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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

February 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

43 delegates for Washington Republicans? Here's the explanation

Republican national convention delegates in 1964. What will it look like in 2012? (Photograph by Smithsonian Magazine)

Washington has 43 delegates at stake in the March 3 Republican Party caucuses. That’s 13 more than Michigan and 14 more than Arizona, both of whom vote on Tuesday. Washington’s total is the second-highest of the primary season so far.

Many times over the past two months people have raised the question of how does the Republican Party assign delegates to specific states as part of the presidential nomination process?  I am happy to say I have some help this morning.

I paid a fair degree of attention to the delegate process in 2008 when the Democratic contest went into the long twilight of spring.

ABC News has a report out this morning that explains the delegate process for the Republicans. It has almost never mattered, but this year it seems to — so far, at least.

Here’s the bottom line: “Delegates are allotted to states based on two factors. The first is a mathematical formula connected to a state’s congressional districts. … The second determining factor is a bit more puzzling to a non-political wonk. In addition to congressional districts, delegate totals are also based on the Republican Party’s influence throughout the particularly state.”

In Washington, the state is strong on both: we have a new congressional district due to an increase in population size over the past decade, and even though the state tends to be “blue” in presidential contests, Republicans hold four of the state’s nine congressional districts.

The ABC News report offers a fuller explanation of the process. UPDATE: And even more is here for the true political junkies in the house.

And if you’re really a geek on this stuff, the Obama campaign’s delegate maestro has a new book on how they gamed out the 2008 campaign. I just ordered my copy.

Comments | Topics: ABC News, Arizona, Barack Obama

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