It had been quite a while since I last updated the pledged delegate breakdown on March 31st. After weeks of constant elections and states refining their allocation, the six-week lull struck and froze things on the delegate front for a while.
Three changes in our delegate count today. The first, obviously, comes form Pennsylvania’s primary — the only contest that took place in the entire month of April. Second, the numbers out of the Texas caucuses have been refined and Obama picked up a delegate since my last update, now leading 38-29 instead of 37-30.
Third, Iowa held its district conventions this week; you might remember that, at the county convention, Obama had picked up a stunning number number of delegates thanks to the desertion of Edwards delegates, transforming his 16-15 edge against Clinton the night of the caucuses to a 25-14 advantage. The district conventions, however, saw a small but surprising Edwards comeback, as the former candidate managed to get one more delegate elected out of the first district; it looks like Clinton delegates helped Edwards cross the viability threshold in order to cost Obama a delegate — and they succeeded, a very rare instance of the Clinton campaign out-maneuvering Obama at caucuses. A detailed explanation of how these district conventions function is available here.
Iowa, delegate breakdown after the district conventions:
- Obama: 24 delegates (Previous total based on the county convention vote: 25)
- Clinton: 14 (Previous total: 14)
- Edwards: 7 (Previous total: 6)
Pennsylvania primary: Clinton 54,55%-Obama 44.45%
- Clinton: 83 delegates
- Obama: 73
- Outstanding: 2
This brings us to the following total:
- Obama: 1488.5 delegates
- Clinton: 1335.5
That’s a differential of 153 pledged delegates — only a small improvement for Hillary since March 31st, when she was trailing by 162 delegates. The Pennsylvania results in particular were a disappointment for the Clinton campaign who had surely been hoping to dent into Obama’s margin in a more meaningful manner; the delegate allocation rules and the division between even and odd delegate districts ended up favoring Obama in this state.
It has become impossible for a while for Clinton to catch up Obama among pledged delegates, but that certainly does not mean that this count is not meaningful. Even if Obama suffers a meltdown of the sort Clinton has been waiting for, she still has to be close enough in the pledged delegate count to be in a position of clinching the nomination even if superdelegates move massively towards her — right now, she needs too massive a proportion of uncommitted superdelegates to endorse her (though the Clinton campaign would respond that, were Obama to suffer a meltdown, a number of superdelegates who have endorsed him might migrate away from him).
To get herself meaningfully closer, Clinton needs to get huge margins in West Virginia and Kentucky, win big in Puerto Rico, score a convincing victory in Indiana and — very importantly — keep the race close in North Carolina, the upcoming state that will allocate the most delegates. Naturally, there is also the question of the Florida and Michigan delegates and whether they should be seated; compromises to seat half of the delegations, and at least Florida’s, have long been in the works and the DNC is getting ready to hear such appeals.