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Delegates and what it takes to win the Dem nom

Many thanks to John Marble of National Stonewall Dems for sending over a primer on what it's going to take for Obama or Clinton to secure the nomination. NSD has a stand-alone web site,, that provides delegate information.

Some information to help sort things out… 

* In order to win the Democratic nomination for President, a candidate must win a majority of delegate votes – 2,025 out of 4,049, and that excludes the Michigan and Florida delegates.

* This was the delegate count before the results of the Potomac primaries (MD, VA, DC): 

* Pledged delegates (80% of delegates) are delegates won by a candidate at the congressional district and state level. Each state receives a certain number of delegates per congressional district based on its population, and Democratic voting strength. States which hold late primaries or caucuses are rewarded with bonus delegates. In every congressional district, each candidate receiving at least 15% of the vote is guaranteed at least one delegate for that congressional district. Pledged delegates are pledged to the candidate they support.

* Unpledged super delegates (20% of delegates) are delegates who are either a) a current member of the Democratic National Committee, b) a current Democratic member of the United States Senate or House of Representatives, c) current Democratic governors, d) current Democratic state party chairs and vice-chairs (as Members of the DNC) and e) a distinguished party leader (former presidents,vice presidents, and leaders of the House and Senate). Super delegates may declare who they support, but they are not required to pledge support to a particular candidate.

Another basic question whether it is possible for either Obama or Clinton to nail the nom before the convention without Super delegates. Apparently it's technically possible, but unlikely. The scenarios proposed involve a decreasing but necessary number of Super delegates the more pledged delegates are racked up:

a) if a candidate wins 55% of future pledged delegates, they must win 42% of future “super” delegates.

b) if a candidate wins 60% of future pledged delegates, they must win 31% of future “super” delegates.

c) if a candidate wins 65% of future pledged delegates, they must win 25% of future “super” delegates.

The question of how the Florida and Michigan delegates will be handled involves various scenarios, but according to the NSD primer, DNC Chair Howard Dean other prominent party leaders expect the delegates from these two states will ultimately be seated. How? See after the jump.

The National Party could require Florida and Michigan to hold another separate process to comply with the timing rule. The states could hold caucuses (similar to the type of caucuses Iowa holds) or a party-run primary. The states could also hold a vote-by-mail primary. All of these options are very costly to the state Democratic Party. While the DNC could chip in some funds to help pay for the alternative process, it is unlikely to fully-fund the procedure (just think of the precedent that would set!). Having the state and national Party spend money on an alternative process means spending money that won't be available for the general election.

Possible scenarios with the Credentials Committee could include (1) not seating any delegates, (2) seating all of the delegates, (3) seating the delegates with fractional votes, (4) seating only part of the delegates.

It sounds like a mess. I wouldn't want to be part of that decision-making crowd. 

But back to the Super delegates. Of the openly-LGBT unpledged “super” delegates, 12 are declared for Clinton, 2 are declared for Obama and 7 are undeclared. A cautionary note — this is how things stand at the present time based on public statements by the below delegates; because they are super delegates, they are not bound to their pledge. It's clear that Clinton has rounded up these folks.

Members of the United States Congress

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI): Declared for Clinton

Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA): Declared for Clinton

Members of the Democratic National Committee

Jeremy Bernard (CA – At Large Member): Declared for Obama

Hon. Raymond Buckley (NH – Chair of the NH Democratic Party) Undeclared

Tonio Burgos (NJ)  Declared for Clinton

Hon. David Cicilline* (RI – Vice Chair of Democratic Mayors Conference) Undeclared

* Not a member of the DNC LGBT Americans Caucus

Frank Dixon (OR) Undeclared

Emily Giske (NY) Declared for Clinton

Eric Kleinfeld (DC – At Large Member) Declared for Clinton

Hon. Sue Lovell (TX) Declared for Clinton

Hon. Carol Migden (CA) Undeclared

Hon. Heather Mizeur (MD) Declared for Clinton

Maria Chapel Nadal* (MO – At Large Member) Undeclared

* Not a member of the DNC LGBT Americans Caucus

John Perez (CA) Declared for Clinton

Jason Rae (WI) Undeclared

Jeffrey Richardson (DC – Vice Chair of DC Democratic State Committee) Declared for Obama

Mirian Saez (CA – At Large Member) Declared for Clinton

Garry Shay (CA) Declared for Clinton

Rick Stafford (MN) Declared for Clinton

Andrew Tobias (Treasurer of the DNC) Undeclared – Will Remain Undeclared

Randi Weingarten* (NY – At Large Member) Declared for Clinton

* Not a member of the DNC LGBT Americans Caucus


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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding