3.29.2008

Texas conventions: We will finally do what to do with the Texas caucuses!

Two weeks ago, Iowa held its county conventions, resulting in Obama gaining a net 10 delegates. Today, it is Texas's turn to do the same. The process is simple: Thousands of delegates elected during the March 4th caucuses convene at conventions across the state and vote on the second stage of the attribution of 67 delegates!

You might remember that Texas Democrats reported only the results of 41% of the precincts, and we never got to know the rest of the results. Based on that, many in the media decided to go ahead and allocate 38 delegates to Obama and 29 to Clinton despite the fact that, in a number of districts, the candidates were teetering on the verge of the thresholds that would determine whether they would get an extra delegate with more than half of the ballots counted.

To make matters worse, the whole Texas voting process had bordered on complete chaos, with long lines, hours worth of delay, voting taking place in parking lots... As a result, the Clinton campaign sought to delay today's conventions and considered filing challenges, but ended up renouncing to do so. But this report in the Dallas Morning News should be enough to crush hopes that things would run smoother today. The process looks to be delayed by hours in many places, and challenges to the credentials of many delegates are apparently being filed, resulting in anger, frustration and shouting matches!

Besides the chaos and the shady nature of caucuses, today's voting is significant because we will finally know how to deal with the Texas caucuses, and how to assign their delegates. This second stage of the caucus process is in many ways as important as the first, and as much of a challenge with the two campaigns having to put together full scale turn out operations. And keep in mind that today's conventions will also elect delegates... which will then meet again to choose the final round of Denver delegates!

With 26% of precincts reporting, Obama is ahead 54% to 46%, but different parts of the state are reporting very unequally right now. As expected, Obama is getting some big numbers in hte conventions of Austin, Dallas and Houston (as a commenter points out, that includes a 272-52 in Harris County's 13th district portion). Hillary has her strongholds as well. In Webb County, in which Obama had gotten 21% of the primary vote, he failed to get 15% today at the county convention, which means that Clinton gets all the 51 delegates from there. In Hidalgo County (also on the border), it's 102-11 for Clinton.

Update: With 82% of the delegates now allocated, Obama leads 55.9% (3851 delegates) to 44.05% (2804 delegates). Only 55% of conventions have reported for now, and most of the remaining ones are from small counties that typically favor Clinton so the margin could still slightly tighten. We should know the rest of the results in the coming hours.

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