Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: DELAWARE

This is part forty of a series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation rules by state. The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2016 -- especially relative to 2012 -- in order to gauge the potential impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. For this cycle the RNC recalibrated its rules, cutting the proportionality window in half (March 1-14), but tightening its definition of proportionality as well. While those alterations will trigger subtle changes in reaction at the state level, other rules changes -- particularly the new binding requirement placed on state parties -- will be more noticeable. 


Election type: primary
Date: April 26 
Number of delegates: 16 [10 at-large, 3 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: winner-take-all
Threshold to qualify for delegates: n/a
2012: winner-take-all primary

Changes since 2012
The aim often in states with small delegations is to maximize the impact of a contest by using winner-take-all rules (rather than proportionally dividing up a small number of delegates). That had traditionally been the case during competitive Republican cycles with the primaries in Washington, DC as well as in Delaware. Republicans in the First state were able to continue that tradition in 2012 when Democrats in control of the state government moved the primary from early February to late April. The late April date fell outside of the proportionality window and allowed Delaware Republicans to allocate the full allotment of delegates to the winner.

That has been the way of things in Delaware stretching back to 1996 when the Delaware primary was created. It was winner-take-all in 2012 and will be again in 2016. That is a long way of saying that nothing has changed in Delaware for the 2016 cycle.

Well, one thing has changed. Rather than allocating 17 delegates as was the case four years ago, First state Republicans will only allocate 16 delegates to the winner of the April 26 primary.

As Delaware is a winner-take-all contest -- the fourth on the calendar and first since Arizona -- there are no thresholds to qualify for delegates.

Delegate allocation (at-large, congressional district and automatic delegates)
This, too, is easy enough to interpret. At a minimum, the plurality winner of the Delaware primary will be allocated all 16 of the national convention delegates apportioned to the state by the RNC.

According to Article XI, Section 3 of the the Delaware Republican Party bylaws:
"On the first ballot for the National Party's presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention, each delegate or alternate entitled to vote shall vote for the candidate who wins a plurality of the votes cast in the presidential primary..."
The only exception to that is in the event that the winning candidate in Delaware withdraws from the race prior to the convention and/or releases his or her delegates. In that case, the rules unbind the delegates, allowing them to vote for a candidate of their preference. However, given that the Delaware primary is on the back half of the calendar and the field of candidates has winnowed, it is less likely that the winner will relinquish his delegates prior to the first ballot vote.

A slate of 16 delegates is selected by the Delaware Republican Party Executive Committee, presented to and voted on by the state convention. Importantly, Article XI, Section 4 of the state party bylaws states that, "Presidential candidates shall not nominate or propose any delegates or alternate delegates."

As such, Delaware is another example of a state where the candidates and their campaigns have no direct influence over the delegate selection process. In fact, in Delaware, the candidates are at the mercy of the state party with respect to the selection process.

State allocation rules are archived here.

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