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. Marko Dezdri, Portland, OR

    I'd hate a Clinton/Obama ticket. I do not want to see Obama in the White House at all. Hillary is way smarter than that. Obama will make the Democrats lose the election if he's part of the ticket.

    Hillary 08!

    Ready to Lead!

    January 20, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Mark, Wilkes Barre PA

    Who cares,, the bigger question is ,, How long will The dem/lib party continue to in fight before they implode ? while you all are fighting like first graders ,Huck just congradulated McCain for his win and thanked the other republican candidates for running a clean and respectful campaign ! WE the people are watching and laughing,,,,,, this election should have been a NO-BRAINER for you guys and you still managed to blow it,,,, Now your going to have to earn it,,, Good luck with your NEW I'm angrier than you are stratedgy ,,,, LMAO

    January 20, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Annie

    The fact is that it is the total number of delegates that determine who gets the nomination, just as it is the electoral college that determines who becomes President. If we do not like it, then we need to get the rules and laws changed. Until then, it is what it is. The Democrat nomination is won with 2025 delegates. There are 796 superdelegates, most of them have not pledged yet, and the rest are determined by the popular vote in primary states, and the number of delegates selected in the caucus states–county delegates won by popular vote go to county convention that select state delegates that go to state convention. Then the national delegates will be chosen at the state convention. Nevada gets 25 national delegates to go to the National convention Each state has its own rules in how those national delegates are selected, including the states that have primaries instead of caucuses.

    Since it is the number of delegates that determines the nomination, then why does the media say that Hillary won "Big" She didn't. Nor did she "win" in New Hampshire. She and Obama tied. Michigan has been stripped of its delegates because it didn't play by the rules. (Sorry Michigan residents, you have only your own state officials to blame for that) Florida is in the same boat as Michigan.

    So, the real headlines should have been-
    Obama won Iowa
    Obama and Clinton tied in New Hampshire
    Obama won Nevada

    If you do not like the process, and I am one that believes that the popular vote should be the determining factor in both, then the only way to get it changed is to become active in contacting the parties and the state and national legislators. It is just like complaining about who wins or looses, but not taking the time to actually vote. We the people can do anything, but not as long as we just sit back and complain about it.

    January 20, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. enomisa

    Why is the media constantly flogging Hillary? She is clearly the best person for the challenges we face as a Nation. Still, the media builds the Obama mania hype then labels it a racial issue when we don't agree. Hillary is my choice because she is the best person for the job period. Stack the caucauses against her all you want, distort her message and steal her delagates- she still triumphs as the people's choice and thus a true winner.

    January 20, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Rob

    How come the Clintons keep telling us what we need and continue to talk down to us as if we are the kids and they are the parents. The Come Back Kids (oops, not kid, I meant cryer) is back at it, telling us how they (Billary and Bill) need them. With BIllary, all we will get is 4 probably 8 years of fighting, finger pointing, divided gov and a divided nation. BIllary knows if she can't do it this year, she is done. The opportunity will never return, shes scared and they will continue to throw out everything at no cost to win. They smell..........

    With Obama we have hope, a chance to rie above, a chance for something new. The man is a leader. Please VOTE the O

    January 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Jason, College Place WA

    In 2004, Bush won more electoral votes and less of the popular vote. He was declared the winner...by law. Face it, Obama won Nevada and you have to dig deep to find the truth of the matter on CNN.com.

    January 20, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Rob

    One more thing. Adrien is absolutly correct. BIllary cannot win a general election. She will get reduced to sheds by Independants. I don't care who the GOP's nominee is, Independants will destroy her campaign. She would eb lucky to lose 48 to 52.

    VOTE the O, BIllary must GO !

    January 20, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. Tommy in SD

    I am a Hillary supporter and congratulations to her for her win, however I congratulate Obama too because he did win more delegates it appears. Although confusing I do understand NV. way of dividing delegates but let me say NV. is isolated when it comes to they way they distribute their delegates and so people and haters of Hillary face the fact she still kicked his butt their and get reaady because the only win I think you will see in for Obama anytime soon may be S.C. but Super Tuesday you will see Hillary start to leave Obama in the dust.
    Having said all that I hope that you all will quit dividing our party wth such hateful things that continue to get blogged by you all, I mean these are the kinda of things you would expect to hear from Republicans. So I hope when the time comes that Hillary is Nominated that you all will join her in defeating the Republicans and once again embrace Unity within our party. Please dont be fooled by any independant who may enter this race because if it is who they are presuming it to be then remember he was once a Republican and still leans that way and will govern in that direction too. And should I be wrong about Hillary then I will ask all the suporters of Hillary to embrace and support Obama, or Edwards. I love our Country and I love our Party they are the only hope for bringing that brighter future back in our picture.

    January 20, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Gabriel Jaramillo

    I personally think that CNN needs to not keep going for Odama. Everything that CNN broadcasters have to say is Possitive about Odama and negative about Hillary Clinton, Stop Hating on her, she is going to be the perfect President that the American People need., and its catching the eye of the American People. CNN is always putting Hillary Clinton in a Negative Spot and I dont think thats right, CNN is Brain Washing the American People by always talking negative about Hillary Clinton, just so CNN can see that Obama wins. Hillary Clinton is the best, and Like I will start posting these positive things about Hillary on Myspace and start a chain about her, and letting people know that CNN is bias, and is the only reason why CNN does what they do. If you call the news, stick with it, but don"t start picking side.

    January 20, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. TENI


    Superdelgates are like the supreme court. They REALLY decide who the president is. For example, in 2000 Gore won the popular vote, like Obama....he has more delegates that represent the VOTERS. While, Hillary Clinton has more superdelagtes, who represent no one but themselves and have the right to vote for a candidate. They make up about 20% of the vote. The thing is, Hillary Clinton has alot of ties to Washington, so she quite naturally has more SUPERDELEGATES. But Obama, has more delegates. So, Hillary can still win even though the people don't vote her as their nominee. Her friends may just do that. Like, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan who supports Clinton even though the people of Michigan were disenfranchised and Hillary refused to take her name off the ballot. Funny how politics work.

    January 20, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  11. Jon Cruz

    Yet another example of how patently ridiculous the caucus system is in any state. I'm a Democrat. We cried, "one person, one vote, equally weighted" after the 2000 debacle, yet we allow this kind of nonsense to continue in our own party.

    January 20, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. joe

    Why does the media want obama to win? If he got the nomination, he would loose and we would have more Republican years ahead. obama will bring change because he has no idea what to do. HILLARY BRINGS CHANGE AND EXPERIENCE.

    January 20, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. Robert- Portland, OR

    Debbie from WI...

    The fact is "NO Delegates have been awarded." Delegates have been pledged but not awarded, not even the Super-Delagates. These pledges can change before the convention and in Caucus States most often do before the National Convention. Obama has no guarentee of getting more delegates than Clinton and most likely will not after the state reconciles it delegates in April. This was clearly stated by the head of the DNC for Nevada in interviews with all the major media stations.

    January 20, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. darrell


    Hill/ Obama ticket is not happening.

    Obama has a whole slate of experienced possible VPs

    A long battle like this (delegate are the focus)

    Obama 08

    it is clear, his meassage of hope is tied to the Hopes of most americans.

    Change = Obama

    or Same old Experience = Hillary

    Modern Day Pharisees = the new young are not easily passified.

    Young people vission is for Change

    older youthful thinkers, know the past and knew the unemployment rate did not go down many black communites. Where was the healthcare safety net.

    January 20, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  15. Rima

    If they don't know who really won more delegates in Nevada until April, then why is the ridiculously biased media saying Obama won 13 and Hillary 12??? Buch of crap. call it a draw if you do not know. They make me so sick!!!

    January 20, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. James Brown ( Independent )

    Clinton is un-electable in the General Election. Independentsa won't vote for her , and Dems will cross over to keep her out of the White House...........WHY ?

    Because she is like Bush on Steriods , very dishonest and divides the country before she even has the job.

    Obama is really the only hope the Dems have of going all the way , and the sooner Edwards gets out of the way , the closer Obama's chances becomes a reality.

    January 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. Joe

    Constantly flogging Hillary?!??!! What?? They ask her softball questions,
    never make her explain anything, and seldom ask the tough questions like:
    What was she doing to protect the citizens when 09-11-01 occurred?
    How can she be so critical of Bush when her husband did some of the
    exact same things? (only without any dignity)
    What exactly is this 35 years of experience she keeps touting?
    Why won't they release the documents from the Clinton library?
    (It is the one that is shaped like a big trailer...fittingly)
    How come so many of their croneys ended up under indictment?
    What really happened to Vince Foster?
    What is her connection to Jim Gaston?
    Why does she cackle when she can't answer a question honestly?

    January 20, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. Rima

    Why are so many black people turning this into a race thing??? Please don't insult me by saying the Clintons did it first. No they did not. I know how to watch a tennis game and see where the ball goes and where it started from Barack Obama (God forbid you mention his true middle name), first started this when he compared himself to MLK so that he can sway all the Black voters to his side. Everyone knows that if he can get others to think he is like MLK, he will pick up huge black support. Come on, all HILLARY did is try to deflate this impact and call a spade a spade. HILLARY discussed how MLK was on the front lines not just talking but acting. He was there in the middle of all the attacks and assaults. HILLARY also addressed that all the efforts that MLK was hoping for needed to be and in fact did come to fruition based on the right president that fought to make it happen-LBJ. Even JFK couldn't make it happen, but LBJ did. So that's all it was. But it all started with a deliberate attempt to place race into this by OBAMA invoking the name of MLK and making himself on the same plane. GO HILLARY and those of you who are racist (and you can be a balck racist just as much as a white one) please leave race out of this. The fact that so many blacks want to vote for OBAMA now show that race is sadly what it is all about.

    January 20, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  19. Rima

    Obama is a sore looser as he left NEVADA before the votes were even tallied. Even he know it was over!!!

    January 20, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  20. Rima

    You fools who read made up libelous sites about HILLARY CLINTON prove that not everyone should have the right to vote. How can you be such morons when serious balck activists from the CIVIL RIGHTS movement as well as during BILL CLINTON's termsn clearly remember how hard they both worked for CIVIL RIGHTS. Don't you know that anyone can make a phoney web site and write whatever nonsense they want so that they can trick the gullible fools that read it and believe it. Learn how to research. If you were my student, you would get a big fat F.

    January 20, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  21. Rima


    January 20, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. Chris, Orlando FL

    And of course, David "Spinster" Axelrod was all over the Sunday morning news programs proclaiming an Obama win in Nevada. What a loser... how desperate does the Obama campaign have to be to defy the very logic, the very truth, that Clinton won a popular vote in Nevada, that she won a majority of the county delegates, and that she won the caucus itself? Period. End of story. There is no subtext here. And if there is, it should read: "Obama Lost in Nevada".

    January 20, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  23. A.R.B.

    I am an independant (vote for the best candidate person), but I can tell you that the Democrats have it ALL wrong this election year if they don't nominate Edwards. I would think they would want this to be a fair fight, which sadly even in this day and age, still means you need to pit white male against white male.

    Put Hillary against Romney or McCain, and you have the perception of a crying, whining litle girl with a surrupticious past and an obviously politically motivated farce of a marriage vs. the perception of tried and true, clean cut, All-American boys with armed forces service records and much more significant political experience.

    Put Obama against Romeny or McCain, and you have, let's be honest, a black muslim vs. white christians. I think too many independants/undecideds are going to get Farrakhan/Malcom X vibes come election time and it's going to scare them. I personally think race doesn't matter; I would have voted for Colin Powell in a heartbeat. It's not the "black" that will scare people, it's the "black + the muslim" that's going to scare people.

    Now, put Edwards against McCain or Romney, and you have a fair fight. White vs. white, male vs. male, significant political experience vs. significant political experience. And I would even think some independants/undecideds might give the sympathy vote to Edwards becuase he is perservering through this race despite his wife's terminal illness.

    In a nutshell, even if the country is sick of Bush, they aren't going to be so sick of him that they are going to let go of the ledge and compeletely shift an ingrained political paradigm of voting for white males. Edwards is the Democrat's best chance at a real race.

    January 21, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  24. Ellie, OR

    No, Annie, it should read:

    Hillary won New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Nevada
    Obama won Iowa.

    A win is a win. They each clearly won those states. Delegates are another matter.

    Face it, right now Hillary leads Obama in states won and total delegates (210 to 123).

    January 21, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  25. Jack

    I believe the winner to the white house will be Clinton and Kennedy because both will do the best job for low income, low job and end the war. We lost lot of good men during the war so it is time to put clinton and Kennedy into 2008 for 8 yrs and will have the best president and vice president than before maybe kennedy is too old but he is spotless smart at his age along with two clinton so vote clinton and who ever she choose for vice president

    January 21, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
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