Currently viewing the tag: "Presidential Primary 2008"

Saturday Feb. 9, 2008 at 1 P.M. is caucus day in Washington state. Hillary Clinton is coming to Washington State tomorrow, Thursday Feb 7, 2008. Barack and Michele Obama are coming Friday Feb. 8, 2008 . And Bill Clinton is going to Maine which has a caucus on Sunday.

Neil Modie at the Seattle PI has a good roundup of the frantic scheduling that is going on now that the Presidential race is focusing on Washington State which has the largest block of delegates of the states that vote or caucus on Saturday.

Washington State has 97 Democratic delegates to be selected. Nebraska with 31 Democratic delegates also caucuses on Saturday. Louisiana with 67 Democratic delegates and the Virgin Islands with 9 Democratic delegates will have presidential primaries.

Hillary Clinton will have a free event open to the public at Pier 60 on the Seattle Waterfront starting at 8 P.M. to 10 P.M. The address is 2431 E Marginal Way S.

Modie’s article says her tentative plans include being in Tacoma on Friday morning and also Spokane.

Barack Obama has scheduled a free rally for Friday at 11:00 AM at Seattle’s Key Arena.

His wife, Michelle Obama, will be speaking at a free event in Spokane at 4 P.M. at the FOX Theater, 1001 Sprague St. Doors open at 3 P.M.

Republicans will select half of their delegates on Saturday at caucuses and half based on the results of the Presidential Primary scheduled for Tuesday Feb. 19, 2008. The Democrats will use the precinct caucuses on Saturday to select delegates and ignore the Primary results.

To find where your caucus meets on Saturday go to:

Democratic caucus: http://www.wa-democrats.org/; (206) 583-4345.
Republican caucus: http://www.wsrp.org/; (206) 575-2900.

The big loser in the Florida Primary Vote is Rudy Giuliani who is coming in a tepid third place in the Republican Primary. McCain is receiving 36% of the vote to Romney at 31% to Giuliani at 15% and Huckabee at 13%. Florida is a winner take all state for the Republicans and McCain is picking up 57 delegates. This is with 94% of the vote counted.

Because Florida moved it’s Primary early against the Democratic Party rules no delegates are being awarded now although that could change at the convention. Meanwhile, despite the Democratic candidates pledge to not campaign in Florida, their names were still on the ballot and Hillary Clinton is decisively beating Obama and Edwards. She has 49.5% of the votes to Obama’s 32.9% to Edwards 14.4%.

So what does Clinton’s win in Florida mean?

Now the Democratic politically correct thing to say is that Clinton’s win doesn’t count but Obama assumes that at his peril. The media likewise discounts it. While the delegates aren’t there now, Clinton still won the vote and I believe the win is as significant as Obama’s win in South Carolina.

Voters turned out and made a choice. With national media attention and coverage of the campaigns these days, voters were well aware of who they were voting for, whether the candidates physically campaigned in the state or not.

The same goes for the Michigan Primary. Clinton’s name was on the ballot there, while Obama and Edwards were not. The national party withdrew the delegates from Michigan because they went early like Florida did. But voters had a choice and they voted. If they choose Obama or Edwards instead of Clinton, they had to vote uncommitted. Clinton won 55.3% of the Michigan Democratic vote while uncommitted received 40%.

So by my calculation, Clinton has won the vote in four states – New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and Florida. Obama has won the vote in Iowa and South Carolina. Collectively Clinton has garnered more votes than Obama in total. A rough estimate is that Clinton has received about 1.54 million votes total to Obama’s 1.25 million votes. This is a ballpark figure only – an estimate based on a couple of extrapolations from delegate counts in Iowa and Nevada and giving Obama 2/3 of the uncommitted vote in Michigan.

All this is to say that its a close race and if votes split similarly on February 5th, and delegates likewise, we’re in for the long haul. Both candidates are running hard and no one has scored a knockout punch yet in the Democrat’s race. February 5th could change all that since Super Tuesday has over 20 states voting and over 40% of the total delegates at stake for both parties.

(Revised Headline and text – original story confused delegate count and vote totals..)

Nevada has some 397,247 registered Democrats according to the Nevada Secretary of State. The Nevada Democratic Party now reports that some 115,800 Democrats participated in the caucuses.

This represents a turnout of 29% of registered Nevada Democrats. The Iowa caucuses saw a turnout of 39.5% of its registered Democrats.

My initial reporting of the Nevada Democratic turnout was way off. The problem was that the news reports had the numbers listed for Republican turnout as the actual vote counts for each candidate. The Democrats unfortunately do not release the actual vote totals for each candidate as the Republicans do yet the results were listed side by side.

As the Washington Post notes:

The Nevada Democratic Party is not reporting votes for its Jan. 19 caucuses. Instead, the party will only release the number of county delegates won by each presidential candidate (or “Uncommitted”). This is the data being collected by the Associated Press and displayed on washingtonpost.com. There will be at least 10,446 delegates to the county conventions in the state’s 17 counties. (More information here.)
On the Republican side, the party caucuses are essentially a straw poll. Thus, the votes reported by the party and collected by AP are actual votes. (More information here.)

The Democrats reporting actually amounts to secrecy and distortion; in only releasing delegates elected for each candidates the actual votes are hidden from the general public. They did the same thing in the Iowa caucus.

At latest count, according to the NY Times , Hillary Clinton received 5,355 county delegates for 50.7% of the Democratic delegates.

Barack Obama received 4,773 delegates for 45.12% of the county Democratic delegates elected.

John Edwards only received 396 county delegates for 3.8% of the Democratic delegate vote cast.

Confusion has emerged regarding how many national delegates are actually assigned to Clinton and Obama, with Obama claiming he won 13 to Clinton’s 12., despite Clinton winning more county delegates. And because the Nevada Democrats have not released the actual vote number by all the caucus attendees we can only guess at this based on the proportion of county delegates each candidate won.

I was not the only one confused trying to interpret the numbers – it seems that in reality the number of national delegates Clinton and Obama will get are only estimates and no final number is possible until the next convention. As reported by First read at msn.nbc

The Nevada Democratic Party just issued this clarification (emphasis is ours): “No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.”

If its confusing to you consider this explanation from the New York Times:

On Jan. 19, party caucuses meet in each precinct to choose delegates to county conventions. The delegates selected are not bound to any candidate. At the county conventions on Feb. 23, delegates to the state convention are chosen. They are not bound to any candidate. The state convention is April 18-20, during which delegates choose 25 of the 33 delegates to the national convention. Sixteen of the 25 delegates are allocated proportionally to presidential candidates based on the support for the candidates in each of the state’s three Congressional districts. Nine delegates are allocated to candidates based on the support among all of the delegates attending the convention. The remaining eight unpledged delegates are chosen from party leaders.”

It is so much easier to determine the vote results from Presidential Primaries. There is just plain reporting of actual votes, not recalculations based on delegates chosen and final commitments made at some later date based on participation at a later caucus.

Presidential Primaries also have higher voter participation. The New Hampshire Presidential Primary on January 8, 2008 saw a total voter turnout rate of 62%. New Hampshire allowed independents to vote in either the Republican or Democratic Primary. The Group News Blog reported that New Hampshire has some 850,836 registered voters. 287,322 voters voted Democratic and 238,548 voted Republican. The Democrats received 55% of the vote and Republicans 45%.

Yes the headline is correct. And only 3.69% of Iowa’s registered voters turned out for John Edwards and only 3.66% for Hillary Clinton. The Iowa caucus system is a crazy system for picking a new President. As the New York Times notes today in an editorial entitled “Let it Start Now“; now is a good time to look forward and work for a better process next time.

The Iowa Secretary of State’s website listed some 1,922,235 active registered voters as of 1/3/2008. This number was the total based on figures for each Congressional District.

The Iowa Caucus results as released by the Iowa State Democratic Party are not actual vote totals or a tally of votes cast for specific candidates. According to the Washington Post Instead of reporting the actual number of caucus voters, the Iowa Democratic Party releases an estimated number of delegates to the state party convention that each candidate will receive based on their proportional support in the caucuses

Accordingly the Iowa State Democratic Party reported that Barrack Obama received 37.57% of the delegates, John Edwards 29.75% and Hillary Clinton 29.47%. These are the adjusted figures after delegates realigned their votes if their candidate did not meet a minimum 15% threshold figure to qualify for a delegate.

According to the Iowa State Democratic Party some 239,000 voters participated in the Democratic caucuses and some 115,000 voters participated in the Republican caucus.

So overall some 363,000 of Iowa’s 1,922,235 active registered voters participated in the caucuses. This is equal to 18.9% of all the registered voters.

Iowa does register people by party. From the Secretary of State figures there were 575,949 registered Republicans, 605,052 registered Democrats and 741,231 registered Independents.

The result is that some 39.5% of registered Democrats and 20% of registered Republicans participated in the caucuses. Overall participation was significantly higher than in previous caucuses.

Iowa does allow same day party registration so people could register at the caucuses on Jan 3rd. This law actually just went into effect on Jan 1, 2008. I do not know how many actually took advantage of this, but news reports attributed an active effort by some of the candidates to draw new voters into the caucuses process. Barrack Obama made a strong effort to appeal to independents to participate in the Democratic caucus and was successful.

Even so the results when viewed in the context of overall voter participation of 363,000 caucuses attendees out of 1,922,235 active registered voters gives a participation rate of only 18.9%.

And the initial figures I gave above showed that only about 4.67% of Iowa voters wound up supporting Barrack Obama. (239,000 x 37.58% / 1,922,235 = 89,818 voters for Obama/1,922,235 total voters = 4.67% of total voters supporting Obama in the Iowa caucuses.)

The same calculation for Edwards showed him receiving the support of about 3.69% of Iowa voters and Clinton receiving support from about 3.66% of Iowa voters.

Obama won Iowa by the rules in play and is to be congratulated as are Edwards and Clinton for their strong showing.

The point I want to make is that even so, the caucuses are a limiting process in selecting candidates. The numbers support this in that participation levels are much lower than with Presidential Primaries and there is no absentee ballot voting for those that can’t attend because they have to work or are disabled or are in the military or are out of state for work or vacation or school. Caucus rules for Iowa only allowed you to vote if you were physically present.

The race for President is far from over. Iowa’s process and voter makeup is far from ideal in gaging how a candidate will fare in the national November 2008 election. The way the selection process is this year, Feb 5th will be the biggest test facing the viability of the candidates remaining at that time. Over 20 states, including New York, California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Jersey will vote that day.

Between now and Feb 5, 2008, voters in New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina and Florida will vote. You can track the list of state, dates and results at the New York Times Election Guide page.

Iowa leads off the 2008 Presidential Sweepstakes with its caucus on Thursday January 3, 2008. Last night New Hampshire settled on having their primary on Tuesday January 8, 2008.

New Hampshire’s decision announced by their Secretary of State, came after the Michigan Supreme Court by a 4 to 1 vote on Wednesday gave the go ahead for Michigan Democrats and Republicans to hold their primary on January 15, 2008.

As the NY Times notes, “New Hampshire law dictates that it hold the first primary in the nation, which it has done since 1920, and the Jan. 8 date makes the 2008 primary the state’s earliest ever.
This year, the primary calendar has been nothing short of a mess, with states leapfrogging one another’s contests, and the national parties imposing penalties on states that scheduled their primaries before party rules allowed. Michigan, for instance, could lose half of its Republican delegates and all of its Democratic ones”.


You can click here to view the current 2008 Democratic Primary schedule.

You can click here to view the current 2008 Republican Primary schedule.

Washington State Democrats will hold their precinct caucuses on Saturday February 9, 2008 to start the process to select delegates to the Democratic National Convention to be held in Denver, Colorado on August 25 -28, 2008.

Washington State Democrats hold a series of conventions for the delegates selected at the precinct caucuses. These include:

Precinct Caucuses – Saturday February 9, 2008
Legislative District Conventions – Saturday April 5, 2008

County Conventions – Saturday April 19, 2008
Congressional District Conventions – Saturday May 17, 2008
Washington State Convention – June 14 & 15, 2008 – Spokane, Washington

Click on this link for a summary and rules of the Democratic delegate selection process.

Washington State will also hold a Presidential Primary on February 19, 2008. It will not be used by the Democrats to select delegates but it will allow a lot more people an opportunity to vote for who they would like to see nominated for President by the Democrats. The Republican Party will select half of their delegates based on the vote by people selecting a Republican ballot on February 19, 2008.

The Democratic National Committee voted today to not seat any Florida delegates to the Democratic National Convention unless they push back their Presidential Primary date by at least a week.

As we previously reported, Florida Democrats are in a tough spot. The Florida Legislature is heavily Republican. In the Senate Republicans have 26 seats to the Democrat’s 40 seats. In the House they have 78 seats to the Democrat’s 42 seats. The Governor is Republican.

The Republicans in Florida attached the change moving the Florida State Primary to Jan 29, 2008 as an amendment to a Voting Reform Act. The legislation required a voter verified paper trail for all voting machines. Some 15 of Florida’s counties still use touch screen voting machines that have no paper trail.

The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee today voted to give Florida Democrats 30 days to move its Primary Election date back at least a week. If it doesn’t, it could lose its 210 delegates to the Democratic National Convention held August 25 – 28, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Florida has the 4th largest number of delegates.

Florida Democrats can act to make the January 29th Primary non-binding and hold a later caucus to select delegates. It could hold a 2nd election or a mail in election but this is much more expensive at $7 to 8 million.

Florida has 4 million Democrats. The caucus system would draw far less people and would disenfranchise about 170,000 absentee voters, including soldiers stationed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The next move is up to the Florida Democratic Party. They have a state convention scheduled for September 26, 2007.

Washington State Democrats are holding a caucus on Saturday Feb. 9, 2008 to select delegates. There will also be a Presidential Primary Election on February 19, 2007. Republicans will select half their delegates from a caucus and half using the voter results from the Presidential Primary.

Washington State does not have Party registration. This has been a stumbling block for Democrats using the Presidential Primary results to select delegates. This is something that Democrats should work to change in the Legislature next year. Caucuses limit voter participation and prevent many people from helping to select Presidential nominees.

Florida Democrats are in a bind because of a law passed by a Republican controlled Legislature and a Republican Governor. The Florida Legislature passed and Republican Governor Charlie Grist signed a law moving Florida’s Presidential Election to January 31, 2008.

Florida Democrats want the Primary vote for candidates to count in their selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention. As US News and World reports, the problem is that:

“In 2006, the Democratic National Committee voted to allow a handful of states to join the traditional “first” states of Iowa and New Hampshire in holding caucuses or primaries during the first five weeks of 2008; Florida was not among them. The rules were designed to create order, preserve tradition, and add diversity. But Florida decided to get more attention in the presidential sweepstakes, and that is creating bizarre possibilities”

“…the state could lose huge blocs of delegates to both national nominating conventions next summer. Republicans have left wiggle room to review state-by-state primary plans, probably this fall. The Democrats have gone further as disciplinarians, stipulating that any candidate campaigning in a state that violates the rules will be ineligible to win any of the state’s delegates. Florida Democrats could have avoided the problem by treating the January vote as a so-called beauty contest, without the power to choose delegates, but they decided to go ahead with a full-fledged primary.”

“While the GOP ponders its options, the DNC’s rules and bylaws panel is scheduled to consider the Florida situation on August 25, and DNC Chairman Howard Dean says the party won’t back down. “These are automatic sanctions,” says a Democratic strategist close to Dean. “Without these rules, all of the states would start leapfrogging.”

The Democratic National Committee is meeting today to decide the fate of Florida’s delegates if the Primary is held on January 29 in violation of the previously agreed upon rules for delegate selection and primary dates.

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