January 20th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
2 years ago

Who won more delegates in Nevada? It's complicated.

 There is some confusion on who won more delegates in Nevada.
There is some confusion on who won more delegates in Nevada.

(CNN) - There are several possible answers: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and no one, and each answer is correct to some degree.

The purpose of Saturday’s caucuses was to elect delegates to next month’s county conventions, where delegates to the state convention in April will be chosen. It isn’t until this April meeting where the state’s 25 delegates to the national convention in Denver will actually be selected.

Hillary Clinton indisputably won the battle for county convention delegates, nabbing at least 5,300 compared to about 4,800 for Obama.

However, one could argue that Barack Obama won the battle for national convention delegates – even though no national delegates were actually awarded tonight – if you assume that the national convention delegates would be allocated in proportion to Saturday’s caucus results. CNN, the Associated Press, and other news organizations adopted this approach and estimated that Obama would go on to win 13 national convention delegates to 12 for Clinton if both candidates remained in the race by the time of the state convention in April.

But how is it possible that Clinton could win a majority of county convention delegates and not go on to win a majority of national convention delegates?

Under state party rules, Nevada’s 25 national convention delegates were divided up across Nevada’s three congressional districts. Then, the party took the additional step of dividing the Second Congressional District into three parts: Washoe county in northwestern Nevada which includes Reno; parts of Clark county in the southeast near Las Vegas; and then the rural and sparsely populated but geographically vast counties that make up the rest of the state.

Of those three subdivisions, Clinton's best showing was concentrated in the Las Vegas area in Clark county, while Obama beat her in Washoe and in the rural counties. Obama’s win in these two key areas, which were worth more national delegates than the area Clinton won, enabled him to overcome Clinton’s estimated lead in national delegates in the rest of the state.

“In a nutshell what happened is in the rural areas, Obama had a majority in the district that had an odd number of delegates, so he won an extra seat,” the Obama campaign’s director of delegate selection, Jeff Berman, told reports in a conference call. “Where Clinton won, the delegates were split evenly.”

The Clinton campaign, not surprisingly, chose to emphasize their candidate’s win in county convention delegates, rather than their narrow loss in the estimated allocation of national convention delegates.

“Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses today by winning a majority of the delegates at stake,” the campaign said in a statement Saturday. “The Obama campaign is wrong. Delegates for the national convention will not be determined until April 19.”

Which campaign was right? According to the state party: both of them and neither of them.

Nevada Democratic Party Chair Jill Derby said in a statement, “What was awarded today were delegates to the County Convention, of which Sen. Clinton won the majority.”

“No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct.”

That estimate would give Obama a 13-to-12 edge in Nevada’s national convention delegates.

Obama still trails Clinton in the overall hunt for national convention delegates. According to a CNN survey, Clinton now leads Obama 210 to 123 in delegates overall when the preferences of party insiders known as “superdelegates” are factored in. A total of 2,025 national convention delegate votes are needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Nevada
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. charlotte

    This is what a lot of people seem to not understand. Popular votes do not insure a win at the national party conventions. Delagates decide. Each state has X amount of delegates. The party has super delegates, who also vote. So with that said, split votes such as Obama 13, Clinton 12, Romney 15, McCain16. It is confusing, but that is the way the game is played.
    Ex: Nixon won popular, Kennedy won the election.
    Ex: Gore won popular, Bush won the election.
    Some have won both. We have had good/bad presidents. Until someone can come up with a better process. The process is the way it is whether we like it or not.

    January 20, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Doug CA

    I read that she won some of these candidates with a ... "Queen of Heart" card?

    When Bill Clinton was president and she was a First LADY at home, she COULDN'T prevent him from … straying!

    Now HE will be at home! Would it be presumptuous to guess what he will do to her, inside her own home, maybe even on her … bed ?!

    As a woman, will SHE be able to even FUNCTION as Prez in the office for FOUR YEARS, just while who knows what happens to Bill at home…

    BILL is TOO MUCH OF A LIABILITY for your President Candidate, folks! Think carefully before you vote, Clinton supporters! It's your country, your future! What will you do, when you WILL hear that story later?

    January 20, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Tim Stidham

    If delegates are not going to be awarded till April then Hillary won the caucases just like Obama did in Iowa .The Obama camp is wrong to say they won more delegates when he didn't even win the caucases .If thats the case Romney has the double amount of delegates then McClain but McClain is still the front runner because no delegates won't be awarded till April .The networks are just confusing the whole situtaion by not just say Clinton and Romney won the Nevada Caucases!!!!! They won the most vote alright just like Obama and Huckabee did in Iowa.The Obama camp are just sore loosers .Clinton and Edwards didn't do the delegate count in Iowa when they lost they just took the defeat and went to NewHamshire and went on .Obama get over it you lost the vote in Nevada !!!Go to South Carolina with a lost and shut up !!!!

    January 20, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Jim, Burlington NC

    Just when you thought it couldn't get any more weird.

    Then again, this is Vegas, best known for throwing away money, hookers and magic acts...

    January 20, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. ella

    The headline on the CNN homepage should not announce that Clinton won big in Nevada. She actually didn't win. The headline is not only misleading, it's an untruth, a falsehood, and whether intentional or not, it is manipulative.

    January 20, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Liz

    My question for Hillary Clinton is:

    After bashing Senator Barack Obama for saying that Ronald Reagan's presidency ushered in an era of change in America, and stating that Obama liked Reagan, which Obama did not say, we now find that you, Senator Clinton in a press release dated 12/12/2007 lists Ronald Reagan as one of her favorite presidents.

    Wow, why such adverse criticism regarding change?

    January 20, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. frank

    this is bunch of hot air. i don't like either one of the candidates because they both will have trouble delivering on promises. the best one is not running, and that is Gore,

    January 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. Mike, Conway, AR

    The media really dropped the ball on this story. They rushed to crown Hillary Clinton the winner, with some analysts even suggesting this gave her significant momentum, but that now appears to be completely wrong. At best, it was a marginal victory for Clinton. The fairest description is that it will have little impact on the race and that we must simply move on to the next race. The only real impact it had was to knock John Edwards out of the running with his single digit performance.

    January 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. conmulligan

    I wonder if the nomination process will last until the convention.

    Reminds me of the Matt Santos storyline in The West Wing.

    January 20, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. gary

    who is barack hussien oboma? never heard of him before .

    January 20, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    I'm not entirely sure how superdelegates work, but I hope they take into account how many people within the party don't support Hillary and will likely not support her in the general election.

    January 20, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Concerned

    I still can't understand how she won in "NA VUH DA" how ?????

    January 20, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Wake up American

    So it is obvious that the popular vote still does not elect a president in this country!!! It is politics that puts one in office.

    January 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. pinga

    What I'd like to undestand is how come she has that many more superdelegate even from the start befor Iowa, so much so that she surpasses Obama by no less than 100 delagates when considering both super and regular delegate? And how does that ultimately matter now and in general elections? If Anyone could clarify that I would greatly apreciate it.

    January 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. anna

    here we go again, did this not happen with Gore? And look what we ended up with. It should be deceided on VOTES not delegates

    January 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Werrason

    Everybody loves OBAMA
    I love thisguy too
    Young and strong

    GO SENS GO
    GO OBAMA GO

    NO HILLARY PLEASE

    AMERICA IS NOT A KINGDOM FOR CLINTON ET BUSH CLANS.

    HILLARY AND HER HUSBAND MUST GIVE OBAMA BREAK TOO.

    YEAH
    WE MUST VOTE RESPONSIBLE

    January 20, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. John

    My feeling is that Should Clinton look like winning the Democratic party nomination and Mcain or especially Romney are predicted to win the republican Nomination after Super Tuesday then it is almost certain that Mike Bloomberg will run. That would definitely crush any chance of another Clinton white house. The Result would either be a Republican or Bloomberg Presidency.

    January 20, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Lynn

    One last question. Why do rational, non smear, non racist comments go into moderation (and sometimes do not get posted)? What is CNN trying to do?

    January 20, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. myron

    Nevada is not the pulse or heat beat of the Nation just the locality where the mafia established legalized gambling, legalized prostitution and a whole lot of entertainment.

    It takes a special kind of person to live in Las Vegas 24/7 and this isn't the heart beat of the Nation–just the wild hair

    Hey what goes on in Las Vegas stayes in Las Vegas all except the STIDs

    January 20, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Can't wait to hear the cries of "Foul" on this one !

    January 20, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    CONGRATULATIONS TO HILLARY!

    January 20, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Kelly

    This is starting to tread on thin ice, making it appear as if our votes don't really count. No wonder people start thinking conspiracy theories. These things are rather complex and more education needs to be distributed on just how these numbers are calculated. I think caucuses are just a big mess and we need to really think about just having primaries... and here's a radical thought... The popular vote wins. The "popular" vote is the voice of the general mass of US population (who bothered to vote that is). How did something so simple become so complex? Some rich guy must not have gotten his way and used his money to influence the restructuring of the US voting systems. This is what it sounds like after you take all the political spin off of it anyway.

    January 20, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Dem123

    This is a useless discussion.Hillary has won Nevada ,the Obama campaign as usual is full of misleading rhetoric and lack of substance,will try to salvage some points out of their awful defeat.

    January 20, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Joelene Reno, Nevada

    OK folks, here's the deal...

    Barack Obama won more delegates because Republicans hijacked the caucus process in rural Nevada.

    I base that on the following:

    1. A good friend called me this morning from Elko, Nevada and laughingly told me that they really screwed Hillary. He told me he reregistered at the democratic Caucus location and stood up for Obama. I told him he at least, finally, managed to associate himself with the right party. He laughed and asked if I was kidding...
    He registered as a Democrat for a day, not because he liked Obama (further clarifying to me that I should know better than that), but rather because he HATED THE CLINTONS and wanted to make sure that his county did not give one single delegate to Hillary Clinton.

    2. My experience was reflective of this same phenomenon at my caucus location. I helped register many newly converted Republicans only to find that they were the only ones standing for Obama that would not discuss why they were supporting Barack. They were vocal Hillary Haters, one of which went so far as to call me a pervert because I support Hillary Clinton. The true Barack supporters were happy to talk about their inspiration and dedication to Barack, and that, folks is a very good thing, and how it should be!

    3. The republican caucus had a pitiful turn out. Why? Because they were all reregistering as Democrats for a day, and HILLARY HATERS to, as my friend put it....screw Hillary.

    So Democrats, if you think that nearly all rural counties in Nevada opted for Barack Obama, I'm sorry to say, that is not the case at all.

    As a Democrat, I believe we have 3 very good candidates. I will support the party nominee, but the crap the republicans are pulling is WRONG WRONG WRONG!

    January 20, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. JON, COLUMBIA SOUTH CAROLINA

    well my boy obama still got more delegates

    January 20, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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