Showing posts with label Puerto Rico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puerto Rico. Show all posts

Saturday, June 6, 2020

2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: PUERTO RICO


Election type: primary
Date: July 12
    [March 29 originally and then April 26]
Number of delegates: 58 [11 at-large, 7 PLEOs, 33 congressional district, 7 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional statewide and at the 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.

For years Puerto Rico Democrats have maintained their early June position on the presidential primary calendar. But with a competitive race and multi-candidate field on the horizon for the 2020 cycle the legislature in the island US territory opted in mid-2019 to move the election up more than two months to the end of March.

Although, as with so much else in 2020, the best laid plans for an earlier contest and consequential impact on the race were scuttled by the outbreak of the coronavirus in mid-March. And with that late March contest, Puerto Rico was very much in the crosshairs, more immediately in need of a change to the date of the contest and/or the method by which it would be conducted. The initial legislative response to the coronavirus was to shift the primary to a later date, one month later on the last Sunday in April. And that option wisely provided a fallback option to postpone the Democratic presidential primary and have the party, in consultation with the elections commission, choose a different and later date. The coronavirus's spread forced the issue soon thereafter in early April, and the Puerto Rico Democratic Party indefinitely delayed the primary. The contest was not rescheduled again until late May when the party selected a July 12 date for its presidential primary (a calendar position that had been hinted at during a DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (DNCRBC) meeting).

As with other states that have technically broken the DNC rules on the timing of delegate selection events after June 9, Puerto Rico Democrats also had to seek a waiver from the DNCRBC in order to move forward with a contest on the new July date. That waiver was granted.

While the date of the primary has changed, little else has. Early and absentee voting remain very limited on the island, and unless the laws are changed before the primary, the contest will be predominantly in-person.


Overall, the Democratic delegation in Puerto Rico changed by nine delegates from 2016 to 2020. Since the primary in the territory moved from June in 2016 to March in 2020, Democrats in Puerto Rico lost their timing bonus and saw their district delegates decrease by seven and their at-large delegate pool shrink by two delegates. The PLEO and superdelegate totals remained the same in 2020 as they were in 2016.

[Please see below for more on the post-coronavirus changes specific 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)
Puerto Rico's 33 congressional district delegates are split across eight senatorial districts and have a variation of just one delegate across districts. There is no measure of Democratic strength based on past elections because Puerto Ricans are not involved in presidential general elections. The party, then, apportions delegates as follows...
District 1 (San Juan) - 4 delegates
District 2 (Bayamon) - 4 delegates
District 3 (Arecibo) - 5 delegates*
District 4 (Mayaguez) - 4 delegates
District 5 (Ponce) - 4 delegates
District 6 (Guayama) - 4 delegates
District 7 (Humacao) - 4 delegates
District 8 (Carolina) - 4 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.]

The selection of delegates in Puerto Rico was not fundamentally affected. While the timing was pushed back as with the primary itself, the mechanics of delegate selection have not been changed all that much. District delegates will continue to be directly elected on the July 12 presidential primary ballot just as they would have been on either March 29 or April 26 before.

Both PLEO and then at-large delegates will be chosen at the state convention on July 26. The voting members of the convention who will select PLEO delegates include the central committee and the district delegates (to the national convention) elected on the July 12 ballot. At-large delegates will then be chosen by the same central committee members and district delegates plus the just selected PLEO delegates.

None of that -- other than the timing -- is different from what was planned before the coronavirus.

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. If Candidate X is in the race in mid- to late July when the Puerto Rico statewide delegate selection takes place but Candidate Y is not, then any statewide delegates allocated to Candidate Y in the mid-July primary would be reallocated to Candidate X. [This same feature is not something that applies to district delegates.] This reallocation only applies if a candidate has fully dropped out.  This is less likely to be a factor with just Biden left as the only viable candidate in the race, but Sanders could still gain statewide delegates by finishing with more than 15 percent statewide. Under a new deal struck between the Biden and Sanders camps, Biden will be allocated (or reallocated) all of the statewide delegates in a given state. However, during the selection process, the state party will select Sanders-aligned delegate candidates in proportion to the share of the qualified statewide vote.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Puerto Rico Democratic Presidential Primary Now Set for July 12

The Puerto Rico Democratic Party announced on Thursday, May 21 that, in consultation with the Elections Commission in the US territory, it is scheduling its presidential primary election for Sunday, July 12.

Party president Charlie Rodriguez indicated that since Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (D) was still fighting for delegates to the national convention, the territorial party was stuck under current Puerto Rico law with the primary election as the means through which delegates would be allocated. Additionally, he cited the recent federal court decisions in New York reinstating the presidential primary there. Both New York and Puerto Rico directly elect district delegates on the primary ballot. As a result, not only would presidential candidates potentially be adversely affected by any cancelation of the primary, but so too would qualifying delegate candidates also on the ballot. And although that may have been the party preference -- to cancel the primary and allocate delegates in a different manner -- it was a bridge too far given a likely court challenge to such a move.

This move had been telegraphed to some extent. As a coda to a series of waiver grants, it was revealed last week during a virtual meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (DNCRBC) that Puerto Rico Democrats were considering either July 5 or 12 as the date of their primary. The party obviously chose the latter. And that date -- either date, really -- falls after the June 9 date set aside in DNC rules as the final date on which states can conduct primaries or caucuses. As was noted then during the meeting, Puerto Rico Democrats will have to take the final decision and any other changes to their delegate selection plan before the DNCRBC for the committee's approval.

Like a number of other states, Puerto Rico also played a game of primary calendar musical chairs. The Democratic presidential primary was originally set in 2019 for the final Sunday in March, March 29. But once 2020 rolled around and the coronavirus intervened, the territorial government shifted the primary back a month to April 26. However, that new law also included a contingency plan. If the pandemic and its attendant issues stretched to and beyond that late April date, then the Puerto Rico Democratic Party along with the Elections Commission could choose an alternate date. That led to an indefinitely postponement of the election in early April and set the table for the decision on Thursday for the mid-July date.

Puerto Rico now slots into a space on the primary calendar ahead of only Connecticut's in August. It becomes a seventh contest that will fall after the June 9 deadline.

The press release from the Puerto Rico Democratic Party on the primary rescheduling will be archived here.

The Puerto Rico Democratic presidential primary has been added back to the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

Related Posts:
4/3/20: Puerto Rico Democrats Indefinitely Postpone Presidential Primary

3/25/20: Governor Vazquez's Signature Pushes Puerto Rico Democratic Presidential Primary Back a Month

3/19/20: Puerto Rico Legislation Would Shift Presidential Primary Back to April or Beyond

3/16/20: Puerto Rico Democrats Signal Presidential Primary Date Change

Friday, April 3, 2020

Puerto Rico Democrats Indefinitely Postpone Presidential Primary

Puerto Rico Democratic Party President Charles Rodriguez on Thursday, April 2 announced that the newly scheduled April 26 presidential primary would be delayed indefinitely amid the growing threat posed by the coronavirus.

Late last month legislation to move the island territory's Democratic primary from the end of March to the end of April passed and was signed into law. But layered into that bill was a contingency to shift the primary later on the calendar if there was a need. The state elections commission was given the authority to make the change in consultation with the Democratic Party in Puerto Rico.

And it was that provision of the new law that was triggered by Rodriguez on Thursday, the same day that the Democratic National Convention was pushed back by more than a month. While that national party change may not exactly provide state-level actors like those in Puerto Rico some time, it does provide them some cover. And Puerto Rico Democrats are taking advantage of that. The indefinite postponement leaves hanging out there the scheduling of an election that was to have originally taken place on Sunday, March 29. But the mechanism in the new law allows the territorial party some time to assess the situation -- both with the pandemic and any additional decisions the national party makes on how it will treat states with primaries too late under national party rules -- and set a date that best protects public health and the Puerto Rico delegation to the national convention.

FHQ has moved the Puerto Rico Democratic primary to "no date" on the 2020 presidential primary calendar.

Related Posts:
3/25/20: Governor Vazquez's Signature Pushes Puerto Rico Democratic Presidential Primary Back a Month

3/19/20: Puerto Rico Legislation Would Shift Presidential Primary Back to April or Beyond

3/16/20: Puerto Rico Democrats Signal Presidential Primary Date Change

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Governor Vazquez's Signature Pushes Puerto Rico Democratic Presidential Primary Back a Month

Governor Wanda Vazquez (PR) on Saturday, March 21 signed into law S 488. The legislation shifts the Democratic presidential primary in the island territory back four weeks from March 29 to April 26 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally the legislation gives the Elections Commission in Puerto Rico the discretion -- in consultation with the Democratic Party on the island -- to change the date again should the coronavirus threat interfere with the April 26 primary.

If -- and it is a big if considering actions in other states in reaction to the coronavirus -- the April 26 Democratic primary proceeds as is now planned, then the effect on the delegate selection process would be minimal. The district delegates are directly elected on the primary ballot -- whenever that contest is scheduled -- and the statewide delegates are to be selected at the May 31 state convention. If the primary has to be moved back again, then that may conflict with the state convention. Beyond that, if the primary is moved again, then contingencies for rescheduling the state convention may also be necessary.

For now, however, Puerto Rico's Democratic primary has been shifted to April 26 on the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

Related Posts:
Puerto Rico Legislation Would Shift Presidential Primary Back to April or Beyond

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Puerto Rico Legislation Would Shift Presidential Primary Back to April or Beyond

The Puerto Rico legislative assembly acted quickly on the heels of a call from the Puerto Rico Democratic Party to change the date of the March 29 presidential primary on the island territory. Just two days after the request for a change from Democratic Party chair, Charles Rodriguez, the Senate introduced and passed a bill to push back the date of the Puerto Rico Democratic primary to minimize the potential for further spread of the coronavirus.

The bill -- S 488 -- would shift the Democratic primary from Sunday, March 29 to the last Sunday in April, April 26. But what was presented as an alternative path for the primary was also included in this legislation on top of the change to April 26. Should that date not get the election out of harm's way, then the state Elections Commission in consultation with the chair of the Democratic Party would select an alternative date for the contest.

Again, an even later date would not necessarily interfere with the Puerto Rico Democratic Party delegate selection plan as it is constructed for delegate selection. District delegate candidates will be listed on the ballot whenever the election is held. And a May 31 state convention is scheduled to select PLEO and at-large delegates. It is only if the election is pushed past that point that a change would run afoul of the selection process set forth in the party's delegate selection plan.

S 488 now moves on to the House for its consideration. The Puerto Rico Democratic primary remains set for just ten days from now.

Related Posts:
Governor Vazquez's Signature Pushes Puerto Rico Democratic Presidential Primary Back a Month

Monday, March 16, 2020

Puerto Rico Democrats Signal Presidential Primary Date Change

The Puerto Rico Democratic Party on Saturday, March 14, in a press release indicated that the party is examining a presidential primary date change in the face of the coronavirus spread.

Just last August, the legislature in the island territory pushed the Democratic presidential primary up ten weeks to the last Sunday in March. But in an effort to blunt the spread of the pandemic coronavirus, Puerto Rico Democrats are reconsidering. And there are two options on the table, both of which would require legislative action to enact.

The first option (from the press release):
Seriously concerned about the welfare of voters and arguing that the safety of every citizen is paramount, (state party chair Charles) Rodriguez will request that the Presidential Primary Act be amended for the vote to take place on Sunday, April 26.
That change is simple enough. It would shift back the date of the primary by four weeks to April 26.

However, there is another contingency (also from the press release):
Otherwise, a second alternative in mind by the leader of the local Democrats is to allow the party to choose the date, in the event the situation caused by the coronavirus could also affect the primary in April.
Opting for the second plan could entail an even later Democratic primary in Puerto Rico. That could certainly push things later on the calendar into May. Another factor worth pointing out is that Puerto Rico Republicans are currently slated to have their own presidential primary on Sunday, June 7. Consolidating those two contests could save some money on the island and fall late enough on the calendar to be out of the danger zone for the spread of the virus.

One thing that would gird against any June primary that coincides with the Republican presidential primary is the delegate selection process Puerto Rico Democrats have laid out. District delegate candidates have already been made to file to appear on the March 29 ballot. That will not be affected by any primary date change. However, there is a state convention planned for May 31 where PLEO and at-large delegates will be selected. That could still happen with a June 7 primary by selecting a slate of PLEO and at-large delegates for any active candidates and then filling any slots allocated to those candidates in the primary from those slates after the results come in. That would be a logistically easier option than pushing back the date of the state convention.

Again, either option would require some intervention and action on the part of the legislature in the territory. That is a bit of a departure from the recent primary postponements in Georgia and Louisiana where secretaries of state acted under broad emergency powers afforded them either by law or by gubernatorial emergency declarations.

A similar trajectory may present itself in Puerto Rico at some point, but the early signals are that this presidential primary date change will take a path through the legislative process. And that will have to be expedited because the clock is ticking toward the March 29 date on which the primary is currently scheduled. There are now less than two weeks in which to act.

March 14 press release archived here.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Puerto Rico Democratic Primary Shifts to March 29

Among his last acts before officially resigning his post, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed into law legislation -- S 1323 -- moving the Democratic primary in the territory up ten weeks from the first Sunday in June to the last Sunday in March.

Rosselló said in a press release:
“This legislative measure provides the opportunity to put Puerto Rico on the radar of potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party. The candidates will not only pay attention to Puerto Rico but will have to clearly stipulate their positions regarding the issues that affect the island. In changing the date to the month of March, we can engage candidates directly on the political and economic inequality that Puerto Rico goes through."
While the change may increase the odds that more attention is paid to the Puerto Rico primary (and the issues important to island residents), that is not a guarantee on a date that late in March, after Super Tuesday and after more than two-thirds of the Democratic delegates will have been allocated. And any attention gained comes at a cost of the nine bonus delegates the party would have been eligible for in the June position, bonus delegates the party has had over the last several cycles.

Notes on that NBC report on the primary date change linked above:
1) It states that Puerto Rico joins California and Texas on Super Tuesday. It does not. The Puerto Rico Democratic primary will fall nearly a month later on the calendar.

2) Let's talk briefly about the date of the Republican presidential primary in Puerto Rico for 2020. The NBC article suggests that the primary for Republicans on the island will occur on March 8. It may. But that is not exactly what the Compulsory Presidential Primary Act that S 1323 just altered for the Democratic Party indicates. It explicitly schedules the Republican presidential primary for the last Sunday in February unless that date conflicts with the New Hampshire primary. The last Sunday in February in 2020 is February 23, a date nearly two weeks after the New Hampshire primary. There is no conflict, not with New Hampshire anyway.

Now, there is a conflict between that last Sunday in February date and Republican National Committee rules prohibiting February primaries and caucuses other than in the four carve-out states. But that particular conflict (and any resulting contingency) is not laid out in the Puerto Rico statute and thus the primary would not be shifted back to the first Sunday in March (which technically would be March 1 and still non-compliant).

The catch in this whole discussion is that it is moot. While there are instructions on when to schedule the Republican presidential primary in the aforementioned statute, the Republican Party in Puerto Rico ignores that in favor of another section of the election code and cited it in their Rule 16(f) filing with the RNC in 2015. That section -- Chapter 407, Section 4119 -- reads:
In the case of primaries for candidates who seek nomination in their political party for election to the office of President of the United States of America, the same may be held on any date after the first Tuesday of February of the General Election year, and up to June fifteenth (15th) of that same year, as determined by the local body of the party, as appropriate.
In other words, the statute gives the Republican Party in the territory wide latitude in setting the date of the primary, wide enough to include all of February and the first few days of March that are not compliant under the national party rules. But anything from the first Tuesday in March through June 15 is available to Puerto Rico Republicans. The party may yet settle on March 8 as the article indicates. Alternatively, Republicans on the island could opt to hold their contest on March 29, aligned with the Democratic contest in an effort to cut down on the expenditures for two primary elections. But the point is that it is an open question at this time as to when the Puerto Rico Republican presidential primary will fall in 2020. An answer to that question will become clearer as the October 1 deadline for state parties to submit their delegate selection plans to the RNC.

3) Finally, the California primary was not moved in December of 2018 as mentioned in the NBC piece. The bill moving the primary in the Golden state from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March was signed into law in September 2017, well before the end of 2018.

The Puerto Rico Democratic Party primary date change has been added to the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Puerto Rico Bill Moving Presidential Primary to March Cleared Both Houses of the Legislature

Legislation has advanced through both houses of the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly to move the Democratic presidential primary in the island territory to the last Tuesday in March.

Rather than use a previous primary bill as a vehicle for the date change, a new bill -- S 1323 -- was introduced in the Senate in mid-June and made its through both houses on party line votes in less than a week.

Again, the intent of the bill is to move the Democratic presidential primary from the first Sunday in June to the last Sunday in March. On the surface, that looks like an attempt to align the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, a practice that has not been typical. The Compulsory Presidential Primaries Act (CPPA) has since 2003 defined the primary date for the Republican Party on the island as the last Sunday in March and the Democratic primary for the first Sunday in June.

However, that apparent alignment does not necessarily mean the two primaries will occur simultaneously in 2020. And the reason for that is that while Puerto Rico Democrats have traditionally used the statute cited above as defining the date of the presidential primary, the Puerto Rico Republican Party has not. Instead, the GOP in the territory has used another statute as guidance for when the party presidential primary will occur on the calendar. Since 2014 that law has given both parties on the island broad discretion in setting the date of their primaries, defining a window from the first Tuesday in February through June 15. That is why the Republican presidential primary in Puerto Rico was the Sunday after Super Tuesday in 2016 and not later in March as would be the case under the CPPA.

That may at least partially explain why Republicans in the legislative assembly voted against the changes called for in S 1323. Those changes were not viewed by Republicans as necessary because another statute already allows the Democrats in Puerto Rico to make the change. An alternative route could have been to square the discrepancies across both statutes.

It is expected that Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló will sign the bill once the legislative assembly sends it to him.

The Puerto Rico presidential primary bill has been added to the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Puerto Rico Democrats Further Signal a Primary Move to March

The Puerto Rico Democratic Party wrapped up the public comment period for its draft of their 2020 delegate selection plan on April 30.

The draft plan looks a lot like the plan used in 2016. And that is largely a function of the fact that the election is a government-run primary. Any changes come through the legislature on the island territory.  But while this plan looks at first glance like the 2016 plan, there are a number of mentions of possible changes.

One is the date of the contest. In one footnote to the first Sunday in June date called for, the plan adds:
However, the Governor has announced he plans to submit amendments to the Compulsory Presidential Primaries Act that include, among other things, moving the date for the Democratic presidential primary to the second Sunday of March of the year in which the presidential elections are held. This could move forward the primary for March 8, 2020. If the law is amended, the DPPR would accordingly file an amended Delegate Selection Plan.
This is nothing new. News of a potential Puerto Rico presidential primary move broke in February. But the fact that this appears in the delegate selection plan confirms the idea that the primary may align with the Republican primary in early March. The legislation now sets the Republican contest for the first Sunday in March unless it conflicts with national party rules. And a March 1 date would fall before the first Tuesday in March, making any contest -- Democratic or Republican -- non-compliant with those rules.

Another area of potential change via legislation comes based on the changes to Rule 2 in the Democratic Party delegate selection rules. The changes there have shifted an additional responsibility on state parties to demonstrate steps taken to broaden participation. There is reference in the Puerto Rico plan of legislation to potentially extend early voting to all voters for any reason; a no excuse system.

But again, like the date of the presidential primary, those changes would have to be passed by the Legislative Assembly in Puerto Rico. And additionally, that action would ostensibly have to occur prior to the assembly's recess beginning on July 1 and running through August 11. But while that is during the period of DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee review of state delegate selection plans, the acts of legislatures operate outside of the national party's purview.

As of now the Puerto Rico Democratic presidential primary will remain on June 7 on the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

2/28/19: Puerto Rico Democrats Eye March Presidential Primary Shift

Hat tip to Luiso Joy for bringing the Puerto Rico plan to FHQ's attention.

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Puerto Rico Democrats Eye March Presidential Primary Shift

In a nice #InvisiblePrimary piece about the role Puerto Rico might play in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination process, Marc Caputo had a line that could have been lost in the shuffle if one was not paying close attention:
Adding to Puerto Rico’s political value, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is backing a plan to move the 2020 primary from early June to one of the final two weekends in March.
That is the sort of action that usually grabs FHQ's attention. And rusty though my Spanish may be, there is no bill currently before the Puerto Rico Assembly that would shift the date of the presidential primary on the island. I have checked.

So FHQ reached out to Caputo to see if there was any more light he could shed on the matter. While there is no bill with any language to change the June primary date to March for Democrats in the territory, Caputo shared with FHQ that there is a bill that may be used as a vehicle for pushing that change. S 1026, a still-active bill introduced in June 2018 by Senator Miguel Romero Lugo (PR-District I, San Juan), currently calls for a renaming of the presidential primary act and the addition of a requirement for presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns to appear on the primary ballot. The tentative plan is to amend that bill and tack on the Democratic presidential primary date change.

The current statute treats the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries differently.1 The Republican primary essentially defaults to the first Sunday in March while the Democratic primary follows three months later on the first Sunday in June. In some ways the set up is similar to the primary scheduling in South Carolina where the two parties' primaries are typically on separate days. But in the Palmetto state those two contests have tended to be only a week apart in years in which both parties have active nomination races.

Three months between contests in Puerto Rico is a bit different. But with this potential change -- if the bill above is amended -- the later Democratic primary would be nudged up the calendar into March, the same month as the Republican primary, albeit not on the same date. That would push another 51 pledged delegates into what is shaping up to the be the busiest month on the primary calendar.

1 The statute setting the date of the presidential primary in the Puerto Rico is as follows:
§ 1324. Primary date  
The presidential primary of the Republican Party will be held on the last Sunday of the month of February of the year in which the presidential elections in the United States are to be held, as long as it does not precede or coincide with the celebration of the presidential primary of the State of New Hampshire. If there is such a conflict, the presidential primary will be held on the first Sunday of March. The Democratic Party presidential primary will be held on the first Sunday of June, that same year. In case of opting for a political party affiliated by the alternative of Assembly arranged in sec. 1350 of this title, it will be celebrated on these dates.
[Emphasis is FHQ's]

When and if the Puerto Rico bill in question is amended with a provision to change the date of the primary there, FHQ will add it to the 2020 presidential primary calendar.

Hat tip to @heyitsfoxyyyy for bringing the Caputo piece to FHQ's attention.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jeb Bush, Puerto Rico and Backdoor Winner-Take-All Delegate Allocation

It is not some mistake that Jeb Bush is in Puerto Rico this week for a fundraiser and town hall meeting.

According to law in the territory, there is to be a primary election next March; on the third Sunday in March unless that date conflicts with Easter or Palm Sunday.1 In 2016, it does. Instead of being on March 20, then, the Puerto Rico primary will fall on Sunday, March 13; just at the tail end of the proportionality window.

But why would a candidate make the effort to venture into Puerto Rico in April in the year before a presidential nomination race at the prospect of gaining some proportional share of the territory's 23 delegates? The answer is twofold. First, and Lesley Clark at McClatchy raises this, is that there are potential primary and general election ramifications in Florida's Puerto Rican community to making an appearance in and talking about issues important to folks on the island and in the continental United States.

That is true, but there are broader strategic implications at play here as well that piggyback on that Florida-Puerto Rico connection. The Florida primary is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15. Florida Republicans are also talking about a winner-take-all delegate allocation plan. However, it is unclear if those plans include a truly winner-take-all allocation method or the more-often-used (sans national party penalty) winner-take-most allocation. Let's assume here that it is the former (and FHQ thinks it will be).

The Puerto Rico primary is situated just a couple of days earlier, just inside the proportionality window on March 13. If the party utilizes the same type of allocation plan it used in 2012, then it has the potential to be a backdoor winner-take-all contest. There are no congressional districts in Puerto Rico, so there cannot be any differentiation between congressional district delegates and at-large delegates. All 23 are at-large delegates. That has the practical implication of making the Puerto Rico Republican delegate allocation either truly proportional or truly winner-take-all. Given, the date of the primary, it cannot be the latter.

Recall, however, that a party can include certain thresholds in its delegate allocation plan to guide the process (and still meet the proportionality requirements). In 2012, Puerto Rico Republicans required candidates to received at least 15% of the vote to be allocated any delegates, but if one candidate wins a majority of the vote, then that candidate is awarded all 23 delegates. The latter threshold was cleared by Mitt Romney in 2012 when the former Massachusetts governor won nearly 90% of the vote.

That backdoor winner-take-all scenario in Puerto Rico plus a win in winner-take-all Florida (outside the proportionality window) is a significant one-two punch (over 120 delegates). If a candidate can pull that off in what appears to be a protracted race (at that point), that is important. The key here is that there is less difference between a winner-take-most contest and a proportional contest than there is between a winner-take-all primary or caucuses and everything else. Not all states after March 14 are rushing to be winner-take-all. But some are, and if this race keeps going, targeting those winner-take-all states -- as John McCain did in 2008 -- is a big part of the puzzle in the race to 1235.

Jeb Bush is making that play.

1 Here is the text of that primary law:
Those primaries to be held pursuant to the provisions of this subtitle shall be held on the third Sunday of March of the year in which the general election is to be held, except if said Sunday is Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday, in which case, the primaries shall be held on the second Sunday of March of the same year. Primaries shall be held on the first Sunday of March if the aforementioned holidays fall on the second and third Sunday. 
In the case of national primaries, these may be held on any date after the first Tuesday of March of the year in which the general election is to be held, up to June fifteenth (15th) of that same year, as determined by the local body of the national party.
The Republican Party in Puerto Rico used the second part of the law as its motivation for setting the date of its 2012 primary, but ended up scheduling it on the date called for in the first part -- the third Sunday in March (March 18, 2012).

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Race to 1144: Southern Tuesday/Puerto Rico

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

Delegate breakdown (post-Southern Tuesday, Puerto Rico):

1) 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 two additional delegates (which have been taken from Romney's total).

2) 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.

3)  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.

Recent Posts:
About that RNC Delegate Count, Part Two

A Few Thoughts on the Missouri Caucuses

Unbound vs. Unpledged Delegates

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Puerto Rico

This is the twenty-fourth 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.


This seems to be a running theme in the last few of these glances at state-level delegate allocation, but the RNC memo released in December gave the wrong impression of the delegate allocation in Puerto Rico. That document indicated that the Atlantic island US commonwealth would be allocating its delegates winner-take-all. Well, that set off a whole host of "But Puerto Rico is scheduled to hold its primary before April 1. How are they winner-take-all and not penalized?" questions.

The answer is simple: no violation, no penalty. Puerto Rico is conditionally winner-take-all/proportional.2 Depending on whether a candidate receives a majority of the vote across the island in the primary, the winning candidate will receive either all of the island's at-large delegates or divide them proportionally with any other candidate receiving over 15% of the vote. If, then, a candidate wins a majority, he will be allocated all 20 at-large delegates. If not, then the allocation is proportional. Easy enough, right?

Puerto Rico delegate breakdown:
  • 23 total delegates
  • 20 at-large delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
The three automatic delegates are free to endorse or pledge to any candidate of their choice. Thus far, both Mitt Romney has claimed endorsements from two Puerto Rico automatic delegates and Newt Gingrich one each.

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

2 Here is the relevant section of the Puerto Rico Republican Party delegate selection rules that FHQ has received on background:
  • All twenty (20) delegates and twenty (20) alternate delegates from Puerto Rico are delegates at large.
  • Each candidate for President shall be awarded at-large delegates from Puerto Rico authorized by the Republican National Committee proportionately, according to the ratio of votes they received to the total votes cast on an islandwide basis. Provided however, no delegates shall be awarded to any candidate for President receiving less than fifteen percent (15%) of the vote, and such votes shall be allocated among the other candidates in proportion to their total vote. If one candidate for President receives a majority (50%) of the total islandwide votes cast, then that candidate shall be awarded all at-large delegates from Puerto Rico.

Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Hawaii

About that Santorum Campaign Delegate Strategy Memo

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Mississippi

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