Tag Archive: President

Twenty-One Primary Elections on February 5, and that’s just New Jersey

Maybe you noticed that John Edwards finished second in the Iowa district delegate vote count, but got one fewer national delegate than Hillary Clinton. Perhaps you were surprised that Hillary Clinton got more votes in New Hampshire, but the same number of delegates as Barack Obama. Surely you’ve read some Obama claims that he “really” won Nevada in delegates 13-12, even though Clinton got more votes.  It’s enough to make me flashback to the Electoral College map. So, what’s going on here, and how does it relate to New Jersey? This is the answer as I understand it.

In Jersey, we’ve been told there is “a” primary coming up, but there are actually twenty primaries happening on February 5.  Each of these primaries occur in a “Delegate District,” which is two of the familiar “Legislative Districts” combined.  For example, I’m in Delegate District Two, which is LD3 (Sweeney’s) and LD4 (Madden’s) combined.  Each district elects three or four delegates to the national convention. Now the LDs have (roughly) equal population, but the districts that have fewer Democratic voters only get three delegates.  Each of these are truly separate primaries, in the sense that if Hillary Clinton turns out a crushing victory in District 20, it has the same effect in my district as her votes in Los Angeles:  None whatsoever.   There’s a total of 70 delegates at stake in these twenty elections.

Note that at the end of the day, outcomes like a 5% win or a 10% win in votes may not be reflected at the district level.  In a three delegate district, I think there are realistically only two possible outcomes:  Either Clinton-Obama-Edwards tie with one each, or one of the them gets two, one gets one, and the other gets nothing.  A candidate gets nothing if “he” fails to get 15% of the votes (I don’t think that will happen to “she”).   A four delegate district, however, could realistically split 2-2-0 or 3-1-0 or 2-1-1.  As the district results are added up, it’s possible that just as in the early states, a small lead by one candidate is not reflected in the delegate totals.  Obama’s counterintuitive Nevada result was powered by a small victory in an odd delegate district while splitting even-delegate districts by not losing by too many votes.  

Live-Blogging the NJ GOP Debate/Straw Poll

Update: The results are in, and Ron Paul trounced:

Novick says there were 207 total votes (I’m only counting 176). Duncan Hunter’s votes aren’t included below…he got about 7 votes, plus some people may have left early.

Ron Paul: 72.7% (128)

Fred Thompson: 15.3% (27)

Rudy 9ui11iani: 8.0% (14)

Mike Huckabee: 2.3% (4)

John McCain: 1.1% (2)

Barack Obama: 0.6% (1) (Joey Novick, who paid to attend the straw poll, wrote in a vote for Obama, though they did not announce it in the totals.)

Ever wonder what the other side is doing?  Joey Novick is going to tell us.

Will Rudy pull his fat out of the fire – or is he fried?

Update (Juan) – some fun tidbits:

Question: Should we be in The UN? “Sabrin: “Paul supports withdrawing from the UN, and making them condos on the east river. That will handle the homeless problem in NYC.”

[…]

Huckabee on UN withdrawal: “About the UN. It needs to reigned in, We pay too much. We need to make the oil rich nations to pay more. I work in midtown NYC. And I can’t get to my office when the NYC police are escorting someone from an oil rich nation to the UN, who is going to criticize us. That has got to stop.”

Waaahhh! For someone in politics, they sure are a bit thin-skinned. Gosh, imagine someone criticizing us! Oh the horror!!! Clowns, stay out of the kitchen.

National Popular Vote coming to New Jersey?

Wally Edge of PoliticsNJ is reporting,

The Senate State Government Committee will consider legislation that would require New Jersey’s electoral votes to be cast for the candidate who wins the national popular vote, not necessarily the statewide count in New Jersey. S-2695, sponsored by State Senators Richard Codey and Raymond Lesniak, seeks to include New Jersey in an “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote” …

With sponsors like Codey and Lesniak, New Jersey is getting serious about National Popular Vote legislation.

Read about the plan in former Senator Birch Bayh’s Blue Jersey op-ed, ‘A Fifty State Strategy Every Year.’ He even mentioned Codey’s call to make New Jersey a “Presidential Player” rather than “an ATM machine.” The op-ed is pasted below the fold.

New Jersey’s Pols: Backing the Wrong Horses?

Cross-Posted from ShapTalk.com:

Officials of both political parties should have learned a lesson from 2004 when key Democratic politicians, including Governor Jim McGreevey, jumped on board with Governor Howard Dean, only to see Dean implode soon thereafter, leaving them with little influence over Senator John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee.  Apparently, those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.  Approximately one month ago, a long line of Republican officials publicly announced their support for Rudy Guliani for President.  Recently, a significant contingent of Democratic officials, including Governor Corzine, publicly backed Senator Hillary Clinton for President.  Both groups of elected officials will find themselves on the outside looking in should the political winds afoot blow in an unexpected but likely direction.

“How do you not want this guy running our country?”

That was Assemblyman Reed Gusciora speaking about Al Gore. Today, Gusciora announced “he will lead a movement in New Jersey to draft Al Gore” to run for president. PoliticsNJ has the story:

“He didn’t vote for the war, didn’t apologize for it, and is more seasoned than the rest of 2008 prospect,” said Gusciora, a six-term Democrat from Princeton.  “Now he has an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. How do you not want this guy running our country?”

Gusciora was the first New Jersey elected official to endorse Howard Dean in 2004 — almost a year before the state political establishment jumped on board.

Op-Ed: A Fifty State Strategy Every Year

Shortly after the 2004 elections, Chris Bowers of the progressive blog MyDD wrote an optimistic post titled “Fifty State Strategy.” In the piece, he expressed relief that in 2006, “there will be no Presidential election, and thus as a party we can return to a truly national focus.” It is a shrewd, but telling observation that today more than ever, the Electoral College system is a disservice to voters.

Howard Dean’s ‘Fifty State Strategy’ was controversial enough for a midterm election, as some party leaders feared it would “squander” the resources needed to win seats. Now, throw a presidential race into the mix — a time when both parties siphon their resources into the handful of battleground states that sway the Electoral College. What good is a fifty state strategy when 60,000 votes in Ohio are more influential than 1.5 million nationwide?

This limited strategy requires that candidates running for the nation’s highest office completely ignore three-quarters of the states, including the three most populous: California, Texas, and New York. Democrats and Republicans alike should ask, ‘Why are our national leaders elected by only reaching out to a fraction of our states?’ It seems inherently illogical, and it is.

The Electoral College has outlived whatever positive role it once played as a choice of convenience and compromise. Long overdue, the President and Vice President should be chosen by the same method every other elective office in this country is filled-by citizen voters of the United States in a system which counts each vote equally.

I have felt this way for some time. 30 years ago last month, I introduced a proposed Amendment to the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College and provide for direct election of the President and Vice President. As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, I held hearings, received testimony from 38 witnesses (not to mention hundreds of pages of additional statements and academic studies), and amassed nearly 2,600 pages of research on the need for electoral reform.

To me and others involved with this process, it became clear that while the Founding Founders had incredible wisdom and foresight, they were dealing with a much different society. The Electoral College was designed for the realities of their time, not ours.

Straight Talk Express Bogs Down In Jersey GOP Swamp

Last week John McCain put out a news release announcing that he had the support of quite a few active and powerful (assuming this is not an oxymoron in NJ) Republican-American legislators for his Presidential campaign.

The only problem is PoliticsNJ reports half of these good ol’ partiers haven’t committed to backing the great Maverick, but have determined to keep their powder dry for the time being.

Here’s the list of Republican-Americans McCain claims, with the ones who remain on-board in italics and the ones who have chosen not to take the bus in bold.

Senate

  • Peter Inverso (Mercer and Middlesex Counties)
  • Bill Gormley (Atlantic County)

Assembly

  • Bill Baroni (Mercer and Middlesex)
  • Jennifer Beck (Monmouth)
  • Francis Blee (Atlantic)
  • Jon Bramnick (Union, Essex, and Morris) — backing Guiliani
  • Steve Corodemus (Monmouth)
  • Amy Handlin (Monmouth and Middlesex) — backing Guiliani
  • Sean Kean (Monmouth)
  • Samuel Thompson (Monmouth and Middlesex)

Many folks have noted that McCain’s vaunted reputation for honesty and independence has taken hits as he waffles about how many troops to go into Iraq and sucks up to right wing ideologues and charlatans he previously considered uncouth.  This inability to put out a straightforward release about supporters just furthers the story that McCain is either befuddled or brown-nosing and isn’t at all what the media portrays him ass.

An ATM, a Reduced Delegation, or Both?

In this morning New York Times, a top advisor to John McCain commented on states’ rush to the front of the primary calendar.

All of these states, who are moving up early, want to play and have an impact. But oddly enough, it ultimately will limit the legitimate candidate choices for the nation at large in the primary process.

To counter that, the Democratic National Committee is considering a rule at their upcoming winter meeting that would penalize states for moving up. Wally Edge is reporting that,

The move would reduce the size of state’s delegation by as much as 30% as a penalty for moving their primaries to the first Tuesday in February. California is among the state’s considering a February 5, 2008 primary; the California Senate President and Assembly Speaker have asked Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean to reject the proposal.

In his 2005 state of the state address, Dick Codey said that moving up the primary would “make New Jersey a Presidential player instead of an ATM machine for Presidential candidates.” Maybe so.

But if the move came at the expense of the size of the convention delegation, it could reduce New Jersey’s role in Presidential politics.

In the first place, if California, Michigan, North Carolina, Missouri, and Delaware all move their primaries to February 5 (the earliest any states can move up), New Jersey will be competing with several major players and their cheaper media markets. And this doesn’t include Florida and other Western states that are also rumbling about a move.

Not to mention the dynamic of this particular presidential year. Some, like National Journal‘s Chuck Todd, are suggesting that the presence of two or three heavyweights could lead to extremely well-financed campaign organizations  with no quit in them — leading to a delegate fight at the national convention.

If New Jersey sacrifices a chunk of its delegation for a handful of campaign stops and maybe a few million dollars in additional revenue, will it be worth it?

Three Supervillains No Match for President Bush

Three Kryptonian fugitives who arrived on Earth six months ago have abandoned their plans to dominate the planet. “We realized that we are too late to destroy America’s democratic institutions or enslave the peoples of third-world countries,” said their leader, General Zod. “While we were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, the administration of George W. Bush stole our thunder. We salute this leader of the planet Houston.”

The arrival of the supervillain group, which also includes supporters Ursa and Non, had been predicted in 1980 by the motion picture Superman II. The group blamed their late arrival on “enhanced security” in their two-dimensional prison.

Asked about his future plans, General Zod said he would work on “election reform” in support of his 2008 presidential campaign. The general, who plans to run as an independent, said he was concerned about “irregularities in [the] 2000 and 2004” presidential elections, as well as a “lack of ballot access to third-party candidates.”

On the web:
http://www.zod2008.com/
http://www.generalzod.net/