Wednesday, February 06, 2008
On this day:

In Alabama: A good day for John McCain, a better one for Barack Obama

That's what I predicted last week about today's primary, and tonight's results seem to bear it out.

The Republicans

McCain finished a strong second to Mike Huckabee in Alabama, and he received almost double the votes of Mitt Romney. Both Huckabee and McCain won delegates here tonight, while Romney came up with a big fat zero.

Huckabee's victory helped McCain in that it prevented Romney from getting any of the state's 45 GOP delegates that were up for grabs. In light of the rest of the Super Tuesday results, it's pretty clear now that Romney's campaign is finished and that Huckabee's is going nowhere. John McCain is almost certain to be the Republican nominee.

The Alabama Republican Party has a complicated method of selecting delegates. According to the Gadsden Times:
The Republicans will be selecting 24 at-large delegates who run statewide and 21 other delegates - three from each of the state's seven congressional districts.

The GOP will have three other delegates to the convention that are party officials, for a total of 48 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

A candidate must get 20 percent of the vote in the primary to get delegates, said Philip Ryan, communications director for the Alabama Republican Party. That level must be reached either statewide or in a congressional district.

If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he will receive all the state's delegates, Ryan said.

Ryan said if a candidate who has dropped out of the presidential race gets votes in Alabama in the primary, those votes will be counted. If they win delegates, those delegates will be uncommitted at the convention.

The delegates who are pledged to a particular candidate are pledged to them for the first ballot, Ryan said. are the results in Alabama so far, with the estimated delegate counts in parentheses:

Statewide: Huckabee - 41% (13), McCain - 37% (11), Romney - 18% (0)

District 1: McCain - 47% (2), Huckabee - 25% (1), Romney - 24% (0)
District 2: Huckabee - 42% (2), McCain - 40% (1), Romney - 15% (0)
District 3: Huckabee - 43% (2), McCain - 38% (1), Romney - 15% (0)
District 4: Huckabee - 52% (3), McCain - 32% (0), Romney - 12% (0)
District 5: Huckabee - 39% (2), McCain - 30% (1), Romney - 26% (0)
District 6: Huckabee - 46% (2), McCain - 35% (1), Romney - 16% (0)
District 7: Huckabee - 45% (2), McCain - 43% (1), Romney - 10% (0)

If 1) these numbers hold up, 2) I understand GOP rules correctly, and 3) my math's right, then it looks like Huckabee won 27 delegates tonight to McCain's 18.

The Democrats

Obama won in a landslide, but both he and Hillary will get delegates. The Dems' method for allocating delegates is even more complicated than the GOP's, and since I really don't give a rat's a** about learning the wayward ways of my Democratic comrades, I won't even attempt to figure it out.

One comment, though: the Democrats have a rule that 1/2 of their delegates have to be male and 1/2 have to be female, without regard to voter preferences or delegate qualifications. That rule has always struck me as absurd, since the underlying assumption seems to be that it's not possible for a female delegate to adequately represent the interests of men, or vice versa. Otherwise, why the need for such a rigid quota? If a quota based on sex is desirable, then why not one based on race or creed or sexual orientation? And why stop at delegates? Why not make a rule that nominees for President must alternate between men and women? I guess the Democrats' commitment to equality only goes so far.