# 05.20.08

## Some Delegate Math

Posted in news, politics at 11:49 pm by danvk

I came to a realization last weekend while watching Mike Huckabee, Harold Ford, Jr. and various pundits discuss VP candidates on Meet the Press. We’re going to be hearing this exact argument for the next three months. I’ll care then. After the Oregon and Kentucky primaries tonight, I’m going to stop paying attention to the presidential race. There’s just not going to be any news of note until this fall. Why worry?

But before checking out for a few months, I’ve got one last Presidential Primary post left in me.

The question for the last few weeks has been “why is Hillary still in this race?” She can’t win a majority of pledged delegates, overall delegates, states, or votes (unless you use very strange definitions of who “counts”). Could she have something up her sleeve with Michigan and Florida?

According to Daily Kos, here was the delegate count at the end of the night:

Pledged Super Total Needed
Obama 1,656.5 304.5 1,961 64
Clinton 1,501.5 277.5 1,779 246
Remaining 86 214 300

Obama passed 1,622 pledged delegates tonight and claimed a majority. But that excludes Florida and Michigan. Florida had 185 delegates and Michigan had 156. To get an absolute majority of pledged delegates including Florida and Michigan, he’d need 1,622 + (185 + 156)/2 = 1792.5 delegates. With only 86 pledged delegates left, there’s no way he can make Florida and Michigan irrelevant.

Or so goes the argument. But what did those excluded Florida and Michigan actually look like?

Florida Michigan
Obama 69 0
Clinton 105 73
Uncommitted 0 55

I don’t know precisely how the “Uncommitted” delegates work, but I imagine they’d be under enormous pressure to vote for Obama at the convention. Add those in and you get:

Pledged Fl.+Mi. Total Pledged Needed
Obama 1,656.5 124 1780.5 12
Clinton 1,501.5 178 1679.5 113
Remaining 86 0 86

So if you include the Florida and Michigan delegations, he hasn’t passed that magic mark, but he’s extremely close. And more interestingly, he’s the only one that can pass that mark. Hillary needs 113 pledged delegates for a majority, but there are only 86 left. This is because of the Edwards delegates.

If you don’t give Obama the 55 uncommitted delegates from Michigan though, he’s unlikely to pass the 50% mark, even by June 3. Could that be the trick? It seems a bit far-fetched. We’ll find out in three months when I start paying attention again!

1. Jack Hardcastle said,

May 22, 2008 at 7:16 am

According to CNN, Obama is 64 delegates away from the all important 2026 number. Let’s say he gets half (43) of the remaining 86 delegates. That puts him 21 delegates away from “winning.” There are 200+ superdelegates left undeclared. If Howard Dean and the rest of the party leadership can convince more superdelegates to declare, the race is over.

I’m excited. I think it’s all going to be over by June 6.

2. May 27, 2008 at 8:36 pm

[...] we spoke, I swore to not pay attention to the news for a few months. How quickly the world changes when [...]