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. Troy

    The media is demonizing Hillary. Now that she won again they say, "oh but Obama got more delegates," Excuse me, if you compare the number of delgates Hillary has now in several states, he's way ahead of Obama. Why can't people and the media just get it, Hillary won big time. Iowa's caucus is passe. It is now irrelevant and all you rationalizations are wrong. All you pundits and Hillary-haters, you are just incompetent and envious of her.You can't just take it that a woman is going to rule and govern you. Hillary is going to win the presidency whether you like it or not. HILLARY '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And also, Go NY Giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  2. Angela

    I wonder if Obama is a republican shill??

    I think it happedened in Fla when a relatively new politcal face Bill Mcbride came out of nowhere to knock Janet Reno (who was heavily favored to win against Jeb Bush) out of the race so he would ultimately loose (as predicted) to give Jeb Bush a second term in office.
    There was speculation that he was propped up and supported against Reno so Jeb wouldn't have to face her in the final vote.
    Fast forward...
    Out of all the Democratic candidates, Hillary is the most feared by the Republcians (no offense Mr. Edwards) – for a number of different reasons aside from simply loosing to her in November.
    Just a thought.

    January 21, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  3. carol

    There should be one debate, with one vote all on the same day. That the News Media gets the chance to choose our candidates with all of their negative, irresponsible, inaccurate, prejudicial, racist, mysogenistic tactics should be criminal!

    January 21, 2008 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  4. RedSea Foreign National

    Thanks to Joelene from Reno for your input and honesty! Very Interesting!

    Also, well said 'RAFi68' and 'please'!

    For me all of this just exposes that we do not have a truely democratic system of voting and that our system is able to be corrupted and subject to election fraud! It happened in 2004!

    I am Republican, but I do not not always vote in my party just because it is 'my party'. If I like another candidate in another party then I will vote for who I feel is the best person for the job! For me the Republican party has respectable people that I like, some respectable I do not like, and some nonrespectable people, but still none who are right for the job of president, .....except Ron Paul, who does not look likely to get nominated.

    I feel McCain will get the Republican nomination, and as much as I respect him, I would never vote for him as President. As much as I like Huckabee and think his tax plan is genius, but I would never vote for him as president. I think Romney is a very smart business man, but would never vote for him as president. So these are the only 4 Republican candidates I like or at least respect, but feel none of them are qualified for the job of president.

    I feel the Republicans (and some other democrats in the Congress & Senate) want Obama to win simply because if the democratic party wins the presidential election, then Obama will easily be whipped by Congress, so of course if the democrats win the presidential election, they would prefer to have Obama as the president (whipping boy)!

    Sorry to offend any Obama supporters, because even if he is a respectable person, I would never vote for him as president! He is very green and not experienced enough for such an office. He is irresponsible about voting, missing 254 votes while only 3 years a senator. Hillary has missed 143 votes in 7 years, (a senator more than twice as long as Obama). So how can I belive he will be responsible as a president? Also Obamas voting record is 97% of the time with his party, when he does vote, and Hillary votes outside of her party more, although not much, 94%, and 35% of the time there is bipartism agreement between Democrat and Republicans. Hillary has often voted against both parties when there is bipartisan agreement on an issue, especially on controversial issues, and she is not afraid to stand up to the president or Mr. Cheney! She has led the way and written personal letters to both confronting them and demanding answers on issues reagarding Iraq, the lavish government spending going on over there, and no bid contracts awarded for the spending. I respect her for this, and for the fact that she said she voted for the use of military force in Iraq, and now accepts she made a mistake. I also used to agree with it, but now vehemently do not! It is easy for Obama to say he was always against the war when he was not even a senator to vote on the topic, now speaking with with 20/20 hindsight! Since he is a senator he has always voted for the war! So Bill Clinton is right to say he is living a fairy tale on this topic!

    So I do not know which party I will end up voting in the presidential election, but my first choice for president would be Ron Paul, then Hillary, then Edwards, then Huckabee. There are certain choices I dread to have to make, like a choice between Obama/Guiliani..... Obama/McCain....... or the thing I fear the most is a McCain/Guiliani ticket, the absolute worst nightmare that could ever happen! A dream ticket would be Hillary/Paul, but not likely to happen. (I don't know if a democrat can chose a republican running mate or vice versa? Anyone know if it is allowed?)

    So I decide to vote for the candidate of my choice in the primaries, as I too have calculated voting one way or another just so a certain candidate does not get a vote, but it is not worth all of the calculating, it and in the end I think anyone is better than what we have now, except Obama or Guiliani. If it came down to these 2, I would rather see Bush/Cheney stay in office and experience the satisfaction of seeing them impeached and charged for war crimes in The Hague!

    I feel so passionately and speak sure of myself because I have done my homework, and I encourage all women not to vote for Hillary just because she is woman and all African American Americans not to vote for Obama just because he is African American! I feel this is driving the minds and mentality of many voters in America, so I really encourage people to do their homework and decide who is best for the job as president.

    Thanks again Joelene from Reno!

    January 21, 2008 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  5. ash

    One thing I learnt in life. Those who are good at gab are normally not good at actions and keeping those words.

    A lot of people may feel offended but it is easy to say "I have a dream" than actually converting that into a reality.

    A number of politicians have said so nice things and when the vulnerable masses vote them to power, they act just opposite of what they promised. Autocratic, whimsical and utter failure in keeping even the basic tenets of democracy.

    people from certain culture and background are still evolving to true democracy and working for the masses and creating a family name and a name for themselves. Most of these nations are still clannish and tribal thinking and vote on those lines. They react and act on pulse and moribund – frog in the well mentality – come out of the well and see the world with bigger horizon and vote for the right candidate and not with "empty promises".

    very few great leaders who really worked for the masses, rest used the masses, their frustrations, and mismanagement to carve out a name for themselves with no real convern for their well-being.

    I also have a dream to be in white house and milk the cow and in the process if something good comes out for the masses well and good, otherwise I still add my name to the list of presidents of the america, and a few coins in my pocket...

    January 21, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  6. Ginny CA

    Obama won't be president or vice-president. He doesn't have the strength, experience, or common sense to be a heart-beat away from the presidency. I believe Hillary will pick someone like Biden, a man of great character, experience, and wisdom.

    January 21, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. ingo

    The popular vote was not counted, that is a FACT!

    Yet CNN claims that they know who won it....

    What else can you say ?

    January 21, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. Aaron, Sterling VA

    In case you missed it, Ron Paul came in 2nd in Nevada.

    January 21, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. jimmy

    wow ingo did you at least read the article? In fact I can recommend a few books that will help you understand why the popular vote does not official elect someone, but rather plays in as a key factor.

    Remember this is not an electoral college system. This system is a democratic designed, owned, and operated. Just as the republicans have their own presidential selection process.

    January 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Tom

    I am still confused. Who is running for president. It looks very much like Bill. The only thing that I really recall about his time in office is him sitting there saying "I did not have sex with that woman". If that is the family that we are trying to put in the white house I have just become a republican.

    January 21, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Pat Shepard

    Those here who are saying that CNN loves Obama just cause me to scratch my head in confusion.

    How then, are they declaring Hillary had a "big win" in huge blaring headlines (you know, the things most people here look at) when she didn't win the state? Same goes for the ties in NH and MI. I look at the site and see pro-obama (true) statements relegated to tiny articles hidden in the site and misleading propogandic pro-Clinton statements as headlines on the front page!

    If you think she *did* win the state, I can only think you're happy with President Gore's 2000 victory.

    January 21, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. dmw, roeland park,ks

    Hillary won the populous vote; Obama won 13-12 in delegates. These are the same silly calculations that happens with caucues. That is why primaries are the best way to go It is amazing that a person can lose the vote, but, win in delegates. Sounds like Gore vs Bush in 2000. Yet, when you do include the superdelegates (there are 900 approximately in total), Hillary is in the lead, almost 2 to 1. Plus, there are very few states left that hold caucuses and most of the other states will be primaries. I see Hillary winning just about all other states with the exception of South Carolina and Illinois. It is my hope that she will win those two states as well.

    Obama's chant of 'hope'; 'change'; 'yes, we can; and 'fired up' is starting to wear thin and people are starting to ask: 'Where's the beef'? He is not ready to handle the pressures of the Presidency when America has so many issues in the economy.

    January 21, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Jack

    To whom it may concern. What dose it take to get a coment posted? Every time I submit one it never posted. Please respond.

    January 21, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Rob

    Yes, what happened to my comment

    January 21, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Erik

    Clinton still has WAY more delegates to the convention. With the pledged superdelegates she has almost 100 more delegates than Obama.

    January 21, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Chris

    I guess CNN censors this board because they deleted my last comment. Real democratic! Anyways, I've seen a Regan/Bush, Bush/Quayle, Clinton/Gore, Bush/Cheney presidencies in my lifetime and I am sick of it! GET THE BUSHES OUT, GET THE CLINTONS OUT!!! This is supposed to be a DEMOCRACY not shared ruling families! CLINTON NEEDS TO GO!

    January 21, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Jack

    Obama/Edwards is the one who started the attachs on the Clinton's. Why is Obama crying the blues about Bill Clinton? He need to think twice and speak once. He had Oprah out on the trail and various other VIP'S. The Clinton did not make any noise about said comments. I hope Bill continue to support his wife.

    January 21, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. enomisa

    There is so much confusion with the caucus system that we the people can not even tell when we have been denied our right to vote. Such ignorance is what the system thrives on. Hillary won the people's vote even though the caucus system was cleverly and unfairly set up to give an advantage to Obama. Hopefully the people will rally behind the person getting the short end of the stick- especially by the media which is supposed to be unbiased. Go Hillary!

    January 21, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. RuthieM

    CONGRATULATIONS, Obama! Keep up the great campaigning and the wins!!!

    January 21, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Chris-Seattle

    Sen. Obama and Sen. Edwards believe in transparent and accountable government by the people, of the people & for the people! Forgetting the politics of delegates, super-delegates and the process that elects unpopular Presidents and shuns the popular ones. America needs transparency and accountability especially when it comes to election time.

    What I don't think they believe in is corruption and censorship to cover up the corruption. The last 8 years has been cover up after cover up, mis-use after mis-use and in my opinion the Clinton's are not the poster children for transparent and accountable government. They totally smeared the White House with corruption that still lingers today like an old fart.

    From the sounds of the Clinton supporters, none of them must have been born when they were in the White House! It's either that or they're republicans in disguise, knowing darn well that Hillary will get creamed by the republicans come national election time.

    I've opted to label myself as an independent and I must say that if Hillary is chosen to lead the Democrats in the national election, I will vote Republican or not at all!

    God Bless the WORLD!

    Go Obama!!!

    January 21, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Finn

    Makes you wonder what Clinton is promising to those super delegates to have that many locked up so early?

    I think when we get down to the final 2 rep v dem a lot of people are going to see the reality of what Obama can offer and especially an Obama / Edwards Ticket. I can't see McCain being a real threat to them.

    January 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. No to Clinton

    DEM123
    You are indeed an idiot. This was not an awful defeat for Obama. At worst it is a tie. All of you saying that Obama lost are just rabid Hillraisers. I wish we could get to super Tuesday sooner. I can't wait to vote for Obama. I never ever want to see another Clinton stinking up my White House. If she is the candidate I will vote against her and her lying cheating husband. She is a fraud with her 35 years of experience. The only thing she ever did was health care under her husband. We all know how that turned out. She is so divisive that she can't even a small thing accomplished that everyone wanted. She (they) will divide this country for at least 4 years.
    White female 58 votes for Obama.

    January 21, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Fayth

    Go Hillary…..
    I for one miss the 90's.. and my house making me money.. Im sure America will wake up before Feb 5th and do whats right… She will Break the ceiling for all American's to run in 2016

    January 21, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. joy

    anyone know that we dont need another Bush, we need a real experience person to run our country, also we need a good politician, so I believe that Clinton and Edwards need to team up, helping our country.

    January 21, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  25. Screw Obama

    Enough with all of you calling CNN biased. Nevada is technically a win for Clinton because she won the most county convention delegates, and that is what determines the official winner. The DNC delegate estimate is just that, an ESTIMATE. Those numbers can change, and Clinton might end up with the win there too. So Obama has no official basis on which to declare victory in NV.

    Obama only did as well as he did because the sparsely populated rural areas are weighted so heavily, which I have never understood. I'm all for protecting the rights of the minority, but those people are not the minority. They are 90% middle-aged, white and conservative. What is the point of a democratic republic if the voice of the majority doesn't carry more weight? Statistically, the big cities are home to the young, well-educated, open-minded, tolerant individuals in our society. And they're voting for Clinton. That should speak volumes to all you Obama supporters. And who lives in those rural areas? People like my parents...under-educated, uninformed, stuck-in-the-mud republicans. And they're siding with Obama? Is that really who you want deciding your future???

    January 22, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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