January 20th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
3 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. Rico

    Obama must feel like Dubya right now.
    Claiming victory with less than the popular vote.
    Its enough to make a true democrat's blood boil.

    January 20, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Matthew Sutton

    Congratulations on your victory in Nevada Senator Obama!

    Psst. CNN, your own vote tracking website page shows Barack with more delegates in Nevada! Why the inconsistent article?

    Obama now leads in National delegates according to CNN, 38-36.

    Go Obama!

    January 20, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. JohnS

    Dr. Young, there is no need to have a debate with Obama. There are other competent classmates of his who can debate you anywhere and just about anytime. By the way, where did you "...." your PhD?

    January 20, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. TIA

    WAKE UP BLACK PEOPLE DON'T BE FOOLED. GO OBAMA!!

    January 20, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. JohnS

    I JUST WANTED TO ECHO WHAT CHARLOTTE WROTE for the UNINFORMED!!!

    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. -- THANK YOU CHARLOTTE. I HOPE PEOPLE STOP MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS REGARDING THIS MATTER AND GET TO DISCUSSING REAL ISSUES!!!

    January 20, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Hillary HATES CATS

    Hillary Hates Cats
    So I hope she loses

    I love Cats.

    January 20, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. ron

    Party Politics?

    Really lets put all eight/nine on the generla ballot. First gets president, second gets VP. Wouldn't it be interesting having a Dem Pres and a Repub VP. Seems to bme the system is flawed. Do not like the idea of a caucus, all states should have primaries at a minimum

    January 20, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. JohnS

    Those who are "surprised" at Obama's response to the "so-called victory" of Hillary in Nevada would need to understand a few facts:

    1. Obama has repeatedly tried to reach out to Hillary, even calling home some of his "dogs" during the "racial" crises; Clinton simply turned around and smeard Obama after the truce was reached.

    2. In debate, after debate, Obama has tried to show "respect" for Clinton. As an example, in the NH debate, Obama consistently commented that Hillary is a "likeable" person, only for Hillary to come out the next day and attack him; so did our ex-president Bill (remember the "fairy tale...").

    3. There are two, very strong people– Bill and Hillary, consistently distorting the "established records" of Obama. Obama has tried to use comdey and even humor to resolve these attacks.

    4. In Washington, this is HOW Hillary is known– She does not want to play nice with anyone if she is at the losing end. Now, what should we expect of Obama? Like most people in the Senate who have had it with Hillary, I think Obama is close to giving up on reaching out to the Clintons!!! Those who are putting their necks out there for the Clintons should be aware of these facts, no party affiliation desires.

    January 20, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Maeve

    Question: Did Obama give a speech in which he conceeded the N.V. race to Clinton?

    His concession speech in New Hampshire had not one note of "concession" in it. Pretty darned ungracious of him...and not at all respectful of the people who turned out to vote and participate in the process.

    Come to think of it...judging from some of the comments here, being a poor loser seems to be a trait Obama and his supporters share.

    January 20, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. AJ

    Debbie Thanks!

    If those counts are accurate, Obama did win Nevada!
    And I do have to apologize to Obama supporters. I'm Hispanic, and unfortunately, many of my community are not very educated, and not very couragous politically. This explains why they broke for Clinton in the caucus. Again, I apologize for thier ignorance. But he did pull off the Delegate win, so all's well that ends well. Hope fully we in Ca won't make the same mistake as the housekeeping staff in Vegas.

    January 20, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Pinga

    WHAT ARE YOU GUYS TALKING ABOUT ... HILLARY HAS OVER 100 MORE DELEGATES THAN OBAMA OVER ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHECK THE FACTS. WHEN YOU COUNT THE SUPEDELEGATES (WHICH SOMEHOW WERE GRANTED TO HER EVEN BEFORE IOWA) SHE'S ALREADY IN THE 230'S WHILE OBAMA IS NOT EVEN CLOSE. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    NOW THE BETTER QUESTION IS HOW COME SHE ALREADY HAD SO MANY ?????? I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER UNFORTUNATELY. BUT THESE ARE FATCS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

    January 20, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Finn

    It has become increasingly obvious that CNN has a bias – they report heavily on Clinton and barely on Obama. When they do report on Obama it is frequently with a negative spin. Obama has consistently won more delegates than Clinton – and if you take away the "superdelegates" that are not elected but appointed – he should be able to win it.

    January 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    Okay...this is something I didn't know...but I'll take it. Anything to keep that windbag HRC out of office...She is the biggest fraud of the century...a pure phoney.

    I hat seeing all those high percentages for her...hopefully, we will see a shift when we move to states with larger black populations. The myth of the Clintons being more black and stronger supporter of the black community than Obama is indeed a fairy tale. Frankly, it's a bit hard to understand why the Clinton supporters buy in to her propaganda....but then, like HRC, the Clinton supporters only care about one thing...getting to the white house.

    It will be a long hard battle for sure because reason will not be the play of the day here for HRC and her surrogates and supporters.

    January 20, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. charlotte

    People you have know there are delegates and super delegates. States have delegates, the national delegates are super delegates. If you go to Election Center 2008 and see Obama 38 Clinton 36 Edwards18. just below that click full scorecard. Now you will see Clinton 210 Obama 123 Edwards 52 Kucinich 1 That is how we reach the magic number of 2,025 delegates to win the democratic nomination

    January 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Leslie Somerville, Seattle, Washington

    GO HILLARY 08.

    January 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Pinga

    FINN I DON'T THINK YOU CAN JUST "take away the superdelegates", THE SUPERDELEGATES ....WILL ..... BE COUNTED TOWARD A MAJORITY VOTE THAT WILL ULTIMATELY DETERMINE WHO GETS THE NOMINATION. AGAIN , AS I SAID THE BIGGER QUESTION IS HOW DID CLINTON GET THAT MANY OF THEM FROM THE START EVEN BEFOR IOWA ???? AND DID IS JUST AN HONEST QUESTION ... JUST WANT TO GET IT!

    January 20, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. ron

    clinton / obama ticket? Any possibilities or is it dead!

    January 20, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. ron

    pinga,

    type in superdelegates at google, good definitions there. My understanding is that the super's are people in the party that have history, former gov's,presidents etc. I assume they have already commited themselves to one candiate or another.

    January 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Cecelia, Maryland

    Thank you Maynard, a voice of reason. I was at a social gathering last night where there were women age 55+ who were Clinton supporters. Once we got into a debate about the election, it was clear they were supporting Clinton because of her gender. When they were asked where she stood on issues, they could not articulate it. They said they admire Barack and what he stands for. They believe he's a stronger leader that can bring the country together. BUT they said the "young boy" needs to wait until his time comes. Hillary has waited for this office a long time and has prepared herself for it. So, there is no consideration of the issues, no consideration that because she's so divisive she will not get her plans passed the Senate (remember her healthcare bill). She deserves it because she positioned herself for it. It's sad when people vote for an important position like the presidency based on emotions. America wake up! We have an opportunity to have one of the greatest political leader of our time (40 and under) into the White House, please think about who you are sending there. Do we really want someone who is willing to sell her soul to the devil for power? Look at the tactics she's using to win the White House – lies and mischaracterizations. God help us all if she wins the White House.

    January 20, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. rabblerouser

    I find it interesting that when Obama won Iowa, he was touted by the press as the "winner" and "front runner" and Clinton was said to have lost by a large margin. Yet they were one delegate apart, which seemed to me that they were neck and neck. It was even stated by the Media (yes, them again) that delegates didn't matter, it was "momentum" that really counts.

    Now that Hillary has won the popular vote in NH and in Nevada, the Media are singing a different song, comparing delegates closely, saying that Obama has more, etc etc and explaining how complicated it all is, talking of national delegates. Once again it's clear that the Media is very much against Hillary and instead of reporting the news in an unbiased way, insist on interjecting their preference against Clinton and for Obama in every little "spin". Too bad most people can't see this...

    January 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Adrien

    Neither Hillary nor Obama can win the White House, especially if McCain wins the primaries. While it would be historic to have the 1st black or woman pres., it's not going to happen with these two. Hillary is too divisive & entrenched with special interests & Obama is too liberal & inexperienced. Neither of them will win any of the red states lost in 2000 or 2004. Edwards is the only candidate who has beat all republicans in polls. He is also the only one who has vowed to keep lobbyists out of his admin.

    January 20, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Thomas - Reno, NV

    Most of the Superdelegates have not decided yet. It is a CNN misnomer to award her with all of the superdelegates at this point. Especially since Sen. Obama has received some key endorsements from his colleagues that are superdelegates.

    January 20, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. DB

    It is prevented from a high population area from getting all the voting say. Same as the electoral college, perfect? No, but it is fairer and one of the basis our country was founded on.

    January 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. rabblerouser

    To Charlotte: You write: Until someone can come up with a better process. The process is the way it is whether we like it or not.

    Well, what's the matter with everyone having one vote and whatever candidate wins the most votes wins? I know this is a strange and unique concept...but isn't this supposed to be a goverment for the people, by the people?

    January 20, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Thomas - Reno, NV

    Three Questions:

    1. How many of you voted for Bill because of his experience back in 1992? He was relatively unknown. A Governor from a small state.

    2. Do you think Kennedy was elected on experience? Or how about Abraham Lincoln?

    3. Do you think that it's fair to give Bill a third term in the White House? He was no FDR, and he actually contributed to the recession of 1998 that we have all forgotten about.

    Selective memory is not good politics.

    January 20, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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