January 20th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
9 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. Billary suck

    It's not complicated
    Obama won more delegates.

    January 20, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Dalton, Winston-Salem, NC

    Interesting. This is the way they do it in a lot of states, too. I suppose it makes sense–each place is electing their own delegate. So if Clinton gets 100% of the vote somewhere, and Obama gets 51% of the vote somewhere else, they still get 1 delegate apiece, since each place is electing a delegate. Kinda like sending a mayor to a convention.

    I think I'd agree with that rule, too. I like it.

    January 20, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. H.Clinton

    None of the candidates can match Ron Pauls conservative record, integrity and support for the constitution and his consistant track record with no flip flops. During his 20 years in Congress Ron Paul has never taken a government-paid junket, has never voted himself a pay raise, and does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program. He has never voted for an unbalanced budget or to raise taxes, or to allow the govt. to spend our Social Security Fund money on other govt. expenses. He is a Statesman with integrity, who walks the talk. Paul, a veteran has received more donations from the troops then any other candidate. He served his country as a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force for 5 years. He voted against the war in Iraq, instead urged Congress to hunt down the terrorists responsible fo 9/11. Ron Paul will bring out troops home immediately to protect our national security and our borders here at home. Ron Paul is a Christian with true Christian values. He is not like other Christians who are warmongers, who support illegal pre-emptive wars, torture, and the killing of hundreds of thousand of innocent Iraqis. We owe nearly 10 trillion dollars, and continue to borrow money from China and others for this illegal war. We are virtually bankrupt. Ron Paul voted against the Real ID card, and the Patriot Act which violates are consitutional rights. He will restore habeas Corpus and our constitutional rights. As it stands, the Miltary Commission act and recent Presidential Executive Orders give the President the power to arrest any U.S. citizen, (anti war journalists, war protestors, etc), take their property and put them in jail WITHOUT the right of due process. Wake Up America. Save the Republic, vote for Ron Paul.

    January 20, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Moodi

    The fact is media including CNN completely try to overestimate Clintons and eliminate Barack Obama from his real place indirectly and directly.

    January 20, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    Your friendly editor from Iowa here. Please check the caption under your pic of Hillary and Obama for this piece.

    January 20, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Greg Jones Cleveland, Ohio

    Hillary is spreading falsehoods in black church speeches claiming that she was for the civil rights movement when in fact she was against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    GOOGLE: 'Hillary Against Civil Rights Act'.....Learn the Facts.....Then tell her to stop lying in black churches about her past !!!

    January 20, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Dr Ernie Young PhD

    Coop, here is the stright scoop; Obama, (Oh, Bomb U.S), clandestine, Muslim, hybrid, just wherein out that feel sorry for me colored race card. Wilders', Oprahs' and the unions in sin city endorsements mean zilch, so what, a bag of cotton for a bag of cotton support, who cares. Also, a so called new message of hope, reconciliation and change from a (Oh Bomb U.S.) Muslim; sounds more like a revised page out of Martin Luther’s King’s playbook. Hey, call me Obama I will debate your racist and bigot views any time any place. This is a black and white race to the White House and that is the truth but, everyone wants to be politically correct and that is politics as usual. Yes, Obama, AKA (Oh Bomb U.S.) he has himself made the election in 2008 a racial issue, dishonor on him.

    January 20, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. PJ, New York

    No matter how much CNN will try to deny it or read into it... Hillary Clinton is the winner! She will continue to win more states, including California and it will be all over. She will get the Democratic nomination!

    January 20, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Pat Shepard

    So if we don't know who will have won the most delegates, but at present it looks like its Obama, why does the main headline at CNN blare "Big victories for Clinton..."?

    And since she tied in the delegate counts in NH and Michigan (at 0), why is she listed as the winner in those states?

    Gee, I wonder what horse CNN is betting on?

    You guys are beginning to look like Fox.

    January 20, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. carol graves

    I think we shoud do away with the electoral votes and the popular vote wins the election

    January 20, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. SD

    Since Senator Obama did win the most delegates in Nevada, does that not make him the winner? Needless to say, I am perplexed at CNN's and other MSM not reporting this as a Senator Obama win.

    January 20, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Rose

    Though everyone say's this is not about race and gender, it is about race and gender.
    I do however, think gender gets beaten up. As a woman I take such offense the way the media has portrayed her. She is the first woman to run and Obama the first black to run. We will all gravitate toward the one we match. Obama has the black vote, Hillary has the woman's vote, but she also has some black and many Latino supporters.

    January 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Terri Patanus

    While I understand the process of the delegates I have to say that more and more each day that Obama has the chance of winning due to the fact that it will be given to him. Could it be due to color? I would say yes, no one questions anything he says or does. For example when he made the snide remark after Hiliary said she liked Obama and is smart ellic remark "I like you enough Hillary" I mean how rude. He should have been a man and CLEARLY stated the same. Then in his last debate with him, Hillary and Edwards. He had time issues on how long someone wanted us in Iraq. First it was 18 years then he said 13 years. Come on folks his stories are so full of holes and no one goes after him. SO this leads me to believe this is a black/white issue.
    I believe the Clinton campaign should challenge the Nevada delegates. I am sick of how CNN, MSNBC are bashing Hillary but dare to take a stab at the what I am speaking of well then you might be thought of as going after the balck guy. Is that why there are so many african americans on these shows then there were three years ago?
    I hope she wins and neither man Edwards and Obama are her choice as second in charge.

    January 20, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Desiree

    Each state election should be winners take all. Each state should have a primary that way everyone can have the opportunity to be involved.

    January 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. RAFi68

    obama will win south carolina , but then hillary will win everything else . hillary is the best person to win the general election not obama , but i tell this will end hillary as president obama as vice president you will see . why obama is not going to winn now because he just talk about change but those not .have a plan for that he said he will let he staff put all the shots this is how coprrution allways start , what he will be in the white house chilling . we need a president that is going to do the job and be a leader . not some who just going to change the furniture from the white house .

    January 20, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. tina ny, ny

    Obama!!! Respect voice of the voters.

    January 20, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. Jenny, Paxton, MA

    CNN, can you say "substance"? no one reads your so-called news beyond the all telling titles.

    GOOGLE Democracy Now and start from there, for straight forward information and clear insightful perspectives. they do not SPIN.

    January 20, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. please

    Give it up, CNN. You are ruining your reputation as journalists with this sort of inaccurate and openly biased coverage. You are clearly trying to keep Obama's head above the water, when it is obvious that his campaign is stinking..oh, I mean sinking. As far as I am concerned, you are no longer a source of news; you have joined the ranks of Star, Enquirer, and any other slander rag. I am embarrassed for you.

    January 20, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. aliou salam Jax FL

    we have seen the clinton machinery of lies and fabrication all along this campaign and it makes me sick. I hope all america is sick of the clintons as they are of the bushes.

    January 20, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. An Informed Voter


    You can "factor in" superdelegates all you want.

    And you can give overly lengthy "explanations" all you want.

    Senator Obama won more delegates in Nevada than Senator Clinton. Simple as that.

    January 20, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Versa

    I wish that all the news persons would wake up and stop making the story, but report on it. Senator Obama used the operative word "trajectory." Ronald Reagan did change the trajectory (the path of a moving particle or body) of the way some groups in America saw and did things. He (Obama) wasn't praising Reagan, but was making an observation.

    January 20, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Annie

    This is the same thing that happens in all states that have caucuses. Hillary didn't make it an issue in Iowa, but when Obama actually tied her in the delegate count in New Hampshire and now won more delegates in Nevada, the Clinton campaign will try to persuade everyone that she didn't lose in Nevada.

    January 20, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Connie


    January 20, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Juan Grain

    One issue that is getting a lot of attention is Florida Democrats being punished for changing their primary date to a sooner date.
    This might come back as unwelcome blow-back. Regardless of the reasoning behind the block, Americans do not like anything that resembles disenfranchisement.

    Americans die and have died so that all Americans would have the freedom & right to vote and have their voice heard. It might be that many in the party and on the cusp/Independants will say, you "the party" disinfranchised Americans in certain primaries, so what makes you think you will get my vote in the general election, Some might just return the love.

    January 20, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. California Lady

    Since Bill is also running for President along with Hillary, Barack certainly has an unfair disadvantage. People need to stop swooning every time Bill comes around and they need to start focusing on the issues. we need some change in the WH, not the same old people.
    Hillary is not well liked by a lot of the Washington uppercrust because of her methods and her rudeness and her unethical way in which she does about getting things doen. How much do you think she is going to be able to accomplish if she is President? She will have a fight on her hands every step of the way.
    Barack Obama on the other hand is very well liked and respected and will certainly not have those issues to deal with.
    Don't let his experience be your deciding factor in the vote. No President does it alone, they have an army of extremely well advised and experienced people at their disposal. Obama will be able to lead, Hillary will not.
    Please use your heads and stop swooning over Bill. Vote Obama for President

    January 20, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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