With the close of the Maine Democrats' state convention on Sunday, there's now a clearer picture of the delegate selection throughout Pine Tree state's caucus process. All 24 of the state's pledged delegates were at stake over this past weekend since Maine goes from precinct voting to county convention voting held in correspondence with the state convention. The initial estimate following the February 10 precinct meetings was that Obama and Clinton would split the Maine delegates 15-9. That distribution favored Obama more, though. The Illinois senator received 59% of the statewide vote and that 15-9 split would have given him nearly 63% of the delegates.
And that was the way the distribution emerged from the convention on Saturday night. [Obama also picked up the convention's add-on delegate, as well.] Obama maintained that edge in the state convention and took a round up to the nearest delegate in both of Maine's congressional districts. It was that statistical artifact that provided the discrepancy in the vote and delegate totals.
That there were only two steps in the process and no shift in the delegate totals from one step to the next both run contrary to the caucus question hypothesis. In breaking down the action in Alaska and Wyoming last weekend, I discussed the states which have held state conventions (and thus completed their delegate selection) into groups: 1) those moving toward Clinton (Colorado and Kansas) throughout the caucus process, 2) those moving toward Obama (Alaska and Nevada) and 3) those showing little or no movement (North Dakota and Wyoming). Of those three categories, Maine fits best into the final category. Like most of the caucus states, Maine provided Obama with a solid win, but unlike some of the caucus cases, the original level of support didn't translate into increased support as the process continued (something of an intra-process bandwagon effect). And again, that speaks toward the power of the Clinton candidacy (and the competitiveness of the race). When in most years there would have been at least some trickle of support toward a front-running candidate/presumptive nominee throughout the caucus process, this year just hasn't seen that. Being the VANP (very almost nearly presumptive) nominee apparently hasn't been enough for Obama.
Up next? The remaining big one. Texas completes the caucus half of its delegate selection with its state convention next weekend. Unlike Maine, Texas has already shown some movement toward Obama throughout the steps of the caucus process.
Half and Half: The Florida and Michigan Story
Carl Levin's Statement to the Rules and Bylaws Committee
A Timeline of the Florida/Michigan Impasse