Tuesday, May 20, 2008

California Delegation Meeting in Sacramento

If you want to know how the California Delegation Meeting in Sacramento on May 18 went, check out this HuffPo piece by William Bradley. Just so you know, I was there. Steve Westly led us in a rousing cheer of "Yes, We Can," after all the 107 or so Obama delegates had gone around the room and introduced themselves and stated where they were from, as the Obama facilitator asked. They did that all right, but also discussed which district they represented, what cities the district covers, how they were involved in the Obama campaign, what other political efforts they were involved in, what posts they held in various official and non-official organizations, etc. Twice we were asked to keep it short. (I had spoken near the beginning, so I was under no such time pressure.) Any time you ask a group of activist Democrats to stand up and talk, you know it's not going to be short!

Iowa, Nevada … Texas?

Did you see that Obama picked up another national delegate in Nevada on Saturday? The campaign’s tactical organization at the county- and state-level caucuses and conventions continues to deliver results. Can they do it again in Texas on June 7?

Since the day after the Texas two-step primary/caucus, the Obama campaign has claimed to have won 38 delegates in the Texas caucuses, in addition to the 61 in the Texas primary (a total of 99 to Clinton’s 94). On the other hand, The Green Papers (and hence DemConWatch) has been showing Obama with 37 caucus delegates ever since the Texas County Conventions on March 30. This appears to be because his percentage of state convention delegates that were chosen at the county conventions is just short of the threshold to earn that 38th delegate.

Curious, I emailed Stephanie Leavitt, the Deputy Finance Director of the Texas Democratic Party, to find out the number of delegates to the Texas State Democratic Convention on June 5-7. The answer is 7298 delegates. (FWIW, that number does not include the State Democratic Executive Committee and County Chairs.)

Back on March 30, Burnt Orange Report, at this diary, was all over the County Conventions, in which those state delegates were chosen. There are some instructive comments attached to the BOR diary. There I learned this information:

On June 7 the state convention delegates will elect 25 PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates and 42 at-large delegates using separate election criteria. But if you consider the PLEO and at-large delegates together, the threshold percentages required for election of national delegates becomes clear. With final numbers for Obama between 50 and 60% and with 7298 state convention delegates, the key numbers are:

53.572% (3910 state delegates) => 36 national delegates
54.001% (3941 state delegates) => 37
55.953% (4084 state delegates) => 38
58.001% (4233 state delegates) => 39
58.334% (4258 state delegates) => 40

Based on the Burnt Orange Report spreadsheet, Obama has 4040 state convention delegates to Clinton’s 3318. Obama’s share is 55.4% of the 7298 total.

But note that sum of Clinton and Obama state delegates is 7358, not 7298. Perhaps there was some attrition in the final delegate count. In fact, BOR’s spreadsheet shows that some counties elected too many delegates. In any event, assuming that Obama alone had to shed all 60 of the “excess” state delegates, Obama’s minimum would be 3980 delegates (54.5%), still firmly ensconced with at least 37 national delegates.

Also note that in its spreadsheet, BOR reports for Senate District 29 in El Paso County:
To be 'challenged' at the TDP convention, resulting in around 22 more delegates for Obama.
The quote marks around the word 'challenged' seems to indicate that this will be a mere formality. Adding 22 to the 4040 Obama delegates gives 4062. This is just short of the 4084 delegates needed to pick up 38 delegates.

Can Obama snag that 38th delegate that his campaign has been claiming all along? Obama would need somewhere in the range of 22 to 82 Clinton state delegates to switch to him on June 7 to grab it.

Is the Obama campaign counting on their superb organizational skills, as evidenced recently in Nevada and Iowa, to pick up an extra national delegate or two in Texas? We’ll see on June 7.