Tag Archives: delegates

California Already Tightening

By Jim Ellis

June 17, 2019 — A new large-sample Golden State poll released from the University of California at Berkeley and the Los Angeles Times (June 4-10; 2,131 likely California Democratic primary voters from a pool of 4,435 registered voters) yields some surprising results. The three most unexpected findings first show a tight race among the four top contenders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) surging into second place, and home-state Sen. Kamala Harris only finishing fourth but not substantially behind.

The California primary, scheduled for March 3, possesses the largest number of first-ballot delegates of any state or territory. The state’s 416 first-ballot delegates, 272 of whom are divided among the 53 congressional districts and 144 at-large, will certainly help set the tone over how the Democratic National Convention unfolds.

Sen. Harris, who could well be the indicator candidate as to what scenario will occur at the convention, (i.e., will one candidate be able to coalesce a majority coalition on the first or second ballot or does the nomination battle fall into a multi-ballot contest) must score big in her home state, and this latest survey suggests her path is challenging but doable.

The Berkeley/LA Times study sees former Vice President Joe Biden holding a smaller lead than in past surveys, as he polls 22 percent first-choice responses. Sen. Warren makes a major jump into second place and records 18 percent, one of her best showings in any poll. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has been dipping in polling across the country, places third at 17 percent, and Sen. Harris trails in fourth position, but is still clearly in the game at 13 percent.

Polling from around the country within the last 10 days, and this California study is obviously no exception, has been projecting a tighter Democratic race. Though Biden still leads, his advantage is lessening.

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March 3, 2020: The New Super Tuesday

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2019 — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced this week, as expected, that his state’s new primary will move to March 3, 2020, which has clearly become the next presidential cycle’s Super Tuesday.

Previously, Colorado employed the caucus system to apportion delegates, but voters changed to a primary when passing a 2016 ballot initiative, so now the state’s 67 Democratic first-ballot delegates and 37 Republican convention votes will be apportioned through a primary election.

But the Centennial State voters and the Democratic National Committee rules appear to be at odds. According to news reports, the 2016 Colorado electoral primary ballot initiative not only transformed into a primary, but also adopted a winner-take-all apportionment format. While Republicans allow states to award all of their delegates to one candidate based upon a primary or caucus victory, the Democrats, under the McGovern reform rules adopted after the 1972 presidential election, do not.

While the state may want to make the winner-take-all option determinative, the procedure violates Democratic rules, so we could see yet another pre-convention issue develop before the Credentials Committee, the body that certifies all of the delegate votes prior to the convention officially beginning.

The 2020 Democratic nomination process is becoming seriously front-loaded, which could play to the party’s detriment. By rule, only four states, referred to as “The First Four,” may vote before March 1 in the presidential year: Iowa (caucus, 41 first-ballot delegates), New Hampshire (primary, 24), Nevada (caucus, 36), and South Carolina (primary, 54). But just three days after South Carolina concludes, the following Tuesday, March 3, could become the most significant date of the early campaign.

Now that Colorado has joined the 3/3 fold, the following states will vote (in parenthesis, are the number of first ballot votes each entity possesses under the Democratic delegate apportionment formula):

  • Alabama (52)
  • American Samoa (6) – presumed to be voting this day
  • Arkansas (31)
  • California (416)
  • Colorado (67)
  • Democrats Abroad (13)
  • Georgia (105)
  • Massachusetts (91)
  • Minnesota (75)
  • North Carolina (110)
  • Oklahoma (37)
  • Tennessee (64) – probable, but has not yet set the calendar
  • Texas (228)
  • Utah (29)
  • Vermont (16)
  • Virginia (99)

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Could The Democrats Be Headed
Towards a Convention Free-For-All?

By Jim Ellis

April 11, 2019 — One of the most interesting facets of the Democratic presidential nomination process sounds mundane, but it may be more telling than any single campaign factor.

The primary/caucus schedule will in many ways determine if the party can coalesce behind one candidate before the Democratic delegates convene in Milwaukee during mid-July, or if they’ll be headed to a contested convention featuring several roll calls.

To win the nomination a candidate must either garner majority support on the first ballot (1,885 votes from a field of 3,768 elected delegates) or from among the full complement of 4,532 Democratic delegates on subsequent roll calls when the 764 Super Delegates are eligible to vote.

Joining the early mix, meaning the states that will vote on or before March 17, 2020, is Washington state, which has moved their nomination event. Additionally, over just this past weekend, the Washington Democrats passed a new party rule that transforms the previous delegate-apportioning caucus into a statewide primary. Previously, the state featured both apparatuses, with the caucus attenders selecting the delegates while the primary was no more than a political beauty contest.

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Bloomberg & Other Surprises

By Jim Ellis

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D)

March 8, 2019 — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision earlier this week not to enter the Democratic presidential race becomes the first major surprise move of the early campaign.

It was clearly expected that he would become a candidate. After all, he was talking about committing $500 million of his own money to the effort, he’d hired key campaign staff, designed a presidential campaign logo, and even organized an announcement tour beginning in his birthplace of Boston, Massachusetts.

Speculation continues to surround former Vice President Joe Biden’s decision regarding whether or not he may also ultimately decide to take a pass on the race; Bloomberg’s reasoning provides us a key clue that at least he thinks Biden will soon form a campaign.

So far, 11 Democrats have become candidates with two more filing exploratory committees. The pair remaining in pre-candidate status are Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

It is conceivable that one or both of the latter women could decide not to become candidates. Rep. Gabbard has run into organizational trouble, is being attacked for her foreign policy positions, and now has drawn serious primary opposition for her congressional seat. Just recently, state Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) has earned public endorsements from former governors and key Hawaii Democratic Party leaders.

While many in the media cast Sen. Gillibrand as a top-tier candidate, she has gone nowhere since her exploratory announcement, failing so far to even break one percent in any released poll.

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With Sanders Now a Democratic
Presidential Candidate,
What is His Path to Victory?

By Jim Ellis

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT)

Feb. 21, 2019 — Calling Donald Trump “the most dangerous president in modern American history,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT) announced his 2020 presidential campaign through You Tube and email this week.

His further virulent attack on President Trump was softened by his call to unite America under his presidential campaign, with a goal, he stated, of recruiting more than 1 million volunteers to participate in a grassroots message delivery operation.

The rhetoric notwithstanding, where is Sen. Sanders’ path to the Democratic nomination? This will only be the second time in his long career where he has actually entered Democratic Party primaries. Has his political opportunity window closed as many believe to be the case?

Though the senator is now 77 years of age and would be 79 when sworn into office, should he win the presidency next year, he still has strong support within the youngest segment of the American electorate. He also attempts to appeal to racial minorities, union workers, and climate change activists as the core constituencies of a political base that he believes can expand and carry him to the nomination.

But, unlike 2016, when he battled eventual nominee Hillary Clinton one-on-one through all of the primaries and to the Democratic National Convention only to lose 60-40 percent on the first ballot roll call, he does not have the Democratic left all to himself.

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