Friday, March 14, 2008

What About Those Superdelegate Add-ons?

One of the interesting quirks about the Democratic superdelegates is that many of them do not even exist yet. This is because each state is allowed to name anywhere from 1 to 5 extra superdelegates as superdelegate add-ons. There are 76 of these add-on superdelegates, and according to the Democratic Convention Watch site, only three of these have been named.

Twenty-four states determine the add-on superdelegates at their state conventions: ND, AZ, SC, IL, OH, CO, KS, NV, AK, WY, ME, MS, KY, MN, TX, MT, ID, IA, VA, WA, NC, OR, PR, NE.

Now, if the add-ons are named at the state conventions, then presumably the Clinton and Obama campaigns could be mounting efforts to make sure that the individuals who are chosen to be superdelegates at these state conventions support them and not the other candidate. It is anyone's guess which candidate's supporters control the party conventions in most of the states, but where it does become a little more clear is in caucus states. In caucus states, the precinct caucuses are the first step in selecting individuals who will eventually make up the attendees to the state convention. Thus, if a candidate won a particular state's caucuses, then it is likely that the candidate's supporters will also control the convention. And if that is the case, then that candidate's supporters could be sure to select a superdelegate add-on that will support their favored candidate.

So, why is this important? Well, keep in mind that Obama has done very well in caucuses. He won Iowa (though not a majority), Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska, Maine, Wyoming, Texas, and Washington. In each of these states, the state convention selects who the add-on superdelegates will be. Texas has 3 add-ons, Washington has 2, and each of these remaining states has one apiece. Thus, assuming Obama's supporters control the state conventions in each of these states, he would pick up 15 superdelegates by virtue of his supporters choosing add-ons that they know will support him.

An additional five states allow the delegates elected at the district-level in the primaries to determine the superdelegate add-on: CA, NH, UT, VT and IN. Clinton won in CA and NH, which have a combined 6 add-on superdelegates. On the other hand, Obama won UT and VT which each have 1 superdelegate add-on. (Indiana has not yet voted).

Thus, based on this information, we can expect that Obama would pick up at least 17 superdelegate add-ons while Clinton would pick up 6. To my knowledge, these superdelegate add-ons are not presently included in the running totals provided by news outlets, so there is reason to think that Clinton's superdelegate advantage is at least 10 fewer than is commonly being reported.

Many of the remaining add-ons are chosen by state party executive committees, where it is more difficult to figure out which candidate is favored. It will be interesting to see how these executive committees select these superdelegate add-ons, since these decisions could have an important influence on the state of the delegate race.

1 comment:

August said...

Okay I found this in a yahoo search. I got a question. New Jersy wasnt mentioned but announced 2 Clinton endorsements thursday from add-ons...Thursday...outta the state of New Jersey. Can you explain that to me if NJ wasnt a caucus state?