Idaho GOP Delegates: A Drop In The Presidential Nomination Bucket

Mar 5, 2012

BOISE, ID – Voters in ten states including Idaho choose their Republican presidential candidate tomorrow as part of Super Tuesday.  It’s “Super” because more than 400 delegates will be divided up.  Scott Ki reports on how Idaho’s GOP delegates stack up with other states.

Idaho Republicans have 32 possible winner-take-all delegates when they choose a candidate on Super Tuesday.  That’s more delegates than Arizona’s 29 or Michigan’s 30, even though those states have at least four times the population of Idaho.  Jonathan Parker is executive director of the state GOP. He explains Idaho’s delegate count.

Jonathan Parker:  “It’s a number that’s handed out by the Republican National Committee based on various factors.  Number one, population but number two, it’s a system that rewards states that are reliably Republican.”

For example, Idaho’s four members of Congress are all Republicans.  So the state gets bonus delegates for that.  Arizona and Michigan were penalized by the Republican National Committee because they moved their primaries up into February.  The Idaho GOP meanwhile moved from a May primary to a March caucus this year, but they didn’t break party rules.  Boise State Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief says that move matters.

Gary Moncrief:  “It matters in the sense that Idaho has some more visibility.”

That visibility has already attracted the top four candidates on the GOP ballot to Idaho.  In terms of sheer numbers, Idaho comes in 7th among the ten Super Tuesday states.  The Idaho GOP says the state matters because the winner of the caucus will get all of the state’s delegates.  But Moncrief says Super Tuesday itself may not be that important.

Gary Moncrief:  “The other thing to keep in mind here is that none of these states matters in terms of the total numerical allocation”

Moncrief says it takes nearly 1,200 delegates to nominate a candidate and Super Tuesday doesn’t get any of the hopefuls close to that.  He thinks the contest will take until perhaps May before a GOP candidate seals the nomination.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio