Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Oregon

This is the thirty-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 180º 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.


The Oregon Republican Party method of delegate selection is similar to the method used last week in North Carolina. The main differences are that there are fewer delegates overall and that the automatic delegates are unbound as they are in most other states. Other than that, however, Oregon and North Carolina are just alike: proportional allocation of delegates but without a vote threshold for receiving delegates. The only threshold is the vote share required to round up to one delegate. Given Oregon's apportionment of delegates that mark is just over 2% of the vote. None of the candidates on the ballot last week in North Carolina flirted with that level of support and it should not be an issue for Romney, Santorum, Gingrich or Paul in Oregon either.

Oregon delegate breakdown:
  • 28 total delegates
  • 10 at-large delegates
  • 15 congressional district delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
At-large and congressional district allocation:
All 25 non-automatic delegates are allocated proportionally based on the vote in the Oregon presidential preference primary. Those delegates are pledged to the various candidates until they are released by the candidate, fail to receive 35% of the vote on any national convention ballot or barring the either of the first two release mechanisms, after two ballots at the convention (OR Revised Statutes, 248.315; Oregon Republican Party Bylaws, Article XVII, Section B).2 If a delegate refuses to uphold the pledge, the delegation chairperson will report to the floor the vote total that is in accordance with the results of the primary (ORP Bylaws, Article XVII, Section B). That will occur until one of the release mechanisms has been triggered.

Automatic delegate allocation:
The national committeewoman and national committeeman are selected in presidential election years by the Oregon Republican Party state central committee (Article XIII, Section B). The same is true of the party chairman (Article VII, Section C). Each of the three automatic delegates are free to choose a candidate of their preference. Thus far one Oregon automatic delegate has already endorsed Mitt Romney.

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

2 Oregon Republican Party bylaws (adopted 2/14/12):
Oregon Republican Party Bylaws

Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Nebraska

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: West Virginia

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: North Carolina

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