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McCormack: Delegate Math, Cont.

8:09 AM, Dec 14, 2007 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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A few readers have challenged the calculations that led me to conclude that it would be "highly unlikely" for Giuliani to lose every race leading up to Florida and still emerge from that primary with a delegate lead.

Now, I confess to dropping out of calculus three weeks into my senior year of high school, so I called up each state party to confirm how their delegates are awarded. The delegate situation is still a little murky, but you can read below for yourself to assess where things stand.

Before I wade into that swamp though, here's a clarification to my original post: It is possible for Giuliani to assume a delegate lead after losing the first six contests and winning Florida on January 29th if (1) no one else amasses a decisive delegate lead before Florida and (2) you don't count the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, which don't technically elect national delegates until later in the year.

All of the following states, except Iowa and Nevada, have been docked half their national delegation by the RNC for moving their primaries to dates earlier than allowed by the party. Keep on reading only if you find it intriguing or useful to understand the minutiae of delegate apportionment. You can't say I didn't warn you.

Full delegate calculations below the fold...January 3: Iowa caucus, 40 delegates.

Voters in each precinct will elect delegates to their county conventions; these county delegates will in turn elect delegates to the district and state conventions, where the national delegates finally will be chosen by June 14. Got all that?

Estimating how many delegates each candidate may ultimately receive based on the January 3 vote is complicated because:

There is no formal system applied in the Precinct Caucuses to relate the presidential preference of the Caucus participants to the choice of the precinct's delegates to the Republican Convention of the County in which the precinct is located. The participants at each Precinct Caucus alone determine if presidential preference is to be a factor in such choice and, if so, how it is to be applied.

In other words, a county delegate may have pledged on January 3 to vote for Romney, but said delegate is not required by the party or the state to vote that way for district and state delegates. The same rules (or lack thereof) apply to the intermediary votes leading to the final selection of national delegates.

Iowa's 40 delegates are apportioned as follows: 3 delegates are RNC committee members; 22 delegates are elected at the state convention; and 15 delegates are elected by congressional districts (3 delegates for each district).

January 5: Wyoming conventions, 14 delegates.

Twelve county conventions will each elect one national delegate on January 5. The final two delegates will be elected at the state convention on May 30.

January 8: New Hampshire primary, 12 delegates.

Delegates are awarded proportionally to each candidate who receives more than 10 percent of the total statewide popular vote.

In the 2000 primary, for example, McCain received 49 percent of the popular vote, Bush grabbed 30 percent, and Forbes had 13 percent. The national delegates were awarded proportionally among the vote total of those three candidates:

McCain (59 percent): 10 delegates
Bush (29 Percent): 5 delegates
Forbes (12 percent): 2 delegates

January 15: Michigan primary, 30 delegates.

It's unclear exactly how Michigan's delegates will be allocated. Without the sanction, Michigan would have three RNC committee members as delegates, and each of Michigan's 15 congressional districts would award three delegates to their respective district popular vote winners. The remaining 12 delegates would be allocated proportionally, like in New Hampshire, but with a 15-percent threshold.

According to RNC rules, a penalized state party such as Michigan's will lose its three national committee members, and it has the choice to determine which of it's remaining delegates will be seated at the convention. But Michigan Republican party spokesman Bill Nowling tells me, "We're going to apportion 60" delegates and ignore the RNC sanction. Nowling says that the RNC will "have to figure out which ones aren't delegates then."