Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: INDIANA

This is part forty-four 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: May 3
Number of delegates: 57 [27 at-large, 27 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: winner-take-most/winner-take-all by congressional district
Threshold to qualify for delegates: n/a
2012: hybrid primary

Changes since 2012
In 2012, Indiana was a kind of reverse of Pennsylvania in 2016. District delegates were allocated in a winner-take-all fashion to the victor in each congressional district. However, the at-large delegates were selected at the state convention and remained unbound at the national convention.1 Unlike Pennsylvania, though, the sort of plan Indiana Republicans used in 2012 does not cut it under the Republican National Committee delegate rules for 2016.

The difference?

The Pennsylvania congressional district delegates are directly elected on the primary ballot while the Indiana at-large delegates were selected at a state convention and left unbound in 2012 despite a statewide primary election. The former is a loophole, but the latter is not.

The solution the Indiana Republican Party arrived at for 2016 was to streamline the process; to yield to a more Wisconsin method of allocation. That is to say, the party shifted to a winner-take-all by congressional district method of awarding delegates. The winner of the congressional district continues to receive all three delegates. And now the statewide winner is allocated all at-large and automatic delegates.

As the Indiana plan mimics Wisconsin and others like it, the delegates are all given out to the winner statewide or in the nine congressional districts. There is no threshold.

Delegate allocation (at-large and automatic delegates)
Winning statewide in Indiana means taking 30 at-large and automatic delegates. That is a large bonus on top of any congressional district delegates won. The Hoosier state joins South Carolina as the only other winner-take-all by congressional district state where there are more at-large delegates on the line than congressional district delegates. All the others are blue states that lack the bonus delegate-inflated at-large totals that Indiana and South Carolina have.2

Delegate allocation (congressional district delegates)
Win the district, win the three delegates. That is the same as 2012 and has carried over to 2016.

Under the party rules in Indiana (Rules 10-2 and 10-6), all at-large and congressional district delegates are bound on the first ballot at the national convention. That binding holds as long as the candidate(s) to whom they are bound is still an active candidate at the national convention.

That binding rule does conflict with state law -- Indiana Code 3-8-3-11 -- with respect to the at-large delegates. However, despite the conflict, the RNC rules give precedence to the state party rule.

State allocation rules are archived here.

1 Actually, delegates were directly elected on the May primary ballot to attend the state convention and ratify the selection of those at-large delegates.

2 Missouri would have been in this category, but the party shifted a couple of at-large delegates to each congressional district, greatly diluting the at-large pool of delegates.

3 Given the December RNC memo, that at-large total includes the three automatic delegates as well.

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