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2705Texas's Unique Primaucus

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  • Greg Cannon
    Feb 11, 2008

      Texas's Unique Primaucus
      11 Feb 2008 09:50 am

      Texas is the most un-primary of primaries there is.

      For one thing, there aren't any delegates awarded to
      the winner of the state -- no statewide bonus
      delegates, nothing. For another, a third of the
      delegates will be chosen through a complicated caucus

      And instead of proportional allocation by
      congressional district, the rest of the delegates will
      be proportionally allocated by state senate districts.
      George W. Bush's '04 performance really changes the
      math. That's because the number of delegates allocated
      in those districts are based on how well (or poorly)
      John Kerry did, as well as the performance of the last
      Democratic gubernatorial candidate (who himself had
      votes taken away by a liberal third party challenger.)

      The delegate-rich districts are the most heavily
      liberal state senate districts. According to this
      calculation, they're in Austin and in two of the most
      concentrated African American parts of the state.
      Advantage: Obama.

      Clinton will get plenty of support from Latino voters,
      but they tend to be more spread out and thus will see
      their votes somewhat diluted in the 31 separate
      primaries. In order to "win" -- both enough delegates
      and statewide, you need to organize what amounts to
      caucus-like campaigns in each of these districts.

      The white vote in Texas will probably split, with
      Obama taking men and Clinton taking women. Though
      Latinos make up a slightly larger share of the
      electorate than African Americans, they tend to vote
      in lower proportions.

      The process has two steps. First, folks vote. 126
      delegates will be accorded proportionally via state
      senate district. Then, when polls close, they caucus
      in more than 1,000 precincts.

      At the caucus, attendees chose the identity of the
      delegate and the presidential candidate that the
      delegate is supposed to represent. These delegates are
      sent to a "senatorial convention" a few weeks later,
      during which the final math is worked out and the
      actual delegate slate for the convention is chosen.

      67 delegates will be chosen this way.

      Suffice it to say: whatever you call Texas's system --
      a hybrid, a primacaucus, whatever -- do not assume
      that, because it's a big state and the media calls it
      a primary, the math favors Hillary Clinton.