Category Archives: Caucus

The Iowa Debacle

Iowa Caucus results as of 10:21 am Eastern, 7:21 am Pacific time, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 4, 2020 — The reporting problem that arose in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses last night have left us with no results for what could be as long as a full day or more after votes were cast, but it still appears as if a clear winner and loser have emerged. The winner and loser terms have a different meaning in the Iowa Caucus context, however.

Voters attended meetings in 1,679 precincts and the party organizers were supposed to submit their first ballot and final alignment numbers through a specially designed application. The app failed, and so did the party’s back-up plan. Therefore, while voting occurred in all of the precincts, less than one-third of the totals have been received at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters at the end of the night. The party spokespeople say they will not release any numbers until the entire state reports, and the 1st and 2nd round totals have been verified.

Meeting attenders cast their first ballot and the candidates failing to attain 15 percent support in the precinct were eliminated. In the final alignment round, those voting for a non-qualifying candidate were then lobbied to vote for a candidate who did surpass the 15 percent threshold and would thus qualify for delegates to advance to the state convention on June 13. The state delegates will then vote to assign Iowa’s 41 first-ballot delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but the eventual official apportionment will closely follow the Caucus votes.

What we began seeing from the fastest reporting precincts that were released, and that was less than two percent of the statewide vote, was a bunching at the top among Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were in need of further support from around the state to reach the 15 percent mark, but both are close. Therefore, it does appear possible that all five of these contenders could qualify for a share of the state’s delegates.

The unfolding situation seems to favor one person in particular, while disfavoring another. On the short end is Sen. Sanders, even though he looks to clinch first place. The glitch cost him the opportunity to declare outright victory in a timely fashion before a national television audience. The most fortunate candidate looks to be Biden, whose early performance suggests he might not even qualify for delegates in a substantial number of precincts. The reporting problem prevented headline stories claiming that he was Iowa’s under-performer.

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Texas Redistricting – The Redux

By Jim Ellis

March 16, 2017 — After the 2003 Texas redistricting saga became synonymous with internal partisan political strife, a three-judge federal panel appears to have ordered the state to again become engulfed in another such battle.

The special panel ordered a re-draw of three districts, and the after-effects of reconstituting the seats will change several more adjoining CDs. The 35th District of Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), which contains parts of Bexar (San Antonio), Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, and Travis (Austin) counties, was actually declared illegal back in 2011. The Supreme Court remanded that ruling back to the panel, and instructed them to take action. Now, after three elections cycles have already passed, the court has decided to move forward.

In addition to the Doggett seat, the 23rd (Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio), and 27th (Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi) CDs have also been declared unconstitutional, and will need to be re-drawn if the ruling is upheld.

The Democratic plaintiffs argued that the districts illegally pack Latino voters and were done so because of race. Emails emanating from Republican staff members participating in the process, and the messages contained in them, lent credence to the Democrats’ case thus culminating in this court decision.

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Voting Resumes Today

By Jim Ellis

March 22, 2016 — Republicans and Democrats in Arizona and Utah visit polling places and caucus meeting sites today, as do Idaho Democrats and Republicans in American Samoa. The big question is whether Sen. Ted Cruz can capture Utah with a majority vote, thereby making it a backdoor Winner-Take-All state. Arizona is the final large Winner-Take-All on the GOP side.

March 22 Lineup:

Arizona (Primary)

Republicans: 58 delegates; Winner-Take-All

Last Public Poll: Opinion Savvy – Fox 10 Phoenix (March 20; 588 likely Arizona Republican primary voters through interactive voice response system): Donald Trump, 46%; Sen. Ted Cruz, 33%; Gov. John Kasich, 17%

Democrats: 85 delegates; proportional – Super Delegates announced: Hillary Clinton, 5; Sen. Bernie Sanders, 1

Last Public Poll: Merrill/West Group (March 7-11; 300 likely Arizona Democratic primary voters): Clinton, 50%; Sanders, 24%
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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

Four More States Tonight

By Jim Ellis

March 8, 2016 — A quartet of states votes in Republican primaries and caucuses tonight: Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii, with the candidates fighting for an aggregate of 150 delegate commitments.

Democrats will vote only in Michigan and Mississippi. Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton is expected to carry both states in her party contests, while Republican Donald Trump is favored in Michigan and Mississippi.

Observers are closely watching to see if Gov. John Kasich can finish a strong second in Michigan, which would likely help him build needed momentum in anticipation of next week’s critical Ohio Winner-Take-All challenge. Sen. Ted Cruz has the strong potential of running well in Idaho. Hawaii is small and anyone’s guess, but Sen. Marco Rubio has a chance to come away with the most delegate votes. Continue reading