Dems ready for contests in Michigan and... Iowa?!

In a sure sign that the Democratic primaries are caught in a time warp with no end in sight, the campaigns are now getting ready to fight a potentially decisive fight in... Iowa. More than two months after Obama's game-changing victory, the state's county conventions are convening tomorrow, and you can sense that the Des Moines Register can barely conceal its glee at having some kind of role to play once again.

The tricky thing with caucuses is that no candidate actually wins any DNC delegates on Election Night, and the totals released by the networks are only projections that will hold if everything goes as it's supposed to. In fact, a caucus elects county delegates, and county conventions elect district delegates, and only then does the state convention choose its actual delegates.

In Iowa, 13,485 delegates were elected on January 3rd! And all of those are allowed to go and elect about a fourth as many tomorrow in the state conventions... That means that the Clinton and Obama campaign will have to make sure that all of their county delegates go participate tomorrow to make sure they get as many DNC delegates as they are entitled to. If Obama, for example, fails to get all his delegates to the caucuses tomorrow, he could easily lose a delegate here and there -- and we would be forced to change our pledged delegate totals!

To prevent that from happening, both campaigns have paid staff in the state contacting their delegates, leaving messages and organizing a whole new turnout operation! Nothing can be simple in the Democratic primaries.

Especially targeted are the county delegates of John Edwards. The final projection out of Iowa was 16 delegates for Obama, 15 for Clinton and 14 for Edwards -- so that's 14 delegates that will be distributed between Obama and Clinton or be sent to the convention as uncommitted depending on what Edwards's county delegates do tomorrow. So the fight for Edwards's Iowa delegates is possibly more crucial than that of the Wyoming caucuses!

Meanwhile, Michigan seems to be inching towards a resolution... without Florida! As the Sunshine state's mail-in scenario looks ruined, Michigan Democrats have been much more successful at finding consensus between themselves and with the two campaigns, and a plan on which all parties are already in agreement could be reached later today. It would be a state-run primary that would apparently not be paid by the state and not be conducted via mail, and it would take place on June 3rd.

Any such plan would have to be approved by the DNC, the state legislature and... the Department of Justice, which could delay things further but Michigan Democrats appear hopeful that they can at least start organizing for the contest. Unless Florida finds a way to follow very quickly it could be left out of the loop, and this could be a disastrous scenario for Clinton: Florida is much more favorable for her than Michigan is, and a June 3rd showdown in only the latter could be a major headache for her campaign, for a loss there (or even a tight race) would cost her most of the arguments she is relying on to court superdelegates and argue that she has momentum. And how would the dilemma of Florida delegates be resolved?

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home