Tag Archives: Super Delegates

Democrats Re-Visit
“Super Delegates”

By Jim Ellis

June 11, 2018
— According to an article published late last week by Politico, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez informed a group of US House members this week in a meeting that the party will be considering a move to change the status of what are now known as “Super Delegates” in preparation for the 2020 presidential election.

super-delegates-375The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws panel met Friday to consider two proposals about making the group virtually powerless before the next presidential campaign begins. The Super Delegates became controversial in the 2016 presidential contest because of Hillary Clinton’s dominance within this delegate sector, which is comprised of elected officials and party leaders.

Many believed the group unfairly tilted the playing field toward Clinton in the face of actual Democratic primary and caucus voters who preferred Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In the end, Clinton still won the pledged delegate count — those earned in primaries and caucuses — but her strength with Super Delegates clinched the nomination long before all the delegates voted on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention.

In short, each state is awarded a certain number of Super Delegates, officially labeled as “PLEO’s” (Party Leader/Elected Official). They are comprised of a defined number of the state’s elected officials, internally elected, and “distinguished” party leaders. Each state has different rules governing who is awarded Super Delegate status.

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The End; Sanders, Again; State Results

By Jim Ellis

May 5, 2016 — Speculation as to whether the Republicans would host their first contested, or brokered, presidential nominating convention since the 1940s ended when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suspended his presidential campaign after a bruising loss in Indiana.

Though the party nomination is still not officially, mathematically clinched, and won’t be for some time, Cruz’s departure followed a day later by Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) as an active candidate, leaves Donald Trump a solid month to campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, boxing her in from the right while she must continue to court her party’s left base in order to become the nominee while the Democratic race still is ongoing. It will be an important period for Trump, since he will have a distinct short-term strategic advantage.

Indiana, as Trump has been saying since his major victory in the eastern regional primary April 26, proved to be definitive. The new unofficial nominee racked up a 53-37-7 percent victory over Cruz and Kasich, and possibly scored a backdoor winner-take-all result with a sweep of the statewide vote and possibly all nine Indiana congressional districts.

The CDs, which produce three delegates apiece for the candidate placing first in the particular domain, are going at least eight strong for Trump. The 3rd District (Rep. Marlin Stutzman-R) was not fully reported at this writing and Trump led Sen. Cruz here by only 926 votes. If he holds the 3rd, Trump will have secured a winner-take-all 57 delegates, far beyond the 39 he needed to establish a first ballot track.

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Are Both Sides Rigged?

By Jim Ellis

April 14, 2016
— Earlier in the week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump charged that some GOP officials were “rigging” the nomination process against him. Now that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is beginning to reap the benefits of his campaign laying the groundwork in key places during the past several months, particularly in unbound delegation states such as Colorado and North Dakota, Trump is finding himself on the short end of the delegate selection process.

Because Colorado did not have a primary or caucus but went only to a state convention, Trump is saying such a move is out of bounds. The North Dakota Republicans did the exact same thing a week earlier, but he didn’t levy the same charges toward the Peace Garden State GOP leaders.

Simultaneously, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesman claimed that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) is trying to “rig” the Democratic system by attempting to convince Super Delegates who have already announced for Clinton to change their minds.

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Sanders & Cruz Win Again;
Tennessee Filings

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.

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Swinging Wisconsin Numbers

By Jim Ellis

April 1, 2016 — A new Marquette Law School political poll (March 24-28; 1,405 registered Wisconsin voters, 471 “certain” Wisconsin Republican primary voters, 405 “certain” Wisconsin Democratic primary voters) reveals a major swing involving the Republican presidential candidates when compared to the organization’s previous survey taken one month earlier.

With the Wisconsin primary being decided on Tuesday, the latest polls are being taken seriously. According to the just-released data, a net 31-point swing now puts Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) into a significant lead well beyond the margin of error. The late March Marquette results find Cruz leading Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 40-30-21 percent, respectively. At the end of February, Trump held a 30-19-8 percent lead over Cruz and Kasich.

Wisconsin Republican Party leaders chose the Winner-Take-All by congressional district delegate apportionment system, meaning 24 of the state’s 42 delegates will be awarded to the candidate placing first in each of the eight congressional districts (three in each CD). Another 15 are awarded to the statewide winner, while the three Republican National Committee delegates also go to the top at-large vote-getter.

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Sanders: Three Crushing Wins

By Jim Ellis

March 29, 2016 — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may well be the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee but, once again, we see Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders scoring impressive wins in states without major African-American populations.

Over the weekend, Sanders posted landslide caucus victories in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, averaging a cumulative 74.7 percent support figure among the Democratic participants in the three states. In terms of committed delegates, Sanders attracted 105 convention votes in the trio of places, while Clinton gained 54. Though Saturday was arguably Sanders’ best day in the campaign, he still managed to only dent Clinton’s national lead in the all-important delegate count.

According to the New York Times, inclusive of the voting two days ago, Clinton’s advantage between committed regular and Democratic Super Delegates is 1,712 to 1,004. The winner must commit 2,383 votes at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia beginning July 25. Therefore, the former secretary of state and First Lady needs only 671 more delegates, or 33 percent, from the remaining 22 voting entities to clinch what will almost assuredly be a first-ballot victory.

It is important to remember that the Super Delegates, unless barred from doing so by state law, are free agents and can change their votes irrespective of what they may say publicly. Right now, it appears few if any will do so, but that is possible under Democratic National Committee rules. In the Super Delegate category alone, Clinton’s advantage is a reported 469 to 29. Super Delegates are comprised of Democratic elected officials from the various states and party leaders, the latter usually a person in an elected party position such as a state or county chairman.

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What the Primary Numbers Mean

By Jim Ellis

Arizona

March 24, 2016 — To no one’s surprise, especially with the Brussels attack sparking even more emotionalism within Donald Trump’s core political base, the Republican leader easily swept the Arizona primary Tuesday. As we know, Trump notched a 47-25-10 percent popular vote victory margin over Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich, respectively. With this performance, the New York real estate mogul claimed the last major Winner-Take-All primary and all 58 Arizona delegates.

For the Democrats, also as expected, Hillary Clinton easily defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders. The result means the former Secretary of State could conceivably secure approximately 60 Democratic delegates from the Arizona pool of 85 once the final count is apportioned and more Super Delegates announce their intentions. The Grand Canyon State will add to her gaudy national delegate total, putting her within sight of 1,700 committed and announced votes. She needs 2,383 delegate votes to clinch the party’s presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this summer.

For Trump, the Arizona victory puts him in the 750 bounded delegate vote range. The eventual Republican nominee needs 1,237 votes to claim the national party mantle.

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Inching Closer To
A Contested Convention

By Jim Ellis

March 16, 2016
— Last night, the major step toward the Republicans ending in a contested, or brokered, convention occurred. Ohio Gov. John Kasich won his home state, claiming its 66 Winner-Take-All delegates.

Though Donald Trump had a strong night, placing first in the other four states and carrying the Northern Marianas’ Winner-Take-All territorial caucus the day before (nine delegates), he still has a difficult task to commit the majority of Republican delegates before the Republican National Convention begins on July 18.

At this point, the votes of 1,489 Republican delegates are either committed to a candidate or will go to the convention as unbound. This means 983 delegates remain. Of the 983 delegate votes, 152 would be unbound according to individual state party rule; hence, they become the Republican version of “Super Delegates”. The remaining 831 will be committed, or bound, votes.

To win the nomination, Trump must secure 57.3 percent of the remaining delegates. But, to officially clinch the nomination before the convention, he would need 67.7 percent of the bound delegates. Both percentages may be out of reach, considering he has committed just 45.3 percent of the available votes to this point. Now with only two opponents remaining, his take of the available delegate pool will naturally grow – but to what extent?

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More Questions

March 10, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upset victory over former Secretary of State and race leader Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary is causing people to ask some surprising questions. Factoring in Clinton’s overwhelming 83 percent victory in the Mississippi primary, she will add to her national delegate lead so she is still in strong shape for the nomination despite the Wolverine State setback … at least for now.

The top observation spawning from Tuesday night pertains to whether Sanders can take advantage of the campaign schedule once it moves more toward the type of states where he has consistently been winning. Can he fully capitalize upon an election calendar that is about to become much more favorable to him?

Since Clinton’s strong delegate lead is largely based upon her overwhelming dominance among Super Delegates — those elected Democratic officials and party leaders who are largely free agents at the convention — will those individuals begin to back away if Sanders overtakes her among the regular delegates?

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It’s Coming Down to Ohio

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2016 — Donald Trump placed first in three of the four states last night, meaning next week’s Ohio Winner-Take-All contest may well determine if the Republicans will nominate a candidate on the first ballot or plummet into a contested convention. Sen. Marco Rubio had a terrible night, with only the two delegates he earned in Hawaii saving him from being shutout.

THE DELEGATE COUNT

REPUBLICANS:

Michigan Primary – 59 Delegates (15% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 36.5% 25 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 24.9% 17
John Kasich – 24.3% 17
Marco Rubio – 9.3%
Mississippi Primary – 40 Delegates (15% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 47.3% 25 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 36.3% 15
John Kasich – 8.8%
Marco Rubio – 5.1%
Idaho Primary – 32 Delegates (20% Vote Threshold)
Ted Cruz – 45.4% 20 Delegates
Donald Trump – 28.1% 12
Marco Rubio – 15.9%
John Kasich — 7.4%
Hawaii Caucus – 19 Delegates (0% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 42.4% 7 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 32.7% 5
John Kasich — 10.6% 2
Marco Rubio – 13.2% 2
RNC Uncommitted 3

UPDATED GOP NATIONAL DELEGATE COUNT (UNOFFICIAL):

CANDIDATE DELEGATES PERCENTAGE
Donald Trump 460 43.7
Ted Cruz 361 34.3
Marco Rubio 156 14.8
John Kasich 56 5.3
Ben Carson 8
Others 7
Uncommitted 5
Needed to win: 1,237

In order for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot, he will have to commit just over 54 percent of the remaining delegates, or 25 percent better than his performance to date. For Sen. Cruz to win on the first ballot, he must obtain 62 percent of the remaining delegate pool, or an improvement of 80 percent over his current rate of delegate acquisition.

The March 15 primaries that feature the Winner-Take-All states of Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates) will be critical in determining if the Republicans can nominate a candidate on the first ballot.

The five states and one territory voting next Tuesday will apportion 367 Republican delegates. With Trump running strongly in Florida, it is likely that Ohio will determine the nomination campaign’s future course. Should Trump win, he has a path to a first ballot majority. If Gov. Kasich scores the 66 delegates, then a brokered convention becomes the likely end game scenario.

Sanders’ Major Upset

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ surprising win in Michigan last night adds a bit of intrigue to the Democratic battle. Winning in a big state with a significant African-American population for the first time, Sanders may be giving Democratic Super Delegates some reason for pause.

Until possibly now, Hillary Clinton has dominated Super Delegate acquisition, which is responsible for her large overall lead in committed delegate votes. But, most of the Super Delegates are not bound on the first ballot. Therefore, they can change their positions.

Since Sanders runs consistently better among white Democratic voters than does Clinton, and most of the states featuring few black voters are still to come, there is reason to believe that he could catch her in the regular delegate category. If so, will the Super Delegates begin to fold? It may become difficult for them, a delegate category comprised of Democratic elected officials and party leaders, to oppose their state constituents.

For weeks, it appeared that Clinton was a lock for the nomination, and still maintains the inside track, no doubt. Yet, there is a glimmer of hope for the Sanders camp, and now a scenario is developing that brings him back into the game.

The adjusted delegate totals account for more Super Delegate declarations and pledged assignments (needed to win: 2,383):
Total Hillary Clinton: 1,229
Total Bernie Sanders: 575
Clinton Super Delegates: 90
Sanders Super Delegates: 575
Clinton Regular Delegates: 707
Sanders Regular Delegates: 485
Delegate Compilation Source: The Green Papers website

Trump, Clinton Knocking on Door

March 3, 2016 — Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump delivered strong performances Tuesday night in their respective Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, but neither could land the knockout punch for which they hoped.

Clinton continued her dominance in the south, but surprisingly stumbled in Oklahoma. She won seven of the 11 Democratic voting entities Tuesday night (with American Samoa still to report at this writing). Sen. Bernie Sanders, in addition to his 51-41 percent win in Oklahoma, took his home state of Vermont, and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.

Clinton was again dominant in the states with large African-American populations and it is probable that she once more attracted approximately 90 percent support within the black community. Sanders, however, is in the superior position among white Democratic voters. Massachusetts was the only northern state that Ms. Clinton carried, but it was close. She finished with 50.3 percent of the Bay State popular vote.

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Super Tuesday, But for Whom?

Feb. 26, 2016 — The next presidential voting event occurs this Saturday for Democrats in South Carolina, but that race is close to an end. When Hillary Clinton easily wins the Palmetto State primary, and then launches into a southern Super Tuesday sweep, the nomination will effectively be hers. But, the real action is with the Republicans.

Next Tuesday, March 1, Republican voters in 12 states will go to the polls to possibly begin officially crowning a presidential nominee, at least according to most news stories.

The media is promoting Donald Trump’s Nevada victory as possibly more than it is, however. Though his 46 percent margin was impressive and anyone’s best showing to date, Nevada has just 30 total delegates and the turnout was only about 18 percent of the total registered Republican universe. Therefore, contrary to popular opinion, the GOP nomination campaign is not yet over.

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Justice Scalia and the Presidential Election; Latest South Carolina Polls

Feb. 16, 2016 — The sudden death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend will have a major effect upon the 2016 presidential elections. Both sides will now emphasize base issues such as abortion and 2nd Amendment rights in order to energize their respective constituencies. The heightened political atmosphere could lead to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.

Expect the Supreme Court vacancy to dominate the political coverage for the rest of the year. The high court situation not only changes the open presidential campaign, but it puts new importance upon the US Senate campaigns because the Scalia replacement confirmation battle could possibly be delayed to 2017. Since neither party will have close to the 60 seats needed to invoke cloture, we can expect this contentious situation to be unresolved for months.

South Carolina

Two new polls were released over the weekend, from the American Research Group (Feb. 12-13; 400 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters) and CBS/YouGov (Feb. 10-12; 744 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters). GOP voters cast their ballots in the party-run primary this coming Saturday, Feb. 20, while their Democratic Party counterparts will vote a week later on Feb. 27.

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What New Hampshire Tells Us

Feb. 11, 2016 — The New Hampshire polling proved correct. Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders were the easy victors in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries Tuesday, but what does that tell us?

First, the Sanders’ victory, as impressive as it was (projected to finish at a 60-38 percent spread), will be short lived. Despite his large victory at the polls, Sanders still trails badly in committed delegate votes. According to the best available delegate projection calculations, Sanders won the New Hampshire delegate count by a 15-9 margin from the committed pool.

Combined with Iowa, Hillary Clinton trails among the regular delegate group, 36-32, but reportedly has another 362 committed Super Delegates as compared to Sanders committing only six of the at-large votes. Thus, the unofficial delegate count is 394-42 in favor of Clinton, but her support number is only 16.5 percent of the total that she needs to clinch the nomination.

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Iowa Democrat Candidates:
The Polls Can’t Predict

Jan. 27, 2016 — Now less than a week before the Iowa Caucuses, five new polls of the Democratic presidential contest, all conducted within the same time period, arrive at very different conclusions. Three of the surveys find Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT) leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while two arrive at the opposite result.

All five polls — from CNN, the Emerson College Polling Society, CBS/YouGov, Fox News, and the American Research Group (ARG) — studied the Iowa Democratic electorate from Jan. 15-24. The sampling universes ranged from 258 likely Democratic Caucus attenders to 490 projected participants.

The Emerson College Polling Society, which is a group of students from Emerson College in Massachusetts who have established such a record of accuracy that the American Association of Public Opinion Research has granted them membership, employs the smallest sample size at 258 self-identified Democratic voters, while CBS/YouGov’s 490-person polling universe was the largest.

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