Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Washington, DC

This is the twenty-eighth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180ยบ change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


WASHINGTON, DC

The wand that is the RNC delegate selection rules has been waved. April 1 has come and gone and the Republican nomination race is now firmly entrenched in the "states can choose to be winner-take-all" zone. Nevermind Arizona and Florida.2 Those two rules-violators aside, the Republican Party in Washington, DC becomes the first "state" to officially -- and without sanction -- allocate all of their delegates to the winner by majority or plurality the the District's primary today.3

Washington, DC delegate breakdown:
  • 19 total delegates
  • 16 at-large delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
First of all, this completely takes the fun out of this exercise. The winner receives all of the delegates!?! That's all? C'mon. Give us some gray area, DC Republicans. FHQ's readers demand it.

At-large allocation: Well, the allocation of the at-large delegates is winner-take-all. Once the DC Board of Elections certifies the primary results, the slate of 16 delegates and 16 alternates submitted by the winning candidate becomes the bulk of the DC delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. [Recall that Rick Santorum did not file a slate of delegates and is not even on the ballot in DC today.]

Automatic delegate allocation: And while the three automatic delegates are like the automatic delegates in most other states -- free to endorse/pledge to a candidate of their choosing at any point in the race -- there is some need for clarification as to who these folks are. If you took the time to scroll down and peruse the draft of the primary rules you will see that races for the national committeeman and national committeewoman are also on the primary ballot. That said, as Matt from Democratic Convention Watch informed FHQ via email, the newly elected RNC committee members from DC will not assume their positions until the Friday following the national convention. That means that both Anthony Parker and Betsy Werronen (pledged to Romney) will be delegates to the RNC convention. Neither is on the ballot today seeking reelection to the Republican National Committee.

Fun fact (Well, some may view it as fun.): Current DCGOP chair, Bob Kabel, is on the ballot today running for the post of Republican National Committeeman from DC.

--
1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 ...or Idaho and Puerto Rico. Am I right, Red White & Blue Fund?

3 DCGOP Rule II(G)(1) from a draft of the primary rules:
The Executive Director and/or Republican Board Member of the  DC Board of Elections shall certify the results of the Presidential Preference Primary to the DCRC's  Chairman. Upon such certification, the Chairman of the DCRC shall then certify to the Republican National Committee the elected slate of Delegates and Alternates pledged to the Presidential candidate who received the greatest number of votes at the Primary. [Emphasis FHQ's]
DCRC Draft 2012 Primary Plan

Recent Posts:
Americans Elect and the Electoral College

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2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Wisconsin


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