With Romney’s delegates, McCain a shoe-in

As if we didn’t know he had the nomination already. But Mitt Romney’s plea to his delegates to switch their allegiance to John McCain at the Republican convention would nearly earn the Arizona senator the 1,191 delegate votes needed to clinch the GOP nomination.

McCain is almost automatically assured of the nomination, and Romney’s gift would take “almost” out of the equation. According to RealClearPolitics.com, McCain already leads remaining rival Mike Huckabee, 825 to 240. If all of Romney’s 291 delegates switch over to McCain, he will only be about 70 votes shy of the nomination.

It is doubtful that Romney’s delegates will refuse his request. It makes no sense for Republican delegates to prolong a viable challenge from Huckabee, an ordained baptist minister who enjoys little popularity with the GOP establishment — he is too far to the right on moral issues and too far left on fiscal ones. They will likely turn over the votes and get the race over with, letting McCain concentrate his ammunition on the Democrats and begin his fight for the White House in earnest.

 

Clinton wins New Mexico… barely

Hillary Clinton earned a razor-sharp, 1 percent win over Barack Obama in Thursday’s New Mexico Democratic caucus. It was her first victory, however narrow, since Super Tuesday nearly two weeks ago. Unfortunately for her, Obama’s sweep of the intervening primaries in Washington, Lousiana, Nebraska, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. still has him ahead in delegates, 1,276 to 1,220 according to the Associated Press.

If a 1,700 vote advantage is all Clinton can muster in a heavily Latino state such as New Mexico, she has a lot to worry about. Her win there gave her only 2 more delegates (14-12) than Obama, hardly the kind of margins she needs to catch up. Even if she wins the biggest prize remaining — Texas, with its sizable Latino population and nearly 200 delegates — she better win it by a larger margin in order to really eat into Obama’s lead. It seems Texas’ complicated “primacaucus,” as The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder calls it, allocates most delegates proportionally (by senate district), with about 70 more delegates divided by caucus through some wierd mathematical formula. And unlike California, the overall winner in Texas does not automatically get a chunk of delegates, which means that unless Hillary wins by considerably more than she did in New Mexico, she will end up pretty much in the same place as she is now.

So a Texas loss (or a razor-thin win) by Hillary would pretty much make Ohio and Pennsylvania do-or-die country.

 

Sources say Romney to endorse McCain

Various news outlets are citing anonymous sources as saying that failed GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney is going to endorse John McCain for the Republican nomination.

Observers of this blog may have noticed that many of our recent posts have focused on the Clinton-Obama race. This is not, I repeat, NOT, due to blatant partisanship by us minions in the “liberal, left-leaning mainstream media,” as our critics are fond of calling us. The bottom line is, the Democratic nomination is still a race. The GOP contest, on the other hand, was over on Super Tuesday. And people would rather follow an ongoing fight than an extended victory speech.

Romney’s pending endorsement, following on the heels of McCain’s newfound support among the GOP leadership including House Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Roy Blount — both of whom have clashed with him in the past – further cement the obvious: John McCain is the Republican nominee for the 2008 presidential election.   He’s got almost 820 delegates. Mike Huckabee has 240. You only need 1,191 to clinch the GOP nomination.

Game over.

 

 

Calderon enlists FTD’s help in quest for speaker’s seat

Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Industry, is pining for the speaker’s seat with all the earnestness of an awkward romantic suitor.

Calderon went so far as to send each of his Democratic female colleagues in the Assembly a dozen yellow roses Wednesday, an apparent attempt to garner support in his quest to replace outgoing Speaker Fabian Nunez.

According to the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert blog, the flowers were accompanied with a note that read, If I cant have your heart, Ill settle for your vote. Please be mine, Chuck Calderon.

Calderon is one of several local legislators vying to succeed Nunez as leader of the Assembly, including Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena and Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina. But his chances have been hindered by several factors, including his ties to lobbyists such as political consultant Richie Ross and his conservative reputation (for a Democrat). California Minority Report considers him a long-shot for the position, giving him 20 to 1 odds in the race for the speaker’s seat. 

Solis tries to hold Latino line for Clinton

Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, has just appeared on CNN’s “Situation Room,” ostensibly to help hold the lead Sen. Hillary Clinton has among Latino voters. She appeared opposite Federico Pena, who served in the transportation and energy secretary posts in Bill Clinton’s administration. Despite his history with the Clintons, Pena has endorsed Obama for the presidential nomination.

Defections by Pena and other former Clinton loyalists (ex-Clinton campaign manager David Wilhelm announced today that he too was backing Obama), following Obama’s sweep of the Potomac primaries Tuesday, give Clinton plenty of reasons to try to secure her lead among Latinos, whom are quickly turning out to be her last major bastion of support.

That lead appeared to have eroded slightly in Virginia, where most Latino voters supported Obama (54 to 46 percent according to exit polls, though they made up only 5 percent of the sample). So it was no surprise to see Solis, one of Clinton’s staunchest Southern California Latina supporters, hawking the New York senator to Wolf Blitzer. Solis made the same case on CNN as she made in a rally she organized just before the Super Tuesday primary in El Monte alongside Latino veterans, touting Clinton’s efforts in the Senate to pass legislation improving benefits to returning service members. She also promoted Clinton’s universal health plan, a concept popular with working-class Latinos.

Pena, on the other hand, expressed his belief that Obama presents the best opportunity to unite Democrats, independents and even Republicans come November. That belief is supported by polls that show Obama with a slight lead in a hypothetical matchup with John McCain.

The Latino vote will prove crucial in heavily Hispanic Texas, the largest primary left, on March 4. With the latest primary victories having given Obama a 1,271 to 1,232 lead in overall delegates according to Real Clear Politics, Clinton can’t afford to lose in the Lone Star State.

 

CBS: Obama leads Clinton even after factoring in superdelegates

CBS News appears to be one of the first mainstream media outlets reporting an overall Barack Obama lead, even after factoring in Hillary Clinton’s lead among superdelegates.

According to CBS, Obama has a total of 1,143 delegates versus Clinton’s 1,132. A total of 2,025 delegate votes are needed to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

This again raises the obvious question: If Obama goes into the covention with a pretty solid lead among state (pledged) delegates, what are the chances that most of those Clinton superdelegates will move to the Obama camp? Bill Kristol at the New York Times believes not only that they will, but that they will do so sooner rather than later. He also predicts that Obama’s momentum will carry into today’s Beltway primaries and beyond:

“All in all, Clinton seems to be slightly ahead. She wont be for long.

“On Tuesday Obama is expected to prevail in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. So around 9 p.m. Tuesday night, television networks probably will be announcing, for the first time, that Barack Obama holds an unambiguous delegate lead.

“His lead in votes which is already in the neighborhood of 200,000 will probably have widened. And Obama should be able to increase those delegate and popular vote totals on Feb. 19, when Wisconsin and Hawaii go to the polls.”

Kristol believes, as I do, that the superdelegates will likely support the popular candidate rather than their original choice, in order to not incur the wrath of voters when they themselves come up for reelection (most superdelegates are Democratic members of Congress and state governors — in other words, elected officials).

There is a good reason to trust Kristol’s instincts on this one. There is a certain clarity that comes from the detached observation of one end of the political spectrum by someone firmly cemented at the opposite end. And Kristol, considered by many as one of the founders of neoconservatism, is about as far away from the left as possible.

 

County report: Most independent Valley votes counted

Reporter Alison Hewitt just called in some numbers from the county’s audit of ballots cast by independent voters last Tuesday in what has come to be known as the “Double Bubble Trouble” fiasco. According to Hewitt, most independents from congressional districts in the San Gabriel Valley were able to navigate through the county’s confusing and poorly-designed ballots and make their votes count.

The best performing district was the 26th, represented by Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas. Nearly 100 percent (97 percent) of non-partisan voters there were able to successfully cast their ballots. Adam Schiff’s 29th District, which encompasses much of the western San Gabriel Valley, had an 81 percent success rate, while about 79 percent of decline-to-state voters in the 32nd District (represented by Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, and including much of the south-central valley) filled out their ballots successfully.

Rounding out the rest of the San Gabriel Valley/Whittier area were the 42nd District (represented by Gary Miller, R-Brea and including east Whittier, Diamond Bar and Chino) with an 88% success rate and the 39th District (belonging to Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Cerritos and including west Whittier) at 79 percent. Figures were not available for Grace Napolitano’s 38th District, which includes Santa Fe Springs.

Non-partisan voters in the Valley did very well compared to those in other areas in the county. Worst off were those living in the 37th District, where only 44 percent of decline-to-state voters correctly cast their ballots. The district is represented by Democrat Laura Richardson and includes the cities of Long Beach, Carson and Compton.