Friday, February 01, 2008

Edwards delegate update

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

We previously analyzed the status of Edward's delegates, and determined that he would keep his 4 New Hampshire delegates, but his 14 Iowa delegates will very likely vanish at the next stage of Iowa's convention process.

So what's up with his 8 South Carolina delegates? Well after researching, and discussing in detail with the experts at The Green Papers, it seems clear that as long as Edwards keeps his campaign "suspended" as opposed to "ended", he will keep all of his delegates. Why is that? From the South Carolina Delegate Selection Plan:

If a presidential candidate is no longer a candidate at the time of selection of the At-large delegates, then those At-large slots that would have been allocated to the candidate will be proportionally divided among the remaining preferences entitled to an allocation.
This clause is also present in the national rules. So since Edwards is still technically a candidate, he will keep all his delegates. Now if he ever officially ends his campaign (although it's not clear why he would), it all depends on the meaning of "time of selection of the at-large delegates". If it's the time of the primary, than he keeps his 3 at-large delegates. If he ends his campaign before the state convention on May 3, and you consider the "time of selection" to be when specific delegates are actually selected, then he wouldn't get the delegates. I've been told this clause is actually open to debate, and there was talk of challenging it early in the Gore-Bradley matchup in 2000. But for now, the question is moot, as Edwards has not ended his campaign, so he keeps his 3 at-large delegates. And clearly, since no such clause exists for the district delegates he keeps those 5 under any circumstances.

So we'll keep Edwards at 12 delegates in our delegate tracker.

Update: Answering some questions in the comments: If Edwards wins any future delegates, as long as he keeps his campaign in "suspended" mode, he will keep those delegates into the convention. However, it is highly unlikely that he will win any future delegates, as he has to beat the 15% threshold in any Congressional District or statewide. That's not going to happen.

But to make things clear, the 12 delegates he has, like any other delegate, can vote for anybody they want to. They can vote for Edwards, they can vote for whoever Edwards endorses, or they can vote for themselves if they want.


GO JOHN GO! said...

While you're being quite nice in explaining why Edwards will keep his delegates in your count because he's not actually OUT of the race at this point in time, the Media hasn't made this simple point clear.

Imagine a Media that actually REPORTED the news instead of trying to CREATE it.

Sorry, but the fact that voters still have the option to VOTE for Edwards and that he can still gain delegates in many places... well, something tells me that would be very useful information for the Media to provide voters.

Yet will they? Doubtful.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering something... If Edwards gains some delegates on Super Tuesday, and we end up with a contest that is so close at the Convention that even with superdelegates (and assuming that MI and FL are not seated) it is a virtual tie - Does Edwards get to decided who his delegates go to or would they remain committed to him, or would they get to make their own individual decision?

Anonymous said...

I have the same question, what happens with any John Edwards delegates won after he "suspends" his campagin? I know its all mixed up in state and national rules, but some basic explanation will be helpful... Thanks!

Andrea said...

I have the same questions as the other posters regarding delegates earned from this point forward. Please let us know, because you are providing very useful info here.

I also want to agree 100% with "go john go" regarding the media. Amen!

Matt said...

See answers in the post. Let me know if you have any more questions.