Delegate competition

It’s been a long time since powerful insiders from both parties were forced to pick the right horse in a presidential election in order to become a National Convention delegate. For the Democrats, the last time was in 1984, when Walter Mondale, Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson were still competing for delegates in the June New Jersey primary; it’s been even longer for Republicans — 1964.

With a February 5, 2008 primary, it will be tougher (though not impossible) for insiders who pick the wrong horse and still make it to the convention floor as delegates. It’s possible that local popularity won’t be enough to overcome a desire by voters to cast their ballot for the presidential candidate of their choice.

For example, can Loretta Weinberg, running on the Barack Obama slate, lose a delegate election to a less powerful, not as well known supporter of Hillary Clinton? Can Cory Booker or Jerry Healy lose delegate bids if Clinton wins Newark and Jersey City?

The Republican primary is winner take all.That means that any insider not backing the winner of the GOP primary won’t be a delegate.

Delegate competition