Friday, February 29, 2008

Convention schedule puts GOP in NFL conflict

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This blog started in November, 2005 when Howard Dean announced the 2008 Democratic Convention dates. At the time, I spent a lot of time explaining here and in other places why the choice of the late August dates was a great one. It put the GOP in a real bind, either forcing them to go before the Democrats, thereby breaking decades of tradition that allows the party in the White House to have their convention second, or to go after the Democrats in early September, starting on Labor Day, when people's thoughts turn to going back-to-school and other Fall events.

Well, one of those Fall events is potentially a major conflict for the GOP:

Although it's not official, indications are that the NFL would normally start its season on Thursday, September 4, on NBC.

The GOP is holding their convention from Sep 1-4, and the nominee normally gives his or her speech on Thursday evening, just after 10:00 EST. This is a big problem for NBC and the NFL. NBC pays a lot of money to show NFL games. But there's no way they would take the political heat and not show McCain's speech, and its unlikely the NFL would want to take the heat either. Yes, the speech would be available on the other networks, but the football game would attract a major audience, and the GOP, would, and appropriately so, raise a big stink.

There's talk that the NFL is quite aware of the issue, and is looking at alternatives. Here are some possibilities:

  • Simplest is to start the season a week later, cutting the time before the Super Bowl to one week instead of two. Certainly doable.
  • Start the game at 6:30 EST. NBC won't like this - they'll lose viewers on the west coast.
  • Play the game on Wednesday (still up against the convention, but not a big deal) or Friday (the high schools will be mad)
  • Give the game to ESPN or the NFL Network, and give NBC another game some other time. NBC won't be happy giving up the highly rated Kickoff Game, and there will still be football on against McCain's speech.
  • Just don't have the Thursday night game at all this year.
My guess is they'll just cancel the Kickoff game this year, but we shall see.

All previous articles on convention dates can be found here.

Update: Yes it was preseason, but there is precedence for moving the games earlier. From July, 2000:
ABC News said yesterday that the National Football League had agreed to change the starting times of two Monday night preseason games, a decision that will allow the network to devote an hour of prime-time coverage each to the opening nights of the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

The network had earlier announced that it would not pre-empt the football games and would provide prime-time convention coverage on those nights -- Monday, July 31, when Republicans convene in Philadelphia, and Monday, Aug. 14, when Democrats gather in Los Angeles -- only during halftime.

David Westin, president of ABC News, said yesterday that network officials decided to approach the N.F.L. about helping them make room for the conventions after concluding that the lineup of speakers for the opening nights had considerable news value.
Mr. Westin said Robert A. Iger, president of ABC's parent, the Walt Disney Company, had taken a lead role in discussions with N.F.L. officials about how convention coverage might be accommodated. As a result, the games will start an hour earlier, at 7 p.m. rather than 8 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, ABC officials said. That should allow convention coverage to start about 10 p.m.

Candidates give their superdelegate numbers

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In an overview piece from the NY Times on Obama cutting Clinton's superdelegate lead, we do have one useful nugget:

The Clinton campaign said Thursday that it had the support of 258 of the 795 superdelegates (not counting those from Florida or Michigan, whose delegations are the focus of a dispute), while the Obama campaign said it had the support of more than 200.
Those numbers are about 15 higher for both candidates than we have them, a not unreasonable number.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Superdelegate from Maine moves to Florida - Superdelegate total now 794

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Yesterday Tom Walsh of the Ellsworth American reported that Maine was going to lose two of their superdelegates because they were no longer registered to vote in Maine.

Two of the eight prominent Democrats appointed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to represent Maine as super delegates at the Democratic National Convention aren’t eligible to do so under the DNC’s own residency requirements.

Neither former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell nor former Maine Governor Kenneth Curtis is a legal resident of Maine, as required by DNC rules stipulating that super delegates must “legally reside in their respective state.”

The DNC defines legal residency through voter registration. Neither Mitchell nor Curtis is registered to vote in Maine.
Curtis told the paper the following:
“It really doesn’t matter what state I’m from,” he said. “I am a delegate because of my term as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I could just as well attend the convention with the Florida delegation, and, at this point, I’m not 100 percent sure that I will go. I’ll go only if my vote is meaningful.”
Sorry Ken... you're wrong. The DNC has confirmed to 2008 Democratic Convention Watch that they have officially moved Ken Curtis from Maine to Florida. Curtis has pledged his support for Hillary Clinton. Even as a Distinguished Party Leader, if a superdelegate is from Florida or Michigan they do not get a vote.

DNC Rule 9A (5) confirm that as a Florida resident Curtis has lost his superdelegate vote.
A. The procedure to be used for certifying unpledged party leader and elected official delegates is as
Not later than March 1, 2008, the Secretary of the Democratic National Committee shall officially
confirm to each State Democratic Chair the names of the following unpledged delegates who
legally reside in their respective state and who shall be recognized as part of their state’s
delegation unless any such member has publicly expressed support for the election of, or has
endorsed, a presidential candidate of another political party:
5. All former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all
former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of
the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and
all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee.
Thanks to commenters Craig and CBH for helping out with this.

Another thing this move does is change the superdelegate total to 794. I'm amazed that we're still seeing most news organizations still using the 796 total for superdelegates. With the passing of Tom Lantos the number went down to 795. Now with Curtis being moved to Florida it goes to 794.

Our totals now are 239 superdelegates for Clinton and 184 for Obama.

We'll see how long it takes for anybody to catch up to this.

Update: Georgia Representative John Barrow has just endorsed Obama
Obama now has 185 superdelegates to Clinton's 239.

Update II: Tom Walsh of the Ellsworth American just let me know that the DNC has started checking the legal residency by voter registration of all superdelegates.

Update III: And, of course, the total number of delegates is down to 4,047, which means it now takes exactly 2,024 delegates to win the nomination. (The number including MI and FL stays the same, as Curtis will have his vote in the Florida delegation is seated).

Update IV (March 3): And for those of you who just won't take our word for it:
Here’s what’s interesting: By moving Curtis out of Maine and into Florida, it drops the number of votes needed to win the Democratic nomination. 2025 is no longer the magic number. It’s now 2024.

Moreover, it Curtis (a Hillary supporter) is now ineligible to vote to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations at the convention. And since he’s now a Florida superdelegate, if the sanctions remain his vote won’t count at all.

Remember, we reported the story here 4 days ago. And kudos for reporter Tom Walsh for breaking the story in the first place.

Updated - Maine superdelegate confusion

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A small paper in Maine thinks its discovered a scandal in the DNC superdelegate lists:

Two of the eight prominent Democrats appointed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to represent Maine as super delegates at the Democratic National Convention aren’t eligible to do so under the DNC’s own residency requirements. Neither former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell nor former Maine Governor Kenneth Curtis is a legal resident of Maine, as required by DNC rules stipulating that super delegates must “legally reside in their respective state.”

The DNC defines legal residency through voter registration. Neither Mitchell nor Curtis is registered to vote in Maine. Voter registration records for the Manhattan borough of the city of New York show Mitchell registered to vote there as a Democrat on April 22, 2004. Voter registration records in Sarasota County show Curtis registered to vote in Florida as a Democrat on Feb. 7, 2005.

Under the DNC’s residency requirements, Mitchell could be a member of the New York delegation and Curtis a member of the Florida delegation, but not Maine’s delegation.
Well, lets dispose of Mitchell first. The DNC moved Mitchell to the NY delegation in their latest list, so there is no issue there.
“I’m a registered voter in Florida,” Curtis told The Ellsworth American in a telephone interview, adding that he’s lived year-round in Sarasota for more than two years. “I gave up on winters in Maine. “It really doesn’t matter what state I’m from,” he said. “I am a delegate because of my term as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I could just as well attend the convention with the Florida delegation, and, at this point, I’m not 100 percent sure that I will go. I’ll go only if my vote is meaningful.”
Curtis is much more interesting. If he is truly a resident of Florida, then he needs to be moved to the Florida delegation. And if that happens, poof, he vanishes from the superdelegate list, as Florida and Michigan are not currently assigned any delegates, either pledged or unpledged. We will follow up on this.

Update: Curtis has endorsed Clinton, while Mitchell remains uncommitted.

Update II: The DNC has confirmed to us that Curtis has been moved to Florida which means Clinton loses his vote as a superdelegate.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

DCW in the Wall Street Journal

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We've had a number of links and articles mentioning 2008 Democratic Convention Watch, but today the Wall Street Journal's The Numbers Guy did a nice writeup of us and the whole superdelegate counting frenzy.

Host Committee announces it may need $9 million more

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As most Colorado residents expected the Host Committee has come to the conclusion that they need more money than they had originally budgeted for. At least it's not as bad as RTD's FasTracks which is facing a $2.5 billion shortfall.

The host committee responsible for raising the nearly $41 million for the Democratic National Convention now believes it may need as much as $9 million more to avoid a budget shortfall.

Officials with the Denver 2008 Host Committee claim there are additional cash costs that it is responsible for beyond its $40.6 million contract with the Democratic National Convention Committee.

For example, the contract calls for use of the luxury suites at the Pepsi Center, but host committee officials believe reimbursement totals for those suite holders will be $1.5 million over the contract amount.

The contract also addresses staffing costs, including rent for downtown offices and host committee salaries. But host committee officials say that's almost $1 million more on top of the contract's $40.6 million.

Chris Lopez, spokesman for the 2008 Host Committee, said they also have to come up with $1.5 million in security costs that aren't covered under the $50 million in federal funds for the convention. - RMN

Now watch as all the wingnuts start complaining that Denver never should have asked for the convention.

A Day in the Life of a Superdelegate

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Thanks to Sarah for letting us know about this

Do we have that guy on our lists?

Update: Oreo, I'm pretty sure he's a DPL. - Matt

Monday, February 25, 2008

Denver's Adam's Mark Hotel (may) have new look in time for the convention

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Delegates from New York and California may be staying in an even swankier hotel than they were already slated for after Denver's Adam's Mark Hotel was sold for $176 million. The 1,125 room hotel will undergo a $70-million renovation and be rebranded under the Starwood Resort and Hotel name.

Within the next 18 months, every inch of the hotel (will) undergo a $70 million renovat(ion) to meet the Sheraton concept.

The renovation will include putting flat-screen TVs in all guest rooms, revamping the food and beverage area with the Sheraton theme and creating a social area where people can use the Internet.

The hotel has 133,000 square feet of meeting space, and will be open during the Aug. 25-28, 2008, Democratic National Convention in Denver. Delegates from New York and California will be staying in the Adam's Mark. - Denver Business Journal

Unless they're able to complete the renovations a full year ahead of schedule the renovations won't be finished in time for the convention. If you've ever stayed in a hotel that's been under construction you know how pleasant it can be. I'm sure the fine people at Starwood will keep any inconveniences to a minimum during the convention. I guess it's still better than staying in a hotel that's an hour away from the Pepsi Center.

And if any NY or CA delegates are visitors to our blog we'd like to let you know that we are accepting invitations for any parties you may be having (for reporting purposes of course!).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Special Elections could make new superdelegates

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There are six open seats in Congress, and six Special Elections are scheduled over the next 3 months:

Illinois 14thMarch 8, 2008Dennis Hastert (R)
Indiana 7thMarch 11, 2008Julia Carson (D)
California 12thApril 8, 2008Tom Lantos (D)
Mississippi 1stApril 22, 2008Roger Wicker (R)
Louisiana 1stMay 3, 2008Bobby Jindal (R)
Louisiana 6thMay 3, 2008Richard Baker (R)

Democrats are favored to keep the Democratic seats, and Republicans are favored in the Mississippi and Louisiana seats. The Hastert seat leans Republican, but a recent poll shows it could be very close.

And every Democratic winner automatically becomes a superdelegate, and increases the number of superdelegates, and therefore total delegates, by one over the current numbers.

Note: The CA-12 election is an open primary, If no candidate gets a majority, a run-off will be held on June 3. The MS-1 is also an open primary, with the run-off scheduled for May 13.

Update: The latest poll in IL-14 has Foster (D) leading 45-41 over Oberweis (R). Picking up Hastert's seat would be a huge win for the Democrats.

Update 2: Foster is running ads featuring Obama's endorsement, and being from Illinois, Foster is a lock to support Obama should he win.

Oklahoma add-on superdelegate named

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We welcome Reggie Whitten to the superdelegate universe:

[Oklahoma Chairman Ivan] Holmes named Reggie Whitten, an Oklahoma City lawyer who has been serving as the party's finance chairman, as an add-on superdelegate Saturday.

Holmes said the party was $150,000 in debt when he became its chairman a year ago. He said two efforts have helped bring the party out of debt.
Holmes credited Whitten as a primary force is getting the party out of debt. The party's monthly expenses have been pared to $12,000 from $35,000, he said.
Whitten is a former Edwards supporter who is currently uncommitted.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Caucuses are multi-stage events

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We're all learning a whole lot about the way Democratic Party picks its delegates to the national convention, and one big thing we've learned is that early caucuses such as in Iowa and Nevada are just the first stage in the process. In Iowa, the 14 estimated delegates John Edwards won will be scattered to the other candidates in the next stages.

And in Nevada, the candidates are looking to hold serve as the County Conventions are being held today:

The first test to keep those national delegates is in Nevada on Saturday, when nearly 11,000 county delegates are due to report to 17 county conventions. The national media and the big campaign operations have long since abandoned the state. Yet a handful of staffers and a network of supporters are left to ensure that delegates elected last month stick with the campaigns until the deal is done.
Karen Hicks, a senior adviser to the Clinton campaign, said the goal is to "protect the delegates we've earned." However, she added, "We will try to maximize every single chance we get to pick up delegates."
In Nevada, precinct caucuses were held Jan. 19 to select delegates to county conventions this weekend. The county conventions will select delegates to the state convention in May. The national delegates are elected at the state convention — the third step of the process. If all the delegates for each candidate show up at every step, the national delegates awarded Jan. 19 will remain unchanged.

In Nevada, Obama won 13 delegates and Clinton won 12. But if one side is unable to rally its supporters at any step along the way, it risks losing national delegates, much like Gary Hart did in 1984.

Hart fared well in initial party caucuses when he ran for the Democratic nomination in 1984, only to see some of those delegates go to Walter Mondale at the state conventions, said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist who counted delegates for Mondale. Mondale went on to win the nomination before losing badly in the general election to Ronald Reagan. "If you're Gary Hart, you might say they got stolen," Devine said. "The fact is our campaign recognized that the first tier of the caucus process was not the end, it was the beginning."
Clark County, Nev., convention chair Bill Stanley said the party is trying to minimize delegate poaching by opening the pool of possible alternates to any Democrat who participated in a precinct caucus and attends a county convention. "At the end of the day, what we hope to do is maintain the same amount of the delegates for each candidate as were reflected out of the precinct caucuses," Stanley said.

Still, the situation is ripe for convention-floor horse trading. Nearly 440 county delegates awarded to former candidates John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich are up for grabs, along with a handful of uncommitted delegates.

There was a bit of controversy last week about delegate poaching - convincing pledged delegates of one candidate to vote for the other candidate at the convention. (Remember, pledged delegates are NOT bound to vote for the candidate they were pledged for). But to me, trying to gain a delegate here or there at these mid-level conventions is just good organizational politics, especially if it means trying to get delegates from departed candidates over to your side.

We'll update this post when results from Nevada are available.

Update: Chaos in Las Vegas:

The Clark County Democratic convention has devolved into chaos as party leaders try to juggle an unexpectedly large turnout with strict party rules for picking delegates.

More than 8,000 people showed up at Bally's Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, causing the fire marshal to shutdown a ballroom. Party leaders say delegates entitled to participate were shutout and may not get the chance to support their candidate.

Representatives of the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns, along with party leaders, say they think the convention should recess and reconvene later at a later date.

The idea was loudly rejected by the room of rowdy Democrats. It is not immediately clear how party leaders plan to resolve the issue.

Update 2: The Clark County convention wrapped around 4 p.m., after supporters from both campaigns voted to suspend the presidential delegate vote. No idea what happens next.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Everybody wrong on Lieberman superdelegate status

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A couple of weeks ago, FireDogLake and many others got it all wrong on Joe Lieberman:

Lieberman's endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
Wrong, and I will respectfully say that Ms. DiNardo is not the definitive source on who gets to be a superdelegate. Lieberman was never a superdelegate. The Call to the Convention states:
Additional unpledged votes shall be added if needed to provide for ... Democratic United States Senators from that state or territory (if any).
Quite simply, he is not considered a "Democratic Senator", and therefore has never had superdelegate status for 2008. The DNC confirms this:
Sen. Lieberman is an independent member of the U.S. Senate and that is the reason he is not an unpledged delegate; because he is not a "Democratic member." Yes, Sen. Lieberman may caucus with Senate Democrats but [it's] not the same thing.
Bernie Sanders is also not a superdelegate, even though he caucuses with the Democrats. Senator Jeffords and Sanders, then a Congressman, were not superdelegates in 2004, even though they caucused with the Democrats.

Any other argument for Lieberman being a superdelegate a) former vice-presidential nominee or b) former Democratic Senator --- just aren't supported by the rules of the convention. He lost his superdelegate status two years ago when he lost the Connecticut Democratic primary to Ned Lamont, so his endorsement of John McCain was meaningless.

Update: And finally some documented proof that Lieberman was never a superdelegate. Currently, the Call to the Convention, dated Jan 5, 2008, shows that Connecticut has 4 superdelegates who are Members of Congress, one superdelegate who is a Distinguished Party Leader (DPL), and 6 DNC members. The DPL is Senator Chris Dodd, who is also a former Chairman of the DNC. And the 4 members of Congress are Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Christopher S. Murphy. So clearly Lieberman was not a superdelegate on Jan 5, 2008.

And now lets look at the Connecticut Delegate Selection Plan, dated May, 2007, before Lieberman's endorsement of McCain. On page 29, we see that the number of Unpledged Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates (or Unpledged PLEOs the official name of superdelegates), was also 11. If Lieberman had been a superdelegate, the number would have been 12. He wasn't.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Still 11 states left without applications for convention blogger credentials

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If you read my story from last month you'll know that there were still several states without any blogger credential applications for the convention.

A little more than a month later there are still 11 states with no applications.

South Dakota
West Virginia

If you're a blogger and you want to get into the convention in August this may be your best chance for a ticket. And if your state isn't mentioned in the list above don't worry. Most states only have a couple applications that have been entered.

2008 DemConvention State Blogger Corps (PDF)
Recognizing the growth of more localized blogs, this pool is designed for those covering state and local politics. To qualify as a state blogger, the applicant’s blog must have been in existence six months prior to requesting credentials and have at least 120 politically related blog posts. Bloggers must submit their daily audience and list their authority based on Technorati stats. Bloggers may also provide examples of posts that make their blog stand out as an effective online organizing tool and/or agent of change.

Once the state bloggers have been identified for the DemConvention State Blogger Corps, the applications of those not selected for this program will all be transferred for consideration for the general blogger pool.
If you've been planning on entering your blog but figured you'd wait, your time is running out. The deadline for applications is April 15th and bloggers will be notified in May if they will be getting credentials.

Ultimate Delegate Tracker

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Congratulation to Sen. Obama, the Democratic Nominee for the office of the United States of America and the next President of the United States of America.

Click Here To See The Rest of the Blog

Important Notes:
5/31/2008 - The RBC has just ruled that Florida's pledged delegates and superdelegates will be seated at 1/2 vote each.
The RBC has ruled the Michigan's pledged delegates be split 34.5-29.5 (69-59 at 1/2 delegate each), and superdelegates will be seated at 1/2 vote each.

For the latest information on Edwards’ delegates see What happens to Edwards' delegates?

NBC has acknowledged that 21 Edwards’ delegates have moved to Obama and they are included in their total, but there is no update to their individual states numbers. They added a bar in their chart similar to any state bar and they labeled it Edwards' delegates.We will add those 21 PD to NBC Total Pledged Delegates. This will make our NBC totals accurate and match NBC overall totals.
CBS overall totals don’t match their individual states’ numbers. They also are taking some state numbers out and correct that after a day or two. (AS, ID, and MI)

Sources aren't updating their totals as they add delegates. We have switched to adding the delegates ourselves so you have the latest numbers.
In this table we compare five different news sources' delegate and superdelegate numbers for the 2008 Democratic Convention.
As new primaries take place we will update the table.

A list of delegates certified to the Democratic Convention can be found here.

Last Updated: 06/04/2008 6:00 PM (EST)

GP = Green Papers
NYA* = Not Yet Allocated.

DCW Ultimate Delegate Tracker

Total Pledged

Delegates Lead

Total Delegates
Total Delegates Lead


Special thanks to Yousri (Formerly NiceGuy1951) for compiling all of the data!

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