ASSOCIATED PRESS | Stephen Ohlemacher | February 20, 2012
Below is an excerpt from the Associated Press article that discusses the delegate projections along with the entire nominee selection process.....
Most primaries and some caucuses are binding, meaning delegates won by the candidates are pledged to support that candidate at the national convention this summer. Political parties in many caucus states, however, use a multistep process to award national delegates.
In those states, The AP uses results from local caucuses to project the number of national delegates candidates would win if they are able to maintain the same level of support throughout the process. Those projections, however, can change because local caucuses are just the first step.
In Iowa, for example, more than 120,000 caucus goers attended local caucuses on Jan. 3. At those caucuses, they voted in a straw poll for president in which Rick Santorum eked out a 34-vote win over Mitt Romney. Paul finished third, about 3,000 votes behind.
The national media focused almost entirely on the straw poll results, but the real work was just beginning. After the straw poll was over, caucus-goers elected delegates to county conventions scheduled for March. Those conventions will elect delegates to congressional district conventions in April and the state GOP convention in June.
Delegates to the GOP national convention in Tampa, Fla., will be selected at the congressional district and state conventions, and the outcome may look very different from the results of the Jan 3 vote.
In most years, it doesn't matter because the party nominee is obvious by then, so the presumptive nominee gets all the delegates, regardless of who won in January.
Paul's supporters, however, plan to promote their delegates at every level of the process, regardless of what happens in the national campaign, Tate said.
"The ultimate goal is obviously still to win, to get enough delegates there to win the nomination," Tate said in an interview. "I think there's lot of secondary goals, to make sure that our and Dr. Paul's views are represented at the convention, represented in the platform."
"We want to make sure that the Republican Party understands that we are a major part of the Republican Party," Tate added. "We're not to be overlooked; we're not to be taken for granted."
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