08 May 2008

MI DNC Deal Close

A tentative deal has been reached to seat a Michigan delegation of 69 Clinton delegates and 59 Obama delegates. This would be a 10 pledged delegate edge for Clinton.

Clinton had been arguing for an 18 vote edge, and the seating of the remaining delegates of uncommitted delegates from whom she might pick up supporters, or a revote of some type. Compromise in the Michigan case was enhanced by the fact that Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot and that no major candidate campaigned in the January 15, 2008 primary.

The plan would leave only Florida unresolved. Florida officials have insisted upon being seats with a full delegation based upon their vote contrary to DNC rules, or nothing, which is the status quo. If the Florida results were honored, Clinton would make a net gain of 38 pledged delegates.

Florida's January 29, 2008 primary is harder to dismiss, despite the fact that it violated the rules, because all major candidates were on the ballot, because all the early primary and caucus states had held their events, so their edge over the February 5, 2008 date available to other states was fairly minor, and because despte a lack of campaigning by either candidate in Florida, the national campaign for February 5 Super Tuesday races inevitably spilled over to inform the Florida electorate.

Obama currently has a 164 pledged delegate lead, and trails by 11.5 superdelegates (certain delegates have only half a vote).

There are 217 pledged delegates left to be awarded in six races over three week as follows:

* West Virginia (May 13) 28 Clinton strongly favored
* Kentucky (May 20) 51 Clinton strongly favored
* Oregon (May 20) 52 Obama favored
* Puerto Rico (June 1) 55 Clinton favored
* Montana (June 3) 16 Obama favored
* South Dakota (June 3) 15 Obama favored

As the remaining schedule indicates, neither candidate is going to dominant the remaining pledged delegate awards under the proportionate representation system used by Democrats.

In somethin on the order of the most favorable to Clinton plasuible scenario that I would foresee, the following delegate split from these contests:

WV 20C 8O (i.e. 71% for Clinton)
KY 35C 17O (i.e. 67% for Clinton)
OR 21C 31O (i.e. 40% for Clinton)
PR 33C 22O (i.e. 60% for Clinton)
MT 6C 10O (i.e. 37% for Clinton)
SD 6C 9O (i.e 43% for Clinton)

Total pledged delegates: 121C 97O (net +24C)

Thus, without MI or FL, we are looking Obama entering the convention with a 140 pledged delegate lead or better. With the leaked Michigan deal, that would be a 130 pledged delegate lead. With full recognition for Florida's results that is a 98 pledged delegate lead.

Clinton currently has 267.5 superdelegates supporting her, while Obama currently has 248 superdelegates supporting him. There are 267.5 superdelegates who have not expressed a preference.

So, with results through June 3 reasonably favorable to Clinton and no deal on MI or FL, Clinton needs 74% of the remaining superdelegates.

With the MI deal but not FL, Clinton needs 72% of the remaining superdelegates.

With the MI deal, and full recognition for FL, Clinton needs 67% of the remaining superdelegates.

Obama has picked up 63% of superdelegates who have committed since November 8, 2007. Obama's momentum in securing superdelegate endorsements is picking up since Tuesday's primaries, because after Tuesday, many in the MSM publicly described the dwindling chances Clinton has to win the race.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a deal on Florida not long after June 4, when Obama's pledged delegate lead is established, the Michigan compromise is agreed, and Obama has racked up another 30 superdelegates relative to Clinton from where we are today, leaving Clinton only a glimmer of a chance by securing support from almost all of the remaining superdelegates at that point, together with a formal Clinton concession of the race, assuring that she won't secure any more superdelegates.

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