to consolidate behind Mitt Romney. Is that enough to push the former Massachusetts governor over the 50% mark? Prior to the three April 3 primaries and before Santorum's exit, FHQ projected Romney to hit a 49% vote share in Connecticut.3 He doesn't have that much farther to go. Should Romney not make it, Ron Paul would be pretty close to the 20% threshold and claiming a proportional share of the delegates. The reality is that with Santorum out, both are likely to occur: Romney over 50% and Paul over 20%.

Congressional district allocation: This is pretty cut and dry: win the district -- by majority or plurality -- win its three delegates.

Automatic delegate allocation: The automatic delegates in Connecticut are unbound and free to choose any candidate they prefer. Connecticut Republican Party chair, Jerry Labriola, has already endorsed Romney. The two national committee members have yet to weigh in.

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

2 Connecticut Republican Party Rules and Bylaws (see Article I, Section 17):2012 CTGOP Delegate Selection Rules

3 Ron Paul was projected at 16.6% and Newt Gingich at 9.2%.

Recent Posts:
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Another Weekend, Another Mixed Bag for Romney in Caucus State Delegate Allocation

In Missouri, A Bill to Bind Delegates Based on the Presidential Primary; Not the Caucus

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