The EFM Feature

I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails in light of yesterday’s results in Wyoming. One, from Elizabeth, asked why all this stuff about delegates matters. The answer is that ultimately, the Republican nomination is won by having a majority of the delegates to the National Convention vote for you. According to Wikipedia, this year the number is 1,191. Most of the time, somebody starts running away with the whole thing after the primaries and essentially wins by default. However, sometimes there is a fight until the end and we actually have to count delegates. The last time this happened was 1976, when former California Governor Ronald Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford. Then-Governor Reagan lost in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he took it all the way to the convention and nearly prevailed. Some people think we may face a similar scenario today, if candidates who are unlikely to unify the party — for example, Governor Huckabee and Senator McCain — win a few early primaries and some conservative alternative keeps fighting.
The other e-mail was from Norm and Jan. They called me out for saying that Governor Romney won Wyoming, “for whatever it’s worth,” and pointed out that there were actually more delegates at stake in Wyoming than there will be next week in New Hampshire. Due to the win, Governor Romney currently leads in the delegate count. That’s an interesting fact, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s worth very much. Early primaries (and caucuses) are important for delegates and momentum — and it’s clear that Iowa and New Hampshire, not Wyoming, are providing the latter. That may not be fair, but it’s true.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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