Saturday, February 11, 2012

Race to 1144: Maine Caucuses

Contest Delegates (via contest results and rules, and RNC)
Automatic Delegates (Democratic Convention Watch)

Delegate breakdown (post-Maine caucuses):
Romney: 91 delegates (New Hampshire: 7, South Carolina: 2, Florida: 50, Nevada: 14, Automatic: 18)
Gingrich: 32 delegates (South Carolina: 23, Nevada: 6, Automatic: 3)
Paul: 8 delegates (New Hampshire: 3, Nevada: 5)
Santorum: 4 delegates (Nevada: 3, Automatic: 1)
Unbound: 126 delegates (Iowa: 25, Colorado: 33, Minnesota: 37, Maine: 21 Automatic: 8, Huntsman: 2)

As Maine goes, so goes the...

...well, so has gone New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada thus far anyway. The Maine Republican Party revealed Saturday night that Mitt Romney had won its caucuses. Now, it should be noted that there are several caucus meetings that have yet to occur and will be held between now and March 3, but as Maine Republican Party Executive Director Mike Quatrano informed FHQ a couple of weeks ago, only the caucuses held on or before February 11 would be included in the straw poll results. It was the party's opinion that the 502 (of 600) precincts reporting up to February 11 would be a reflection of the Pine Tree state's Republican caucusgoers as a whole.

Whether it accomplishes that goal or not, Romney emerges with a win that coupled with a straw poll win at CPAC helps to change the narrative around the race following the Santorum sweep of February 7 contests. The other side of this is that Ron Paul, a close runner-up, has made a push to collect as many county convention delegate slots as possible. To this point, that is the one unanswered question to could determine the outcome of the selection of delegates from Maine. All 24 delegates go to the Tampa convention unbound, but that doesn't mean they don't have a presidential preference in tow. Of course, Romney has already claimed the endorsements of two of the Maine automatic delegates and the Paul campaign may further focus on the remaining caucuses in the state as a means of solidifying either its total number of county convention delegates or its lead in county convention delegates. [Again, we don't have a full set of information on the latter, but the possibility is worth noting.]

Where does that leave the total overall delegate count?

Ah, yes. It's time for FHQ's post-contest crankiness over the various projections of delegates coming off of yet another non-binding caucus, a total process from which unbound delegates will be selected to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Look, I can appreciate the need to report some delegate count, but the simple truth of the matter is that while Maine delegates or Colorado delegates may have a particular preference for one candidate or another, we have no idea how many of which candidate's supporters moved through to the next step of the caucus process. None or at least only anecdotal evidence. What that evidence does not seem to suggest, however, is that the count is proportional. it is being projected in WAY too many places.

The saving grace in all of this is that a flood of upcoming primaries will begin to render the discrepancies across various delegate counts less significant. Most of the primaries on the Republican side are binding in a way that these past several caucuses -- with the exception of Nevada -- have not been. As the delegate totals overall grow, the differences based on the falsely projected proportional allocation of non-binding caucus state delegates will have less and less influence. least that is what I keep telling myself.

No candidate padded his total after Maine, but Paul seemingly picked up the support of one automatic delegate from Iowa with the election of one of the Texas congressman's co-chairs in Iowa as chairman of the Republican Party in the Hawkeye state. However, Chairman Spiker, upon that election resigned his post with the Paul campaign and stated that he would support whomever the national party nominee is. As a result, the totals from following the Colorado/Minnesota/Missouri troika of contests remains unchanged. The unbound category, though, increases by 22 (Maine) delegates.

Maine Results:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Iowa GOP Chairman Spiker will support the eventual Republican nominee but that still allows him to vote for Ron Paul on the first ballot.