| First and foremost, I want to thank the Lone Star Project for their incredible report and analysis. Without their numbers, we'd be starting from scratch. For those who may not be familiar with the Lone Star Project, they are one of the best research-based groups in the country. Their research on the Texas Congressional Redistricting fiasco, for example, informed every media story you ever read about Tom Delay's insane power grab into the Republican-run Texas Legislature. So hat's off to them -- and feel free to drop them some change if you'd like.
With that out of the way, here's how it all breaks down:
How Texas' 228 Delegates are Allocated
Texas has a mixed primary-caucus way of selecting delegates, in addition to "super delegates" -- but the process works well because it rewards the candidate that gets voters to the polls on election day.
- 193 "pledged" delegates decided by the primary-caucus system
- 35 "unpledged" or "super" delegates
The "super" delegates are self explanatory -- so let's see if we can't help you make sense of the primary-caucus mix of "pledged" delegates. Again, thanks to the Lone Star Project for doing a lot of our work for us.
How Texas' 193 "Pledged" Delegates Are Allocated -- Primary/Caucus Hybrid
Overall, the vast majority of delegates that can be won in Texas are based on the voting totals -- because the "caucus-chosen" delegates are only assigned based on who shows up to the local precinct conventions the day of the election. We explain below.
An Explanation of the 67 "Caucus-Chosen" Delegates
There is a four-page document provided by the Texas Democratic Party that explains how the 67 "caucus-chosen" delegates are picked and allocated. If you really, really want to know how this works, you can read it by clicking here. Here's the most important points, though:
Here, now -- for those true political junkies out there -- is a summary of how the Texas caucus system works:
- This process rewards whichever candidate organizes its voters to attend the precinct conventions after the polls close.
- Delegates that work their way through the precinct and county/district conventions are free to switch their candidate support at any time until the state convention -- but normally (and especially if the race is still undecided at the time of the state convention in June) -- delegates won't switch.
- 42 at-Large delegates allocated by the "caucus" system. The allocation of these 42 delegates (by candidate preference) is based on the presidential preference expressed state convention delegates (who are chosen at their precinct and county conventions) when they sign in at the state convention June 6.
Let's do an example: 100 people attend a precinct convention (which is held 15 minutes after the polls close). 80 of those attending the precinct convention support Obama, and 20 support Clinton. Let's assume your precinct gets to select 5 delegates to the County Convention. 4 of those Delegates would be "pledged" to Obama, and 1 would be "pledged" to Clinton. Those 5 people go to the County Convention.
At the County Convention, the same process is repeated. Let's say there are 100 people at the County Convention -- these are the 100 delegates that were chosen at all of the precinct conventions around the County. At the County Convention, let's say 75 are "Obama precinct convention" delegates and 25 are "Clinton precinct convention" delegates. Based on the county strength -- the percentage of statewide Democratic votes that came from your county -- let's say your County gets to send 4 delegates to the State Convention. 3 of those delegates would be "pledged" to Obama, and 1 would be "pledged" to Clinton.
The identical process is followed at the State convention. Let's say 100 delegates go to the State Convention -- these are the 100 delegates that were chosen to represent their candidate at the County Convention. Of these 100 delegates at the State Convention, 66 (2/3) vote for Obama and 34 (1/3) vote for Clinton. The 42 at-large delegates are split along this percentage division -- so Obama would have an additional 28 delegates (2/3 of 42) attend the DNC Convention, while Clinton would have 14 delegates (1/3 of 42) attend the DNC Convention.
I grossly under-represented the numbers at every convention level for illustrative purposes; if you can follow this logic (and I've tried as best I could to help you), you'll understand the main point: this process awards whichever campaign has the best grassroots effort to get their voters to stay after the polls close and attend the precinct convention. This is truly a process where the numbers build up -- and yes, it's crazy. But we're Texas -- what would we be if we weren't at least a little crazy.
- Also, 25 pledged "super delegates" allocated by the caucus system. The 25 pledged "party delegates" are party leaders, Democratic Mayors and Legislators. They are all allocated along the same lines as the delegates attending the State convention. Using the 2/3 to 1/3 split I described above, 17 of the 25 delegates (2/3) would be for Obama, and 8 delegates (1/3) would be for Clinton. As a note, only a candidate receiving a 15 percent threshold may receive votes.
A Look Back: An Overview of Where Those 228 Delegates Come From
- 126 "primary-chosen" delegates, allocated based on the results of votes cast on March 4.
- 42 at-large, "caucus-chosen" delegates that come up through the primary and county convention.
- 25 pledged "party delegates" allocated by the presidential preference of delegates attending the State convention.
- 35 unpledged "super delegates"
I love Texas. If you enjoyed that, be sure to read my detailed analysis of how the 128 Senate District delegates could vote later today.