Friday, January 25, 2008
Ron Paul Second in Louisiana?
Ron Paul's unmatched grassroots support was in evidence once again in an early caucus state, this time in the Louisiana district caucuses on Tuesday night. According to official but preliminary results, Ron Paul appeared to earn the second highest number of committed delegates to the state convention on February 16th, behind John McCain, although the totals in some districts could still move in Paul's favor as provisional ballots are counted.
Ron Paul's share of the 105 delegates to the state convention is still unclear, due to a significant number of provisional ballots (500-650) cast by his supporters. Many voters who changed their registration to Republican ahead of the state deadline did not show up on the voter rolls, and their eligibility will have to be verified before they are counted. With over 10,000 people participating in the caucuses, a few hundred extra votes might seem inconsequential, but because the delegates are elected per district, in some districts the results could change substantially.
Louisiana gets 47 delegates to the Republican national convention, but its selection process is perhaps the most arcane in the nation. Three of the delegates will be state party officials, as is the norm. 20 of the remaining 44 delegates will be pledged to the winner of the statewide primary on February 9th, but only if the winner receives at least 50% of the vote. Only in Nevada has any winner topped the 50% mark yet, and that was in a low-turnout caucus, not a primary.
The other 24 delegates are selected at the state convention on February 16th, by the delegates selected in the district caucuses, and will be officially unpledged, but will naturally support the presidential candidate of their choice, which makes the results from Tuesday night critically important. If no one tops the 50% mark in the statewide primary, all 44 delegates will be officially unpledged, and selected at the state convention.
Ron Paul supporters are keeping a watchful eye on the results of the provisional ballot count, and have a largely-uncontested slate of alternate delegates available to step forward if any of the elected delegates to the state convention are unable to attend. The final results may not be known until after the February 5th Super Tuesday primaries, but the organization and enthusiasm of the Ron Paul Revolution in Louisiana has given all Ron Paul supporters another dose of optimism as we head into the heart of the primary season.
Update: According to "parocks" at the Ron Paul Forums, Enough provisional ballots have been cast, mostly by Ron Paul supporters, to add approximately 24 more delegates, if enough of the provisional ballots are ultimately verified.