Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Don't bother staying up late to see the results of the Arizona presidential primary

The Presidential Preference Election in Arizona (what we folks here call our presidential primary) is over.  At least it will be after some stragglers in Maricopa County vote.

(The consistent ineptitude/malice of Maricopa County's chief elections officer, Helen Purcell, can and will be the subject of a separate post in the near future.)

The MSM pundits will soon declare one or the other candidate to be the "winner", even though most of them know full well that pledged Democratic delegates in Arizona are awarded proportionally, with candidates needing to reach 15% of the vote to earn any delegates.

Given that there are two main candidates (Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton) running fairly evenly (with Clinton ahead) nationwide, both should attain that 15% threshold easily.

Based on that, the "winner" will be expected to earn more than half of Arizona's pledged delegates, but nowhere near all of them.

Except that it's not quite that simple.

The Arizona Democratic Party does, in fact, award its pledged delegates proportionally, and 15% is the minimum vote threshold needed by any candidate to receive some.

Where it gets complicated is in the fact that delegates are awarded based on *Congressional District* and the 15% threshold applies to each district's votes.

From the Delegate Selection Plan crafted by the Arizona Democratic Party -

To sum up, mathematically, a candidate could "lose" statewide, but still end up with more pledged delegates than the "winner" if he or she wins in a couple of districts by a large enough margin to shut out the other candidate while finishing far behind the other candidate in the other districts, but still earning enough of the vote in those places to break the 15% threshold.

Or to sum up the "sum up", don't go to bed thinking you know how the Arizona primary turned out.

It won't be "over" until all of the district level results are tallied.

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