So: after I posted this article on the weirdness that is the West Virginia delegate selection process I then went and crunched some numbers. Luckily, the Secretary of State for West Virginia has provided us with delegate candidate lists – which meant that we could look at the data, and try to make sense of that data. So what I did here was export the list of the at-large delegates to a spreadsheet, isolated out the Donald Trump supporters, sorted them by town, then sorted them by county, and then finally sorted them by Congressional District. I then removed names and street addresses – because that’s what civilized people do – and came up with the table below of Trump delegate candidates:
Fortunately for my sanity, West Virginia has a clean CD map that follows county lines. So, so far, so good. To break it down farther, here are the county totals:
And here are the CD totals:
With me, so far? Great. Now where’s where the problems start for Team Trump. As we found out today, there is a cap imposed by the West Virginia Republican party: no more than two statewide delegates can come from any one county, or seven from any one Congressional District (the twenty-second delegate is apparently the top vote-getter, period). According to these rules, and assuming that Donald Trump’s delegates took the top thirty one positions in the final vote (they won’t)… the maximum that Trump can glean would be six in CD-01, five in CD-02, and seven in CD-03. In CD-01 he loses one duplicate from Harrison County. In CD-02 he loses eleven duplicates from Kanawha County. And in CD-03 he loses one from Cabell County. Under this scenario Trump would get the at-large as well, which would bump his total up to nineteen out of twenty-two. That gives him, at absolute maximum, thirty-one of thirty-four.
Shorter version: Donald Trump CANNOT sweep West Virginia. As in, even if he gets 75% of the vote or something. And fivethirtyeight.com‘s current projected range of 26 to 29 is over-generous as well. It’s not a straightforward “other candidates’ delegates will get the slots” – they have to be eligible as well – but it wouldn’t take very much for the Trump campaign to lose ten or so delegate slots to either other candidate’s delegates, or just uncommitted ones. If I was going to guess, I’d say five additional at minimum, fifteen max, final number around 23-25 delegates (out of 34 total) officially committed to Trump*.
And every little bit helps.
PS: I’m telling you all of this so that you understand what is happening on a technical level, here. I’m not in the faction that believes in giving voters the mushroom treatment; the more you know, the better it is for the Republic. And the better off the Republic is, the better off I will be. So, honestly, I’m just being selfish here.
*It’s gonna be a great time for any uncommitted official West Virginia delegate, let me tell you.