You get three guesses, and the first two don’t count. But if you guessed “the same campaign that did not get enough valid signatures to be on the ballot in either Pennsylvania or Illinois,” you would be absolutely correct!
Yup, John Kasich cannot win all of the delegates from Maryland. It is in fact mathematically impossible for Kasich to do so, at this point. Quick background: Maryland assigns 14 of its 38 delegates to the winner of the statewide race, and the other 24 by who wins each Congressional District. The CD delegates are directly voted on: the top three winners in each CD get to be bound delegates (for two votes) for their respective candidates. So, to win a Congressional District, each candidate must at the very least have three delegates formally running.
And this is where John Kasich messed up. As of March 1st, here are the number of delegate candidates Kasich has in each district*:
- CD 1: 3 delegates (0 alternates). Eastern Shore, R+14.
- CD 2: 1 delegate (0 alternates). Gerrymandered mess surrounding Baltimore and my home district, D+7.
- CD 3: 4 delegates (2 alternates). Another gerrymandered Baltimore-Washington mess designed to avoid a majority-minority seat, D+7.
- CD 4: 2 delegates (0 alternates). North DC suburbs, D+23.
- CD 5: 2 delegates (0 alternates). East DC suburbs and south Maryland, D+11
- CD 6: 1 delegate (1 alternate). Maryland Panhandle gerrymandered to flip the seat to D, D+4.
- CD 7: 1 delegate (0 alternates). Baltimore, D+23.
- CD 8: 2 delegates (1 alternate). Western Baltimore suburbs, D+10.
Note that Ted Cruz, to give just one example, has a full slate (and alternates) in each of these districts. Which absolutely makes sense, because every delegate counts at this point. So it’s remarkable that one of the candidates still in the race is in a situation where, even if he wins the statewide election, will find it impossible to sweep the delegates. John Kasich has a ceiling of 15 delegates out of 24, or 29 out of 38.
And, speaking in practical terms: there were a bunch of obvious errors here. Yes, you want to ensure that you have delegates in the Eastern Shore and I-95 districts. So stipulated. But MD-02, MD-06, and MD-08 are still good places for Republicans on the county level; MD-04 & MD-07 are places where, frankly, Republican votes are more valuable in this context because of their rarity value; and… I got nothing on MD-05, sorry, but Kasich still should have found a third delegate anyway.
There’s no really good way to say this, so I’ll just be blunt: depending on where you live in Maryland, you will be provably throwing away your vote if you vote for John Kasich. I don’t know whether he can win statewide (I kind of doubt it); but he’s going to get slaughtered in Congressional District delegates. It’s so bad that, unless you live in MD-01 and/or MD-03, if you’re a Kasich voter it’s not a question of whether you split your vote in the primary: it’s how you should split your vote in the primary. Which is to say, you’re probably going to end up voting for Ted Cruz at least a little anyway, so you might as well just vote Cruz all the way down the line.
PS: Again, this isn’t partisanship. This is math. The Kasich campaign should have put up a full slate. Because you never know when you might be running a primary season all the way to the end.
*All information via the Maryland State Board of Elections. I called the Board to confirm that the information on these sample ballots is accurate: they told me that overseas absentees are already being mailed out and that this, absent a major problem, is how the slates are going to show up in the primary. They also seemed rather pleased that people actually care about a Maryland Presidential primary for a change, which is fair enough.