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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Weekend Semi-Sweeps

This weekend’s presidential primary and caucus results are in, and on the Democratic side, Barack Obama won all of the contests: the caucuses in NE, WA, Virgin Islands and ME, and the primary in LA. But given the Democratic proportional delegate selection rules, his “sweep” was not, of course, that absolute. According to Democratic Convention Watch, Obama won 111 pledged delegates to Clinton’s 54. That site now shows Obama ahead in pledged delegates by a margin of 73–968 to 895–with HRC still ahead by 30–1109 to 1079–when unpledged but declared superdelegates are added in.
To show how close and uncertain the contest has become, another credible source, RealClearPolitics, has Obama up by 3–1137 to 1134–in total delegates, with Obama enjoying a 77-vote lead among pledged delegates. With Obama favored in Tuesday’s so-called Potomac Primaries, the odds are reasonably high that he’ll be ahead in both pledged and total delegates in virtually everybody’s assessment by Wednesday, but with a bunch of delegate-rich contests still to come (including several where HRC is currently favored).
On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee came close to his own weekend sweep, crushing John McCain in the KS caucuses; winning a plurality of the vote in the LA primary; and running a close second in the WA caucuses. Unfortunately for him, LA GOP rules deny any delegates to a primary “winner” who fails to win a majority; a state convention will elect the delegates. And in WA, state Republican officials halted the caucus count at 87% of the vote in, with McCain hanging onto a narrow lead (Huck sent lawyers up to Seattle to challenge this decision, and the count has apparently been resumed).
The good news for McCain is that he’s steadily moving up towards the delegate totals needed to win the nomination, even if he keeps “losing” to Huckabee. The bad news for McCain is that conservative resistence to his nomination has not abated; in WA, where he seems to have “won,” 74% of caucus-goers voted for somebody else, including candidates who have withdrawn from the race. Indeed, it was a really bad sign for McCain that after his appearance at last week’s Conservative Political Action Committee meeting, and after Romney withdrew from the race and called for a unified effort behind McCain, CPAC’s straw poll was won by–Romney.
UPCATEGORY: Democratic Strategist

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