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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mushy Delegate Math

The delegate counts that we see in the media are, at most, rough estimates. At Slate, David Weigel explains:
How many delegates are we talking about? The states that have already held primaries and voted represent, technically, 983 delegates. Eight of these states—Iowa, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington, Alaska, and Wyoming—have not yet assigned all of their delegates. Together, they have 246 delegates waiting to be meted out at district and county conventions.

Just look at Iowa. That state’s Jan. 3 caucuses assigned no delegates. None. The real work there only started to happen on March 10, when Republicans gathered in 99 county conventions, picking their representatives for the four congressional district meet-ups on April 21. In their Tuesday conference call, the Santorum campaign’s delegate-counter John Yob predicted that he’d win the “vast majority” of Iowa’s 25 delegates. The AP count had Santorum winning only seven of them.

Is the Santorum campaign right? We have no idea. If anyone might know, it would be Ryan Gough, the Iowa Republican Party’s organization director. I called him on Friday to check what had happened in those March 10 klatches.

“I’m just now getting back lists of delegates from 99 counties,” he said. “They’re lists of names and addresses. They don’t have an R for a Romney supporter or an S for a Santorum supporter, or anything like that. The party can’t tell where the support is at this point.”