Friday, January 13, 2012

A Follow Up on South Carolina Republican Delegate Allocation

Iowa...New Hampshire...on to South Carolina.

FHQ has fielded several questions over the last several days on how exactly the South Carolina Republican Party will allocate its apportioned delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa following the sanctions that cut the Palmetto state delegation in half. We have already covered what the South Carolina Republican Party rules have to say on the matter -- exempt from the new proportionality requirement and winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district -- but that does not give us any clear indication of how the process would work once the penalty has been levied against the state delegation.

FHQ exchanged emails with South Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Matt Moore earlier this week, and he confirmed that the party would use the same rules it used in 2008 under similar circumstances. Instead of having 50 total delegates with 26 at-large delegates allocated winner-take-all based on the statewide vote and an additional 21 delegates (3 delegates per each congressional district) allocated winner-take-all according to the vote on the congressional district level, the formula will reduce by nearly half the those totals while remaining winner-take-all.

Here's how it works:

  • The three national delegates -- to which the SCGOP rules do not refer -- are eliminated in any state violating the RNC rules on presidential primary timing. The SCGOP chair and both the Republican National committeeman and committeewoman will still go to the convention but will not have voting powers on the floor.
  • Instead of apportioning 3 delegates per congressional district, under the penalties, the South Carolina Republican Party will allot each district two delegates. That reduces the number of congressional district delegates from 21 to 14 -- a reduction of only one-third.
  • The statewide at-large delegate total will bear the brunt of the penalty; decreasing from 26 delegates to just 11. That is a penalty of more than half of the original total of at-large delegates. The winner of the statewide vote -- whether by plurality or majority -- will be allocated all 11 delegates.

Again, this was the same method of delegate allocation that the SCGOP used following the penalties imposed when the state party moved the Palmetto state presidential primary into January in 2008. The result was that John McCain won 18 of the available 24 delegates -- 12 for the statewide win while splitting evenly the six congressional district votes with Mike Huckabee for the remaining 6 delegates. A narrow win (~4%) in 2008 netted McCain a 3:1 advantage in the delegate count coming out of the state. The statewide at-large delegates make the difference.

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