Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Edwards Iowa delegates may try to stick it out

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

My assumption all along had been that Edward's delegates to the Iowa County Conventions on Saturday would scatter, essentially reallocating his 14 estimated national delegates to the other campaigns. Edwards now has about 30% of the total delegates to the county conventions. But remember, a candidate must achieve the 15% threshold at every level. The county conventions are electing delegates to the Congressional District and State conventions, which then do the actual election of delegates to the national convention. I assumed he wouldn't get 15% anywhere, allowing his 14 national delegates to get reallocated. I may be wrong:

And as David P. Redlawsk at the Britannica Blog notes, "across Iowa some 30% of all county convention delegates are John Edwards supporters (more than Clinton has by a handful), and those folks may have to make a choice. The choice they make may determine whether Clinton or Obama comes out of Iowa with the bulk of our national delegates – either one could conceivably pick up all 14 of Edwards’ potential delegates. Normally that wouldn’t matter much, but this time around every delegate may make a difference.

"So what’s going to happen? Well, in my county – Johnson County, home of the University of Iowa – the Edwards delegation (which, for full disclosure, I lead) will attempt to remain together, to elect our own delegates pledged to Edwards to the District and State conventions. If we are successful in doing this, and if Edwards supporters in other counties in our district do the same, the Edwards delegation could be a major factor in determining what happens in April and June. We may get to elect our own national convention delegates or we may end up aligning with one of the other candidates, providing a significant boost to him or her."

Redlawsk says that "at least locally, only the Obama campaign has been making efforts to woo Edwards delegates. The Clinton campaign seems to be completely missing in action. If this is the case throughout Iowa, don’t be surprised if in April Obama is able to pad his delegate count by strategically continuing to campaign for the hearts and minds of county, district, and state convention delegates."

There's going to be a lot more written on this before Saturday. Stay tuned.


PseudoPeach said...

Can someone who knows explain in detail the process being applied here? I know that there are conventions at several levels. So how is it possible to project the eventual count at the national level in so many states? If you look at the delegate tracker on this site, most news outlets are in near perfect agreement on the counts of most states.

Do all states use this arrangement of nested conventions?

Is this what's happening in Colorado?

What about primary states?

Matt said...

Delegates in Iowa, and in all other states, are picked at both the state level (33%) and the Congressional District Level (67%). The national delegates are estimated as a straight percentage of the precinct delegates chosen in January in Iowa, looking at both CDs and state numbers.

But it's a multistage process. The January caucuses elected delegates to the county conventions on Saturday. The county conventions elect delegates to the CD and State conventions. If the percentages stay the same, the national delegate estimate will stay the same.

But at every stage, an candidate needs 15% of the delegates to elect delegates to the next level. It's unclear if the Edwards delegates will stay together or split. If they split, then Obama & Clinton will likely each get 7. But if some Edwards delegates go on, and other don't, it will depend on how it plays out. But no way will either candidate get all 14 delegates.