Saturday, June 4, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: NEW JERSEY

This is part fifty-one 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: June 7
Number of delegates: 51 [12 at-large, 36 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: winner-take-all
Threshold to qualify for delegates: n/a
2012: winner-take-all primary

Changes since 2012
Like California, New Jersey abandoned its February primary in 2012 for a cheaper, consolidated primary in early June. And like California, New Jersey will carry over the same rules from 2012 to 2016. The primary will fall on the Tuesday after the first Monday in June, the delegates will be directly elected on the primary ballot and the allocation will be winner-take-all based on the statewide results in the primary.

The winner-take-all method New Jersey Republicans utilize means there are no thresholds to qualify for delegates. The winner must have just one more vote than the runner-up to claim all 51 delegates.

Delegate allocation (at-large, congressional district and automatic delegates)
Not to belabor the point, but the plurality winner of the statewide vote is awarded all of the delegates in the Garden state according to New Jersey Republican Party rule 5(B)(3):

Note also, that the three automatic/party delegates are included in that allocation. Contrary to the majority of states, New Jersey Republicans did not have to make any adjustments to their previous formula in the aftermath of the RNC general counsels' office guidance on how automatic are to be allocated in instances where their allocation is/was not clear in state party rules.

As opposed to the ballots in some other states where delegates are directly elected -- Pennsylvania and West Virginia come to mind -- voters have a much easier time voting for their preferred candidate and the delegates on the ballot aligned with them. In fact, the candidates' names appear at the top of the ballot and their respective slates (of delegates) are listed immediately below. That ballot proximity -- delegates to candidates -- makes it much less likely that any ballot roll-off will occur and/or that delegates/delegate slates of another candidate would win.

Rule 6 of the New Jersey Republican Party rules for delegate selection and allocation bind all 51 delegates to the statewide primary winner for the first ballot. That is always true unless the winner declines to participate in the national convention or "makes known publicly" that he or she is no longer in the running for the nomination, then the delegates are unbound and free to choose whomever in the voting at the convention.

That is a more expansive view of the method by which delegates are released. There is no language about suspension or withdrawal. If not for the fact that New Jersey has such a late primary and that a presumptive nominee has already emerged, then the Garden state would appear to have a low bar for the release of delegates similar to those in Louisiana and Michigan.

State allocation rules are archived here.

Recent Posts:
2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: MONTANA

About those bound delegates

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: CALIFORNIA

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