By Jim Ellis
April 12, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) won his seventh consecutive Democratic nomination event as he scored a Saturday afternoon 56-44 percent Wyoming Caucus victory over Hillary Clinton. Though he realistically cannot close the delegate gap, mostly because of Clinton’s overwhelming strength among the party’s free agent Super Delegates, Sanders has still managed to win the popular vote in 17 states and territories as compared his opponent’s 20.
Wyoming has only 18 Democratic delegates, and while Sanders decisively won more state delegates in their caucus system, Clinton is coming away with more national convention delegate votes thanks to the aforementioned Super Delegates.
Once the regular and Super Delegate votes are tabulated, Clinton looks to have scored a positive 11-7 margin, despite the state delegate tally cutting against her.
According to The New York Times, the updated unofficial national count finds Clinton with an overall 1,756 to 1,068 advantage. This means the former Secretary of State is 627 votes shy of obtaining the 2,383 delegates required to claim the nomination with 20 states and territories yet to vote. Therefore, she needs less than one-third of the remaining delegates to win.
The New York primary on April 19 is the next state to vote, and both parties will participate. With 291 Democratic delegates at stake (Republicans have 95), Clinton has a great opportunity to increase her lead and position herself to soon officially clinch the nomination.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reportedly swept the Colorado state Republican Convention on Saturday, ostensibly taking all 34 delegates. The three Republican National Committee delegates round out the entire 37-member delegation.
Though Cruz is claiming what appears to be a Winner-Take-All delegation, and the final vote may well turn out that way, Colorado is one of three states sending an unbound delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. This means all Colorado members can change their votes at any time.
Should Donald Trump finish first through the primaries and caucuses, we can expect him to singularly focus upon the unbounded delegations: Colorado, North Dakota, most of Pennsylvania, Wyoming and three territories. Since the other delegations will be committed on at least the first ballot, the aggregate 265 unbounded delegates will be Trump’s only focus of attention during the period between the last primaries (June 7) and the national convention call-to-order (July 18). He will likely attempt to convince enough unbound delegates to vote for him on the first ballot, thus allowing him to clinch the nomination on one roll call.
Congressional candidate filing here for 2016 closed on Friday, setting the stage for the Aug. 4 primary and November general election.
Retiring Rep. Stephen Fincher’s (R-Frog Jump/Jackson) western state 8th District will be open. Thirteen Republicans, four Democrats, and four Independents will battle for the right to succeed the three-term incumbent. The GOP nominee will be favored in the general election, but Fincher is the only Republican to win this district since the mid-70s so a competitive general election here is somewhat possible. None of the 2016 filed Democrats appear particularly credible, however. Fincher’s consecutive three win percentages were 59, 68, and 71 percent.
Of the remaining eight incumbents seeking re-election, five have drawn primary opposition. Only representatives Jimmy Duncan (R-TN-2), Jim Cooper (D-TN-5), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) are unopposed for re-nomination. All districts have both Democratic and Republican candidates for the general election.
The most serious primaries involve Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4) and possibly Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-9). Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6) drew a last-minute challenge from former state Rep. Joe Reed (R) and two others, but it is doubtful this latter contest will become hotly contested.
No Tennessee campaign presents itself as a top tier competitive general election race.