Apr 24 2008

OR Pres: The delegate split

Published by at 7:09 pm under Oregon

Among the various reforms of the presidential nomination process the parties – this applies especially to the Democrats – might consider for 2012, high up on the list ought to be simplifying delegate selection and apportionment. It ought to be simple enough that a lay audience can grasp it. Really isn’t right now.

Having said that, a few words on what’s at stake: The delegates Oregon will select. As we understand it. (If anyone spots a flaw in what follows, please notice it in the comments. Thanks.)

It’s becoming, rapidly, very hot out here. Former President Bill Clinton will be back this weekend, even visiting a high school (at McMinnville) about five miles from our home base, among other places ranging from North Bend to Portland. We expect the Obama crew will be back soon too before long.

According to the records of the Democratic National Committee, Oregon’s convention delegation will total 74 people. Of those, nine will be alternates, so that leaves 65 delegates as such. 12 will be “superdelegates” (top elected officials and party officers). The convention will select additional six of delegates who are elected officials or party leaders, and an “unpledged add-on”, who likely will be former Governor Barbara Roberts.

The remaining delegates – meaning, their presidential preferences – will be selected in the May 20 primary, in two different ways. A dozen will be “at large” – selected based on the statewide vote. The other 34 will be selected by congressional district, split among the five House districts in the state; the districts get more or fewer delegates based on the Democratic vote there. So District 2, the eastern Oregon district that runs very heavily Republican, gets just five delegates; District 3, the central Portland district which is as strongly Democratic, gets nine. District 5 gets six, and 1 and 4 get seven apiece.

So how many delegates might Obama and Clinton get? Because of the proportionality rules, neither will likely pull any massive advantage out of Oregon. If Obama wins with a clear margin, he will probably pad his lead over Clinton by five or six delegates, but probably not more than that. (Everyone may be wondering the day after: Is this all that sound and fury was about? Well, maybe that and bragging rights.)

There’s a thorough analysis up in a diary on Daily Kos, breaking down the likely outcome by category and district. Because a massive statewide win would be needed to do better than tie in the at-large delegate counts, diarist Skaje figures Obama may take those 7-5, though a tie is nearly as likely. But figures Obama takes one-delegate leads in four of the congressional districts, and ties in District 5 (actually, he figures a win there but not enough to split the delegates 6-4, which would require a landslide). The net result would be 29-23 if Obama wins much more than 10%, and 28-24 if by less.

A lot of fuss over very few votes.

UPDATE As e’ve half suspected, a couple of the procedural details were wrong: A state Democratic official (involved with writing the rules) got in touch with the straight data. The post has been updated to reflect that.

His take on the Kos post was that the analysis was less than thorough, considering as it did just one poll result and some questionable congressional district outcomes. But the feeling was that the diarist’s end result – a very small number of delegates realistically at stake – was about right.

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One Response to “OR Pres: The delegate split”

  1. Chuck Butcheron 29 Apr 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I’ll just bet I know who set you straight. With an election this close proportional delegate awards does result in little difference. It does reflect Congressional District preferences and it does allow campaigns time to get their feet under them. I still prefer it to the Republican model.

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