Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bill Eliminating Presidential Primary After 2016 Clears Arizona House

The Arizona House on Wednesday, February 10, passed HB 2567 by a vote of 37-22. The legislation would appropriate state funds to fully fund the 2016 presidential preference election in the Grand Canyon state but also eliminate the election in future cycles.

The impetus behind the move appears to be budgetary, but there may also be some secondary implications. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan made clear in a state House Appropriations Committee hearing that, first, the statewide election carries a cost of nearly $10 million and, second, is a tab that should be picked up by the state parties in Arizona. The secretary called the possibilities for state parties absent state funding "limitless". However, that ignores the fact that state parties in a state as large as Arizona do not typically caucus or spend upwards of $10 million for a party-run primary. Rather than limitless, then, the likely outcome is a shift to a caucus/convention system to select delegates in the presidential nomination process.

A similar bill was proposed in 2012, but went nowhere. That effort, like the current one, had the support of county elections administrators in the states, who have long supported ceding state control of the nominating contest to the parties.

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While this bill is still early in the legislative process, it could lead to a potentially noteworthy change for the 2020 cycle. If the bill passes, is signed into law and repeals the presidential preference election, that effectively makes Arizona a caucus state.

It was not that long ago that Arizona Democrats pushed for caucuses as a means of joining the carve-out states at the beginning of the primary calendar. The Arizona pitch to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee in 2006 included plans to shift to caucuses. At the time the national party, in an attempt to diversify the primary electorate on the early calendar, wanted to add a southern state and a western state as well as a primary state and a caucus state (that at the time could be put in a slot in front of New Hampshire on the calendar). South Carolina gained the southern primary spot and Nevada was slotted into the western caucus spot.

Nevada has had its share of issues on both sides of the political aisle in the last two presidential nomination cycles. That, in turn, has led to some discussion about whether the Silver state is on the chopping block as an early state. If the national parties -- both of them, not just the DNC -- want a western caucus state up front and want to replace Nevada, an Arizona caucus might provide an alternative.

File that one away for 2017-2018, though.

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Thanks to Richard Winger at Ballot Access News for passing news of the Arizona bill along.


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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The New Hampshire Delegate Count and Beyond -- Automatic Delegates

There was some confusion throughout New Hampshire primary day about just how many of the Republican delegates were on the line in the Granite state. If one looks at New Hampshire state law, it sets the basic terms of delegate allocation in the state. The shorthand of this is that the secretary of state allocates delegates to the national convention to candidates who receive more than 10 percent of the statewide vote in the New Hampshire primary.

That is just "delegates", not at-large delegates or district delegates. Just delegates.

However, the New Hampshire Republican Party has traditionally pooled its at-large and district delegates and allocated them proportionally based on the statewide result. According to party bylaws (see Article II, Section 1 and Article III), though, the three party or automatic delegates have traditionally been unbound. The state party chair, the national committeeman and national committeewoman are prohibited from supporting any candidates. The party rules keep them "neutral".

That would seem to indicate that only 20 of the 23 New Hampshire delegates were at stake in Tuesday's primary. That was how FHQ interpreted the rules and we were not alone. That has been the way that delegates have been allocated in New Hampshire in the Republican contest.1

But this interpretation ignores changes made to the national party delegate selection rules for 2016. New to the Rules of the Republican Party for this cycle is a requirement binding delegates to candidates based on the results of statewide contests like the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses a week ago.

That rule, Rule 16(a)(1), states:
Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, except for delegates and alternate delegates who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters. [Emphasis FHQ's]
Like the New Hampshire state law, the terms of the Republican Party rule are ambiguous. It just says that a state's delegates must be allocated proportionally or winner-take-all based on primary or caucus results. There is no distinction between types of delegates. It is just delegates or in this case a state's delegation.

That fairly inclusive-seeming definition leaves open to interpretation just how state parties like New Hampshire's or Virginia's deal with the potential ambiguity in the national party rules as compared to state party bylaws that explicitly keep the party/automatic delegates neutral or unbound. Typically, the RNC has left much of the minutiae of delegate selection up to the states to decide.

Yet, in December, FHQ was told that there were no unbound delegates at the outset of the Republican nomination process. There can be unbound delegates, but only if they are released by candidates who have withdrawn from the race. That meant that in the 40 percent of states where state party rules left the automatic delegates unbound there was something of a conflict. That is what prompted us to begin adding riders like the following to the FHQ explainers on delegate allocation at the state level. Here's an example from the Virginia post:
The automatic delegates -- the state party chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman -- from Virginia are explicitly unbound according to the September resolutions adopted by the state party. That has been the case in the past, but FHQ was informed in recent conversations with the Republican National Committee that Rule 16(a)(1) binds all delegates from a delegation. The only exception is for delegates elected directly (on the ballot). That does not include party/automatic delegates. How those delegates are allocated/bound when the state rules are not clear on their allocation is a bit of an unknown and something of a wildcard.
The Republican National Committee has a more rigid interpretation of Rule 16(a)(1) and its effect on the binding of the three party delegates when such a binding process is not specified on the state level. In a January 29 memo to RNC members, the RNC general counsel's office, citing both Rule 16(a)(1) and the November call to the 2016 convention, detailed the binding of party delegates in those states. In a state where the allocation of party delegates is not specified, those delegates are to be treated as at-large delegates and allocated in a manner consistent with the allocation of that subset of delegates.

In New Hampshire, then, the party delegates are lumped in with the full allotment of delegates and allocated proportionally. The same would be true in Virginia (rendering Morton Blackwell's endorsement of Ted Cruz somewhat moot). A state like Tennessee, where only the at-large delegates are proportionally allocated based on the statewide results (and the district level delegates based on the congressional district results), those party delegates would treated as another three at-large delegates.

This is bigger than New Hampshire, then. Other state are affected as well, and FHQ's state-level allocation primers will be updated to reflect the clarified interpretation of the rules.


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1 Of course, it has been since 2000 that that traditional method had been used. Penalties imposed by the national party for going too early in the last two competitive cycles -- 2008 and 2012 -- meant that New Hampshire lost its automatic delegates. New Hampshire is rules compliant for 2016 and they have their automatic delegates.


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Monday, February 8, 2016

Two Things to Watch in the New Hampshire Delegate Race on the Republican Side

UPDATED 2/9/16

Mainly the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will be fighting for a win and/or jockeying for position in Tuesday's primary. But there are couple of factors to watch as the returns come in that will affect the resulting delegate count coming out of the Granite state.

While New Hampshire does not offer a windfall of delegates, depending on how the voting shakes out the winner could end up with a surplus of delegates -- under the New Hampshire law that guides the allocation process -- that far outstrips the one delegate that separated first from third place in Iowa's caucuses. That surplus hinges on two things:

First, how many candidates finish over the 10 percent threshold necessary to claim any delegates? The current polling in the Granite state on the Republican race has Donald Trump well out in front. And while those numbers may not translate to votes, that fact does underline something perhaps more important for the candidates immediately behind the real estate mogul: the fluidity of polling in New Hampshire. Accurate or not, the polling has a number of candidates hovering around that 10  percent  mark; something that has not gotten enough attention amid discussions of debate performances and impending voting.

Unlike in some other states, candidates in the New Hampshire primary receive a share of delegates in proportion to their vote. If a candidate wins 11 percent of the vote, that candidate is allocated 11 percent of the delegates. Other states proportionally allocate delegates in a manner that considers a candidate's share of the vote among just the qualifying candidates; those who meet or exceed the threshold. In that scenario, a candidate who wins 11 percent of the vote would be awarded slightly more than 11 percent of the delegates.

This is an important distinction because it leaves some number of unallocated delegates because of the threshold.

The second factor to keep an eye on as the votes are being counted tomorrow night is how much of a percentage of the total vote are the candidates not qualifying for delegates taking. A larger under the threshold percentage means a greater number of unallocated delegates. If, for instance, Donald Trump wins 31 percent of the vote and Marco Rubio places second with 15 percent, but Bush, Cruz and Kasich dip below 10 percent, that leaves 54% of the vote below the threshold. That leaves over half of the delegates unallocated.

Only, that unallocated portion is awarded to the winner of the primary. Trump would claim seven delegates for the 31 percent won to the three Rubio would win for pulling in 15 percent of the vote. However, an additional 12 delegates -- that 54 percent share -- would be allocated to Trump.

Trump, then, would leave the Granite state with 16 delegate surplus. Again, that would be 16 times greater than the cushion Cruz brought out of Iowa. This is an important point. No, not necessarily for Trump specifically, but it is these sorts rules-based differences that can be meaningful in a protracted race for a presidential nomination. If it becomes a state-to-state battle, then these delegate margins start to matter more and more.

To drive home the point about the New Hampshire rules -- and these two factors in particular -- let's go back and assume that Trump and Rubio keep their respective shares, Cruz and Kasich hold steady at around 13 percent (rather than falling below the threshold) and Jeb Bush manages to stay over the 10 percent threshold (to say, 11 percent). That is five candidates over the threshold set by New Hampshire state law with a collective 83 percent of the vote. That leaves only 17 percent unaccounted for under the threshold. Just five delegates.

After Trump takes his seven delegates and Rubio his three, Cruz and Kasich each also grab three and Bush two more. The five "unallocated" delegates are added to Trump's count for 12 delegates total and just a nine delegate surplus when compared to the 16 delegate cushion in the simulation with just two candidates above the threshold and the others below it gobbling up a significant percentage of the total vote. As the number of candidates above the threshold increases, the percentage below the threshold tends to decrease.

No, there are not a lot of delegates on the line in New Hampshire on February 9. However, the rules are in place to make New Hampshire potentially more valuable than Iowa proved to be and perhaps even some larger proportional states deeper into the calendar.


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Saturday, February 6, 2016

2016 Delegate Allocation Over Time

With the first votes in the 2016 presidential nomination contests in, the races have moved out of the invisible primary and into a different phase. Concurrent with that change comes a switch in the basis for discussion. The same polls, fund-raising and endorsement data is still there, but added to that now is chatter about wins and losses and of the chase for the delegates necessary to clinch one of the parties' nominations.

FHQ is guiltier than most of digging down into that chase or the rules governing the allocation of those delegates. However, taking a step back to gain a broader view of the undulations in the process can be just as important.

Compared to the frontloaded calendars of four and eight years ago, the 2016 calendar is completely different. The February start to the 2016 process is a month later than both of the previous cycles and most of the action is packed into just two months, March and April. Eight years ago, both parties had allocated more than 80% their delegates after the contests on the first Tuesday of March. At that same point on the calendar in 2012, roughly one-third of the total number of delegates had been allocated.

In 2016?

For the current cycle, the first Tuesday in March will be the one-quarter point on the cumulative delegates allocated tally in both parties.

The national parties informally coordinated the later start and unlike 2012, actually got their way. But the allocation of delegates is also pushed into a smaller space on the 2016 calendar than was the case in 2012. The de facto national primary on February 5, 2008 when 23 Democratic and 21 Republican state voted was perhaps even more compressed than is the case in 2016.

But the development of the 2016 calendar is about the back end of the calendar as well. Four southern states -- Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas -- all moved from May dates in 2012 to dates in the first half of March 2016. It is the shifting of the delegates in those states along with the later start that has led to the compressed -- March and April -- calendar of events in 2016.

Whereas the middle 50 percent of the allocation -- between the 25 percent and 75 percent points on the calendar -- were bookended by early March and late May spots in 2012, in 2016 that middle 50 percent window in from early March to late April with a very quick ramping up of allocation between March 1 and March 15 on both parties' calendars. After March 15, the climb from the 50 percent point to the 75 percent point is much more gradual and even more subtle after that until a late flourish of allocation in early June to close the process out.

This has strategic implications. The remaining candidates -- those not winnowed by the February carve-out state contests -- have a quick burst of primaries and caucuses in the first two weeks of March. All of the active campaigns will want to develop any kind of a lead in the delegate count by then. Though the rules open up a bit on the Republican side with the closing of the proportionality window, there are limited winner-take-all states to take advantage of after that. That means that any delegate lead in either party will be difficult to close for those challenging to overtake the leader in the count at that 50 percent point.

That is because the states after the middle of March are mostly going to distribute their delegates to multiple candidates in various ways. Both catching up to a delegate leader and closing out a nomination become steeper climbs in such an environment.

Below is a look at the how cumulative growth in delegates allocated progresses in both parties in 2016.

Of note is that the Democrats are about a week behind the Republican allocation after March 1. That has much to do with there being a bevy of southern conservative states early in the process. Both parties have some form of bonus delegate calculation that that rewards party loyalty (as measured by past voting history). There are more Republican bonuses up front than on the Democratic side. Those states carry more weight in the Republican process than for the Democrats.

Note also that there are two figures for the Democrats. The first accounts for the cumulative allocation of all of the Democratic delegates. However, that includes superdelegates that will not be pledged to candidates based on the results of primaries and caucuses. When the 712 superdelegates are backed out -- see the final figure -- the picture looks largely the same among the 4051 pledged delegates. The pattern is virtually the same.

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The Republicans
Click Image to Enlarge

You can also find this image included with the delegate allocation information for the Republican process.


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The Democrats
Click Image to Enlarge



Click Image to Enlarge



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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Iowa Delegate Count

FHQ has fielded some questions in various forms about the delegate count coming out of Monday's Iowa caucuses. There already appear to be a few details about the minutiae of it all that are not exactly clear. Let's add some clarity to this as best we can.

The Associated Press is reporting a delegate count in the Hawkeye state that looks something like this:
  • Cruz 8
  • Trump 7
  • Rubio 7
  • Carson 3
  • Paul 1
  • Bush 1
And then it stops. Only, the problem here is that adds up to just 27 delegates when the Iowa Republican Party was apportioned 30 total delegates by the RNC. And as FHQ has explained (via the Republican Party of Iowa), the state party is proportionally allocating all 30 of those delegates. That means that there is a discrepancy of some sort.

Many -- well, many in my Twitter feed and inbox anyway -- have speculated and/or questioned whether FHQ just has it wrong. That there are three outstanding, unallocated delegates would, on the surface, suggest that perhaps the three unallocated delegates are intentionally unallocated. As the argument goes, those three are the three party/automatic delegates. And perhaps those delegates, as is the case in a number of other states are very simply unbound by the results of the caucuses.

It is a somewhat persuasive argument, but this is a situation where appearance and reality are at odds. Here's why:

First, FHQ spoke with Charlie Szold, the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) Communications Director, back in August about Iowa's placement on the our primary calendar. But I took the opportunity to ask him about the newly adopted delegate allocation plan as well. Recall that Iowa's was a non-binding caucus in 2012. Adding a binding element and a proportional allocation, then, constituted a pretty large change from four years ago. Mr. Szold shared with me the new rules, I glanced them over and seeing that the Iowa rules seemed to suggest that all 30 of the delegates would be allocated and bound, followed up for assurance. After double checking with the party's expert on the delegate process, Mr. Szold confirmed that all 30 would be proportionally allocated based on the caucus results, including the party delegates.

This was a process that FHQ repeated yesterday given some pushback. The answer from RPI was the same: all 30 of the delegates, including the automatic delegates, will be allocated and bound to candidates based on the results in Monday's caucuses.

Well, here we are, two days after the caucuses, and the same 27 delegates above are the only delegates that have been allocated (unofficially by the AP). Why?

As I speculated yesterday it could be because not all precincts were in in Iowa. There is such a cluster of candidates around the 1.9 percent mark that any additions or subtractions of votes to/from the total could affect whether Fiorina, Kasich, Huckabee or Christie receive a delegate. But 100 percent of precincts are now reporting. There is now an unofficial tally. Yet, there still is not a full allocation out of Iowa.

The reason for that is that the tally is unofficial. Until the results are certified by the RPI there will not be a full delegate count out of Iowa. Let us not forget that four short years ago, Mitt Romney was declared the (narrow) winner in Iowa late on caucus night. However, a little more than two weeks later, Romney's 8 vote win became a 34 vote loss to Santorum. There is, then, a cautionary approach to the vote certification and delegate count in Iowa this time around.

Again, the issue is that four candidates are vying for three remaining delegates. Fiorina, Kasich, Huckabee and Christie all are eligible to round up to a delegate, but there are only three delegates. Christie is at the bottom of the order and would appear to be the odd man out. But it is too close to call until the vote is certified. How close? The four candidates' fractional delegate shares range from .527 to .559. That is four candidates separated by just .032 delegates. In other words, the shifting of a few votes here and there is consequential to the final delegate count.

This is a wait and see sort of thing and nothing more. The count at the top of the order -- where it matters -- is not going to change.

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One more thing to add to this:
If one calculates the allocation of 27 delegates, the distribution would look like this:
  • Cruz 7
  • Trump 7
  • Rubio 6
  • Carson 3
  • Paul 1
  • Bush 1
  • Fiorina 1
  • Kasich 1
Cruz would not have 8 delegates in an proportional allocation scheme that intends to award 27 delegates. The Texas senator would just miss out on rounding up to 8. Actually, if only 27 delegates were being allocated the outcome would be clearer. Fiorina and Kasich would round up, but Huckabee and Christie would not. The four would still be clustered but the math would be clearer starting with 27 delegates.

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Another astute question FHQ has received concerns that Huckabee delegate. And now that Rand Paul has also withdrawn, another delegate can be added to that mix. What happens with those delegates?

They stay bound to Huckabee and Paul regardless. The only out for Iowa delegates is if only one name is placed in nomination at the convention. If only one candidate is placed in nomination, as has been the case throughout the post-reform era (save one contest, the Republicans' first under the new system in 1976), then all of the delegates are bound to that candidate.

Unlike some other states, Iowa does not permit the release of delegates nor for them to become unbound in any way.

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There are also some questions out there concerning the delegate count on the Democratic side. Much of this seems to be the result of a lack of clarity concerning how many delegates Iowa Democrats actually have. The Iowa Democratic Party delegate selection plan suggests that there are 54 delegates, but the Democratic National Committee count (still being reviewed, so not final) has Iowa with just 52 delegates, 44 pledged and 8 unpledged (superdelegates).1 It is difficult to speculate on the tentative delegate count in Iowa anyway since the delegates will not be chosen until the later stages of the process. But that process is made even more difficult when there is some doubt about how many delegates the Iowa Democratic Party has been apportioned by the DNC.

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More post-Iowa delegate count thoughts here.

UPDATE: Certified Republican Party of Iowa caucus results and official delegate allocation.

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1 While the link to the IDP delegate selection plan was to a draft FHQ had stowed away, I doubled checked it against the plan on the party website at the time of the original posting. It seems to have been updated as of Thursday, February 4 and now reflects the 52 delegates the DNC has apportioned to the Iowa at this time.


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Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: IDAHO

This is part twenty-two 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. 

IDAHO

Election type: primary
Date: March 8
Number of delegates: 32 [23 at-large, 6 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: proportional
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 20% (statewide)
2012: proportional caucus

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Changes since 2012
The date is much the same -- it amounts to the same first Tuesday after the first Monday in March date -- but the mode of delegate allocation is different in Idaho in 2016 than was the case in 2012. Republicans in the Gem state traded in their early caucus for an earlier presidential primary (moved from the traditional mid-May point where it was consolidated with the primaries for other offices).

Idaho Republicans also switched out some funky caucus allocation rules for a set of rules that is more in the mainstream of how other states are allocating delegates in 2016. Gone is the more or less instant runoff method that netted Mitt Romney a winner-take-all allocation. That has been replaced by a proportional allocation based on the statewide results of the March 8 presidential primary in Idaho. As has been witnessed in other states, though, what constitutes proportionality varies quite widely.


Thresholds
Much of that variation in the application of proportionality is attributable to a couple of factors. First, is the delegation pooled or separated for the purposes of allocation? The former typically means that a state will end up closer to a true proportional allocation of delegates than not. The latter opens the door to the bulk of the wild delegate allocation plans out there. Secondly, however, is there a threshold that the candidates must meet to qualify for delegates? With a threshold comes limitations in terms of how many candidates end up with delegates.

But that fact is tempered by the distinction raised in the first question. States that have separated allocation -- distinctions made between the allocation of at-large and congressional district delegates -- and a threshold have been the most complex. Many of the SEC primary states fit this description. Idaho fits somewhere in between states with that type of allocation and those with a proportional allocation of pooled delegates without a threshold.

It is that kind of allocation that ends up being perhaps the least complex. For example, then, Idaho Republicans will pool all of their delegates rather than invite complexity through a separate allocation of at-large delegates and the six delegates in just two congressional districts. The rationale is similar to the that of other small states. Power comes through allocating a small bloc (or blocs) of delegates rather than a much more decentralized proportional allocation.

Gem state Republicans will accomplish this through pooling their delegates but also by layering in a couple of thresholds. First, to qualify for any of the 32 delegates, a candidate must win at least 20% of the vote (before rounding) in the Idaho presidential primary. That will have the effect of limiting the number of candidates who receive delegates to likely four or fewer. If no candidate clears the 20% threshold, then the allocation would be carried out as if there was no threshold at all.

Not expressly prohibited by the rules is a backdoor to a winner-take-all allocation. While the "if no candidates clear the threshold" contingency is described, the "if only one candidate clears that qualifying threshold" is not. What that means is that there is a backdoor winner-take-all option on the table in Idaho. And since the delegates -- all 32 of them including the automatic delegates -- are pooled Idaho is the one state before March 15 where just one candidate surpassing the qualifying threshold could net that candidate all of the delegates from that state. The others to this point on the calendar that have allowed for a backdoor winner-take-all option, but the allocation was split into statewide/at-large and congressional district delegates. That makes Idaho a potentially powerful, pre-March 15 piece in the allocation puzzle. Things would have to fall right -- a crowded field with little winnowing or separation between the candidates, for example -- but a potential +32 coming out of Idaho could be more valuable to a campaign than a split of, say, the 155 delegates in Texas.

Finally, Idaho also has a true winner-take-all trigger as well. Should one candidate win a majority of the vote statewide, that candidate would also be entitled to all of the delegates from the state. This may or may not be likely in a less crowded field. The last two winners in Idaho received more than 50% of the vote.1


Delegate allocation (at-large, congressional district and automatic delegates)
The Idaho Republican delegates will be proportionally allocated to candidates based on the outcome of the March 8 primary in the Gem state. Based on the last poll conducted on the race in Idaho (the late August 2015 Dan Jones and Associates survey2), the allocation would look something like this3:
  • Trump (28%) -- 32 delegates 
  • Carson (15%) -- 0 delegates
  • Bush (7%) -- 0 delegates
  • Cruz (7%) -- 0 delegates
  • Rubio (6%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Paul (5%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Christie (4%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Fiorina (3%) -- 0 delegates
  • Kasich (2%) -- 0 delegates
This captures the perfect storm sort of scenario for a backdoor winner-take-all allocation of the Idaho delegation. Trump would barely get half of the total necessary to win a true winner-take-all victory, but because he is the only candidate over 20% (in this simulated allocation), he would win all of the delegates from the state; a backdoor to a winner-take-all allocation.

Were the backdoor winner-take-all allocation trigger not tripped, and multiple candidates crossed the 20% barrier -- or none did -- the Idaho Republican Party rules are not clear on how the rounding would be handled. The only reference to rounding is that a candidate must have 20% of the vote to qualify. 19.9%, for instance, would not round up to 20% and qualify any such candidate for delegates. The only rounding guidance provided is that the delegates will be allocated "proportionally among candidates who clear the twenty percent (20%) threshold".

It is not clear, then, if the rounding is always up to the next whole number or simply to the nearest whole number. Additionally, there is no outline for a sequence to the rounding procedure or a contingency for unallocated or over-allocated delegates. That contingency coming into play is a function of how many candidates clear the threshold. Anything more than two candidates raises the likelihood that there will be an un- or over-allocated delegate.

If the threshold is lowered to 15% to include Ben Carson in the allocation, then Trump would round up to 21 delegates and Carson would round down to 11. If the threshold is lowered to 7% to pull in Bush and Cruz, then Trump would round up to 16 delegates, Carson down to 8 and Bush and Cruz would both round up to 4 delegates. It works out in both extension of this method of rounding, but that is not a guarantee that it would in practice once the primary results roll in. Rounding in Idaho retains some operational question marks.


Binding
Though the party rules use pledged rather than bound, the intent is the same with regard to how the Idaho delegates act at the national convention. Delegates are bound to the candidate who "proposed them on their list" or were pledged to by the Idaho Republican Party Nominating Committee on the first ballot of the roll call voting at the national convention. Like Hawaii, the candidates have some say in who their Idaho delegates will be. Candidates submit a list delegate candidates  -- a slate essentially -- equal to 80% of the total delegation (26 delegates). Should a candidate win all of the delegates and/or fail to submit a list (or the requisite fee), then the Nominating Committee would select and pledge delegates to that candidate. In the event of a winner-take-all scenario, that would mean the remaining 20% of delegate slots not covered by the 80% slate. In the case of a candidate not filing a slate, that would mean how ever many delegates allocated to that candidate. In a straight proportional allocation of the delegates, the 80% slate is likely to contain enough delegates to cover the candidate. Again, that is 26 of the 32 delegates.

It is a little quirky, but it does highlight that the candidates would mostly retain some power over who their delegates are. That has implications for the national convention should it go beyond just one vote. Most of those delegates would be more loyal to the candidate than delegates selected and bound to a particular candidate but who prefer another.


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State allocation rules are archived here.


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1 Granted, McCain had already wrapped up the nomination by the time Idaho voted in May 2008 and Romney benefitted from the aforementioned, quirky caucus allocation rules in 2012.

2 Though the 17% of respondents who fell into the "Don't Know"/undecided category in the Dan Jones poll would also not have qualified for delegates, distributing that fraction to other candidates in a primary could have pushed others over the 20% qualifying threshold.

3 This polling data is being used as an example of how delegates could be allocated under these rules in Idaho and not as a forecast of the outcome in the Gem state primary.



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Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: HAWAII

This is part twenty-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. 

HAWAII

Election type: caucus
Date: March 8
Number of delegates: 19 [10 at-large, 6 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: proportional (statewide and in congressional districts)
Threshold to qualify for delegates: No official threshold
2012: proportional caucus

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Changes since 2012
The Hawaii Republican Party rules for delegate allocation have not changed in any meaningful way as compared to the method the party operated under in 2012. The date -- the second Tuesday in March -- is the same and though Hawaii Republicans lost one at-large delegate from 2012, it is a change of just one delegate. But the small number of delegates at stake in the March 8 Hawaii Republican caucuses will be proportionally allocated based on the caucus results at both the state and congressional district level. Rather than pooling the 16 at-large and congressional district delegates, Hawaii Republicans will allocate both types separately. At-large delegates will be proportionally allocated based on the statewide results while the congressional district delegates will be awarded based on the outcome of the caucuses in each of the islands' two congressional districts.


Thresholds
There is no threshold in the Hawaii process at either the state or congressional district level to qualify for delegates. However, the rounding method used by Republicans in the Aloha state both advantages the winner/top finishers and limits the number of candidates who will likely end up being allocated any delegates (see below for an illustration of this).


Delegate allocation (at-large delegates)
The Hawaii delegates will be proportionally allocated to candidates based on the outcome of the March 8 caucuses in the Aloha state. There has been no polling in the Hawaii race, but rather than make up numbers, FHQ will base the simulated allocation below on the data from ISideWith.com.1 Based on that data, the allocation of the 10 at-large delegates would look something like this2:
  • Trump (44%) -- 4.4 delegates [5 delegates]
  • Rubio (15%) -- 1.5 delegates [2 delegates]
  • Cruz (14%) -- 1.4 delegates [2 delegates]
  • Carson (10%) -- 1.0 delegate [1 delegate]
  • Paul (5%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Bush (5%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Christie (4%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Fiorina (3%) -- 0 delegates
  • Kasich (2%) -- 0 delegates
This is where the rounding method is important. Fractional delegates always round up to the nearest whole number, but that means there is a threshold under which no one receives delegates and the last one over that barrier receives any leftover, unallocated delegates. That is because the rounding has a sequence, starting with the top votegetter and working downward through the list in the order of finish.

Trump and Cruz, then, round up to the next whole number despite having remainders less than .5. That leaves just one delegate left for Ben Carson by the time the sequence gets to him. Now, the retired neurosurgeon would have been allocated one delegate anyway based on pulling in 10% of the statewide vote. That is not the proper way of thinking about the Hawaii allocation though because of the sequential rounding. Once the sequence gets to Carson, there is just one delegate left. It would be his.

Such a sequential method when coupled with always rounding up means that while there is no official threshold in Hawaii, an unofficial one will force itself into the allocation of the at-large delegates. Some candidate will be the last to be allocated delegates in the sequence and those behind that candidate will be left out of the allocation process. In this example then, that threshold is at 10%, but again, not officially.

Four years ago, all 11 at-large delegates were allocated to the top three candidates and Newt Gingrich, despite winning more than 10% of the vote had nothing to show for it. The unofficial threshold to win any delegates, then, was higher in 2012 -- around the 19% that Ron Paul received.

The main point here is not so much this threshold idea, but rather to point out that though there is no official threshold, there are limitations to who and how many candidates receive any delegates. And it should be noted that part of that is a function too of there being so few delegates in the first place.


Delegate allocation (congressional district delegates)
The same type of principle used in the allocation of the at-large delegates impacts the congressional district delegate allocation as well. There is no threshold, but as FHQ has said numerous times, there are only so many ways to proportionally allocate the three delegates the RNC apportions to each of a state's congressional districts.

The key to the allocation of the Hawaii congressional district delegates is in the rounding. Just as above, fractional delegates will be rounded up to the nearest whole number. If a candidate receives more than one-third of the vote in a congressional district, then that candidate will round up to two delegates in that district. The remaining delegate would be left to the candidate in second place in that district. If no candidate clears that 33.3% threshold in a congressional district, however, then the top three candidates would all be allocated one delegate.

This is a firmer threshold than the one discussed in the at-large example above. It is akin to some of the winner-take-all thresholds that exist in other states, but this one is specific to the allocation of two versus one delegate to the congressional district winner. To receive all three delegates -- to round up to all of them in a congressional district -- a winner would have to clear the roughly 67% barrier. That seems unlikely even with a winnowed field.


Delegate allocation (automatic delegates)
The automatic delegates -- the state party chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman -- from Hawaii are clearly unbound in the party rules. That has been the case in the past, but FHQ was informed in recent conversations with the Republican National Committee that Rule 16(a)(1) binds all delegates from a delegation. The only exception is for delegates elected directly (on the ballot). That does not include party/automatic delegates. How those delegates are allocated/bound when the state rules are not clear on their allocation is a bit of an unknown and something of a wildcard.


Binding
Hawaii Republican delegates are bound by party rule Section 216 to candidates on the first roll call ballot at the national convention. However, those same party rules allow the candidates/campaigns some discretion in the delegate selection process. Delegates, then, may not be bound after the first ballot, but would likely remain loyal to their candidate in any subsequent vote. They would be pledged but not bound unless or until their candidate pulls his or her name from consideration.


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State allocation rules are archived here.


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1 I have no idea about the methodology at ISideWith. Again, this is just an exercise in how the allocation might look, but probably will not. Using their numbers is perhaps marginally better than me creating results. And yes, they sum to 102.

2 This data is being used as an example of how delegates could be allocated under these rules in Hawaii and not as a forecast of the outcome in the Aloha state caucuses.



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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: LOUISIANA

This is part twenty 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. 

LOUISIANA

Election type: primary
Date: March 5
Number of delegates: 46 [25 at-large, 18 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: proportional
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 20%1
2012: primary/caucus

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Changes since 2012
Digging down, there are a number of changes to the Louisiana Republican Party delegate allocation rules for 2016. First, the state legislature in the Pelican state moved the presidential primary up a couple of weeks to early March back in 2014. That shift preceded the regional push to form the SEC primary. Still, the Louisiana presidential primary will fall just a few days later, the weekend after a number of southern states hold contests on March 1.

Secondly, delegates will be more clearly allocated through the presidential primary election. Four years ago, the at-large delegates were allocated based on the statewide vote in the primary while the congressional district delegates remained officially unbound (after having been selected in district caucuses). Unlike four years ago, then, Louisiana Republicans have linked the allocation of delegates -- both at-large and congressional district -- to the results of the presidential primary. There are still district caucuses, but the voting there will in part select the delegates ultimately allocated and bound to candidates based on the primary results.


Thresholds
Another change is in the qualifying threshold. In 2012, a candidate had to receive 25% of the statewide vote to qualify for any of the at-large delegates at stake in Louisiana. For 2016, just 20% is necessary. That is the maximum qualifying threshold allowed by the RNC. [Truth be told, that was true in 2012 as well. Louisiana exceeded it.]

As has been witnessed in other states, that 20% barrier has a limiting effect on who and how many candidates actually qualify for delegates. In a crowded field, fewer candidates would likely cross the line. As the field winnows, however, that number increases, but only to a point. Only as many as five candidates could qualify and that is only in the event that all five tie at the top with exactly 20%. In other words, somewhere between one and four candidates are likely to be allocated any of the at-large delegates.

There is no similar threshold conditioning the allocation of congressional district delegates. Unless one candidate runs away from the rest in a congressional district, then functionally, the top three finishers in a district vote will be allocated one delegate each.

Additionally, Louisiana Republicans have not put a winner-take-all threshold in place. Even if a candidate were to win a majority of the vote either statewide or on the congressional district level, it would not trigger an allocation of all of the (unit-specific) delegates to that candidate. It is always proportional (by RNC rules) with some caveats.


Delegate allocation (at-large delegates)
The Louisiana delegates will be proportionally allocated to candidates based on the outcome of the March 5 primary in the Pelican state. Based on the last poll conducted on the race in Louisiana (the late September 2015 WWL-TV/Clarus survey), the allocation would look something like this2:
  • Carson (23%) -- 25 delegates
  • Trump (19%) -- 0 delegates
  • Bush (10%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Rubio (9%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Fiorina (7%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Cruz (6%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Huckabee (4%) -- 0 delegates 
  • Jindal (3%) -- 0 delegates
  • Kasich (3%) -- 0 delegates
  • Christie (2%) -- 0 delegates
The above allocation seems quite cut and dry: Ben Carson, using the latest poll numbers in Louisiana, would be the only candidate to qualify for at-large delegates. The retired neurosurgeon would be the only candidate north of the 20% threshold that Louisiana Republicans have in place to guide the delegate allocation there.

Appearance, however, might not match reality here because there is a lot left unsaid in the Louisiana delegate allocation rules. Yes, a candidate must receive at least 20% of the statewide vote to qualify for any of the 25 at-large delegates. Yet, the above simulated allocation -- a backdoor winner-take-all scenario statewide -- may not be how the allocation works in practice.

There is no contingency specified in the event that only one candidate surpasses the threshold.3 And that, in turn, leaves much to interpretation. The way FHQ has treated other states in similar situations is that if only one candidate clears the threshold, then that candidate claims all of those delegates -- either at-large and/or congressional district -- unless explicitly prohibited by the state party rules.

Well, there is no such prohibition in Louisiana. In fact, the language of the rule is pretty important here (Rule 4c).
...each Republican candidate for President who has qualified for the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary Election may submit a list of 46 potential at-large delegates and alternate delegates. Presidential candidates receiving more than 20% of the statewide vote on Primary Election Day will be allocated the same proportion, rounded by the Executive Committee, of all 23 at-large delegates and alternate delegates...
That actually indirectly prohibits a backdoor winner-take-all allocation to Ben Carson in the simulation above. Carson would only be allocated his raw percentage of the at-large delegates. In other words, rather than receiving all 25 of the at-large delegates (for being the only qualifying candidate), Carson would only net 23% of those 25 delegates. That is just 5.75 delegates, a far cry from the 25 above.

The catch is that the Louisiana Republican Party Executive Committee has the ambiguous discretion of rounding the delegate totals. That and the above fact about raw percentages matter whether there is just one candidate above the 20% qualifying threshold or multiple candidates (as is likely the case with a March 5 contest). Without adjusting the denominator in the allocation equation from the total votes cast to just the votes of the qualifying candidates, the Louisiana Republican Party has quietly and within the RNC rules, mind you, created a likely group of unbound delegates.

In the above example, Carson would get 5 or 6 at-large delegates depending on how the Executive Committee rounds that 5.75. Again, the committee has the latitude to set that allocation. But it is based on the "same proportion" of the vote that Carson received statewide. That leaves 19 or 20 unallocated delegates. Those would theoretically be delegates selected and sent to the national convention unbound (but not necessarily unpledged).

Now, that leaves a couple of items to note. First, this is quite reminiscent of the 2012 Louisiana delegate allocation rules with regard to at-large delegates. The congressional district delegates were unbound in Louisiana four years ago. But second, there likely will not be such a large number of unallocated delegates. Again, by March 5 there is likely to have been some winnowing of the field. With that shrinking of the field, the chances of a smaller group of candidates qualifying for delegates -- more than one but fewer than five -- increases.

But even if that threshold is relaxed to 10% -- so that both Trump and Bush qualify for delegates -- the three of them only add to 52% of the vote. That means that, depending on the rounding by the LAGOP Executive Committee, approximately 48% of the at-large delegates (12 delegates of 25) would be unallocated to candidates and thus unbound for the national convention.

Is that hugely consequential? In the grand scheme of things -- the race to 1237 -- probably not. However, this is yet another little wildcard to file away for when the process gets to Louisiana. But the bottom line is that this was a move by the Louisiana Republican Party to comply with the RNC rules, but retain something similar to the way the party had allocated delegates in the past.


Delegate allocation (congressional district delegates)
Where the state party lost some discretion on that score is in the allocation of congressional district delegates. Four years ago, those delegates were elected in congressional district caucuses and were left unbound heading into the national convention in Tampa. For 2016, those delegates will selected at the state convention based on the results of the March 5 primary in each of the six congressional districts in the Pelican state.

The same 20% threshold to qualify for at-large delegates does not apply to the allocation of congressional district delegates. Instead, there is no qualifying threshold. Again, as has been mentioned elsewhere, there are only so many ways to proportionally allocate three congressional district delegates. Even with no threshold, then, this type of allocation tends to function as if it was a top three system: the top three candidates all are allocated one delegate. The exception is if one candidate wins a majority of the vote within a congressional district. In that case, such a candidate would round up and qualify for two delegates.4 Whether a candidate reaches that majority threshold, though, greatly depends on the extent to which the field has winnowed ahead of the Louisiana primary.


Delegate allocation (automatic delegates)
The automatic delegates -- the state party chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman -- from Louisiana are explicitly unbound according to Rule 4(e) of the party delegate allocation rules. That has been the case in the past, but FHQ was informed in recent conversations with the Republican National Committee that Rule 16(a)(1) binds all delegates from a delegation. The only exception is for delegates elected directly (on the ballot). That does not include party/automatic delegates. How those delegates are allocated/bound when the state rules are not clear on their allocation is a bit of an unknown and something of a wildcard. This is consistent with the rules regarding these delegates in Virginia and adds a bit more to the potential unallocated/unbound pool in Louisiana.


Binding
At-large and congressional district delegates who are bound to candidates will be bound to them only on the first ballot of the roll call nomination vote in Cleveland (see Rule 4f). Furthermore, delegates of candidates who have suspended their campaign are no longer bound to those candidates on that initial roll call vote.


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State allocation rules are archived here.


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1 The 20% threshold is used by the Louisiana Republican Party to determine which candidates qualify for the statewide, at-large delegates. Though the party rules state that there are just 23 at-large delegates, citing Rule 14, there are 25 at-large delegates apportioned to the state by virtue of the RNC rules. The congressional district delegates are allocated to candidates based on the vote within those districts but with no threshold.

2 This poll is being used as an example of how delegates could be allocated under these new rules in Louisiana and not as a forecast of the outcome in the Pelican state primary.

3 More alarming, perhaps, is that there is no provision spelling out the allocation process if no candidate clears 20%.

4 That is something of a leap in reasoning considering that the rounding rules are unspecified. If the rounding is always up, regardless of the fraction, then a candidate could round up to two delegates with just a little less than 34% of the vote in a congressional district. All that is known for sure is that the Executive Committee does not explicitly have the same latitude in the rounding of congressional district delegates as it does in at-large delegates.



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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bill Has Nebraska Mulling an Earlier Presidential Primary

...for 2020.

Earlier this week, Nebraska state Senator John Murante (49th, Gretna) introduced legislation -- LB 871 -- that would create a new presidential primary election in the Cornhusker state, separating it from the mid-May, consolidated primary.1

This is not all that unusual. Yes, it is a bit more forward looking than is typically the case. Bills shifting the dates of presidential primaries pop up every year, but they most heavily populate the introduced bills lists in the year before a presidential election. Still, there are always a handful of bills that appear as the primaries themselves are ongoing; during a presidential election year. But over the course of the last three cycles -- 2004, 2008 and 2012 -- nothing has passed.2 In most cases, actors on the state level take a wait and see approach; waiting to see how the current cycle goes before making a decision on a future one.

What is more interesting, though equally forward thinking, is how legislators across the country will react to 2016 in 2017 but especially in 2019. The SEC primary may or may not have proven successful in 2016. If it is, other states and regions may scramble to the front without the southern states moving back, creating a more robust Super Tuesday that resembles a national primary (see 2008). But the SEC primary may fall flat and organically cause actors in some of those states (and others outside the region) to reconsider their positioning or consider what spot on the calendar maximizes their voters' voices in the process.

...something the Nebraska bill's sponsor mentioned as a reason for proposing the change.

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1 The move is expected to cost the state $1.5 million if the bill is passed and signed into law.

2 Unless you count Idaho eliminating the presidential primary portion of their May consolidated primary because both parties were caucusing instead.


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Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: KENTUCKY

This is part nineteen 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. 

KENTUCKY

Election type: caucus
Date: March 5
Number of delegates: 46 [25 at-large, 18 congressional district, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: proportional
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 5%
2012: proportional primary

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Changes since 2012
The big-ticket allocation rules changes for Kentucky Republicans in 2016 are that the party abandoned its typical mid- to late May primary for early March caucuses. If that was not enough, the party also chose to continue allocating its national convention delegates in a proportionate fashion  but dropped its threshold for qualifying for delegates from 15% of the statewide vote to 5%.

The changes mean that the process in the Bluegrass state will function differently in 2016 than it has in the past. A later primary, despite being proportional, often ended up featuring a winner-take-all allocation because a presumptive Republican nominee had emerged and no other candidate received more than 15% of the statewide vote (in order to qualify for delegates). But by moving their delegate selection event up to a spot on the calendar -- on the heels of the SEC primary four days prior -- Kentucky Republicans have shifted into a much more competitive portion of the process. And by dropping the threshold to just 5%, the party has constructed a set of rules likely to allocate delegates to more than one candidate.


Thresholds
Mathematically, all eleven candidates who qualified for the caucus ballot in Kentucky could win delegates with or without the 5% threshold. Realistically though, over a month into the primary calendar, the field is likely to have winnowed, separating viable candidates -- and perhaps favorite son, Rand Paul -- from the rest. But while that may limit the number of candidates who ultimately qualify for delegates, that number will almost certainly be more than one as the Kentucky primary allocation has often been toward the end of the primary calendar. And that number of candidates is much more likely to be higher with a 5% threshold than the 15% threshold utilized by the Republican Party of Kentucky in the past or the maximum 20% threshold used by some states before Kentucky on the calendar.


Delegate allocation (at-large and congressional district delegates)
The Kentucky delegates will be proportionally allocated to candidates based on the outcome of the March 5 caucuses across the Bluegrass state. Based on the last poll conducted on the race in Kentucky (the mid-June 2015 Public Policy Polling survey), the allocation would look something like this1:
  • Paul (19%) -- 9.732 delegates (10 delegates)
  • Bush (13%) -- 6.659 delegates (7 delegates)
  • Trump (12%) -- 6.146 delegates (6 delegates)
  • Walker (11%) -- 5.634 delegates (6 delegates)
  • Rubio (10%) -- 5.122 delegates (5 delegates)
  • Huckabee (10%) -- 5.122 delegates (5 delegates)
  • Carson (7%) -- 3.586 delegates (4 delegates)
  • Cruz (4%) -- 0 delegates
  • Fiorina (4%) -- 0 delegates
The allocation above uses the total number of votes cast for qualifying candidates -- those above 5% of the caucus vote -- as its denominator. That allocates the 42 at-large and congressional district delegates to seven candidates. Actually, it over-allocates those delegates. After that rounding 43 delegate have been awarded to the qualifying candidates. In the event of such a situation, the superfluous delegate is taken away from the candidate who is furthest from the (.5) rounding threshold. In this simulation that would be either Rubio or Huckabee at .122.2

In the case of an unallocated delegate, the candidate closest to the rounding threshold would receive that left over last delegate. One would assume that means closest to but not over the rounding threshold, but that is not made clear in the current Republican Party of Kentucky (RPK) rules. If both conditions are necessary -- closest to and under the rounding threshold -- then Trump would claim that last delegate given the data above (and if there was an unallocated delegate).

This rounding scheme most closely resembles the one used by Virginia Republicans. Unlike others -- see Kansas for instance -- the rounding method is not one that favors the winner or the top votegetters.


Delegate allocation (automatic delegates)
It is not entirely clear that the RNC delegates from Kentucky are (or are not) a part of the pool of at-large and congressional district delegates discussed above. The relevant portion of the RPK delegate rules only specifies the allocation of "authorized delegates", language borrowed from the Kentucky revised statutes. Neither the party rules nor the statutes are forthcoming on what constitutes an authorized delegate.

One could argue that refers to the entire pool of delegates, the number of which is determined and authorized by the national party. However, one could also hypothesize it is meant to exclude party delegates by looking at the chronology of the relevant statutes. The thinking here is that if "authorized delegates" appears around the time that superdelegates were added to the formula on the Democratic side, then it may have been intended to draw a distinction at the state level between the two groups of delegates. It was for the 1984 cycle that the DNC added to the total number of superdelegates, but not until 1986 and 1990 that the two sections concerning "authorized delegates" were added the Kentucky revised statutes. Perhaps those sections were added retroactively, but probably not.

The key here may be to look back the the Republican Party of Kentucky rules four years ago. In 2012, when the three automatic delegates were unbound, there is nothing substantially different in the language of the RPK rules when compared to the 2016 version. The rules deferred to the statutes on the matter of allocation then. And again, the statutes do not make a clear distinction between bound and unbound delegates.

As that 2012 primary allocation language seemingly carries over to the rules regarding the caucuses in 2016, it would appear as if the state party chair, the national committeeman and national committeewoman would all not be covered by the binding rules. In that case, the usual caveat FHQ has used applies:
The automatic delegates -- the state party chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman -- from Kentucky are not clearly bound in the state party bylaws. That tends to indicate that those delegates would be unbound. That has been the case in the past, but FHQ was informed in recent conversations with the Republican National Committee that Rule 16(a)(1) binds all delegates from a delegation. The only exception is for delegates elected directly (on the ballot). That does not include party/automatic delegates. How those delegates are allocated/bound when the state rules are not clear on their allocation is a bit of an unknown and something of a wildcard.

Binding
Kentucky delegates to the Republican National Convention will be bound to their respective candidates based on the March 5 caucus results through the first roll call vote on the presidential nomination.

Those delegates bound by the caucus results to candidates who subsequently withdraw from the race initially become uncommitted (unbound). However, at the call of the delegation chairman at the national convention, the delegates (both bound and "released"/uncommitted) will convene a meeting, hold a secret ballot vote and bind those "released"/uncommitted delegates to a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Basically, this is a vote among the Kentucky delegates to reallocate those uncommitted delegates. The reallocation of that N number of uncommitted delegates is done in proportion to the secret ballot vote.

It should be noted that delegates can vote for any candidate in this intra-delegation vote and not necessarily the candidate to whom they are bound for the presidential nomination roll call vote. If, for example, Rand Paul drops out of the presidential race, then those 10 delegates would first become uncommitted and then reallocated and bound by the Kentucky delegation. Those delegates would be allocated to some number of the six remaining candidates if all of them were still in the race. In the event that just one candidate remains, the delegation would likely vote to deliver all of the delegate votes to the remaining candidate. If all six were involved still, then Bush-bound delegates, for instance, would not have to cast their votes in the secret ballot vote for Bush. They could vote for any remaining candidate.

And it should be noted that the newly uncommitted delegates (in that state because of a candidate withdrawal) take part in that vote. That makes that bloc important; particularly if it votes as a bloc. In other words, they have some say in the candidate to whom some of them would end up bound.


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State allocation rules are archived here.


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1 This poll is being used as an example of how delegates could be allocated under these new rules in Kentucky and not as a forecast of the outcome in the Bluegrass state caucuses.

2 There is no contingency plan in place that is readily apparent in the RPK rules for breaking any ties like the one between Rubio and Huckabee here.


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