News from the Votemaster
John McCain picked a fight with Barack Obama yesterday for two reasons. First, he would like Iraq to be the main issue in the campaign so he can showcase his extensive military and foreign policy experience. Second, the media have kind of forgotten him and focused entirely on the Democratic race lately, which is more exciting. He needs to remind people that he's still here and what better way than attack one of the Democrats, especially the one with the least foreign policy experience.
Tuesday's posting described how Texas will choose its 228 delegates to the DNC. Today's is about how Ohio will choose its 161 delegates. As usual, the complete story is in the Ohio delegate selection plan. There are six categories of delegate for Ohio, as follows.
Thus only 92 delegates will be chosen Tuesday. The rest are either members of Congress, members of the DNC, or will be chosen by the state executive committee on May 10.
The primary election on March 4 will elect a certain number of delegates from each of Ohio's 18 congressional districts. The numbers for each district reflect how well the Democrats did in the 2004 and 2006 elections, weighted equally, so heavily Democratic districts, like OH-11, get more delegates than highly Republican districts. Here is the distribution of delegates. The district numbers are all hyperlinked. When there is a Hot House race, the link goes to a description of the race. For districts that have been gerrymandered so badly that the winner is already known, the link is to a map of the district. The color of the line indicates which party the incumbent representative belongs to.
Anything interesting here? Yup. For starters, the delegation to the DNC will contain about as many men as women. All state delegations have this characteristic. The DNC requires it. The net result is that close to half of the delegates at the DNC will be women. It is not quite half because women do not make up half of the members of Congress, governors, senators, and other elected officials who are PLEOs. One of the reasons for requring an even split by gender in the elected delegates is to get more women to become Democratic Party activists. They may later help during the campaign and eventually stand for public office.
Also of note that is that delegates are elected by district. In Texas it is by state senate district; in Ohio it is by congressional district. Why the difference? Because each state party is free to make up any delegate selection plan it wants to, and within reason, the DNC will approve it. So what do we get? Twelve of the 18 districts have an even number of delegates. In a close election, as expected next Tuesday, Barack Obama will get half the delegates and Hillary Clinton will get half the delegates. That leaves only six districts where one of the candidates might pick up net delegates. For Obama, this is good news. It will be very hard for Clinton to gain much on him. Of course, she doesn't like these rules. She'd probably would prefer winner take all on the whole state, but that is not the way the Democrats do things. The at-large delegates and the pledged PLEOs are divided in proportion to the primary vote, so winning state wide does give a bonus, but it is still only a handful of delegates.
The bottom line for next Tuesday is that no matter who "wins" the four primaries in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island, Obama is going to still be way ahead in delegates unless Clinton can pull off landslides in many districts. If the election is close in Texas and Ohio, Obama is likely to come out of the day with about the same lead he went into it, maybe somewhat more or somewhat less, but the Clinton can't come out leading by 100 delegates. It's impossible.
Here are today's polls. It is still close in Ohio and Texas.
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources. They differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, some sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.
Needed to win: Democrats 2025, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster