UPDATED: Although I confirmed this story with one source at RPV, another more authoritative source at RPV indicates that the RNC has rejected the allocation resolution (embedded below) adopted by the State Central Committee, and determined that all 49 delegates must be bound by the results of the primary. News of this was not shared with members of the State Central Committee. So, I stand corrected, for now. It remains to be seen whether longtime Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell, who believes the RNC members should be allowed to be unbound, will get his way in Cleveland.
There are literally thousands of journalists covering the 2016 Presidential Race.
Not one of them (that we’ve seen) has gotten the count right for Virginia’s Republican delegation.
Under the rules of the Republican National Committee, Virginia is awarded 49 delegates to the national convention to be held in Cleveland. That delegation comprises:
1. 33 delegates elected at Republican Congressional District conventions in each of Virginia’s 11 districts (three from each);
2. 13 at-large delegates to be elected at the state convention in April;
3. Virginia’s 3 members of the Republican National Committee (the Chairman, National Committeeman, and National Committeewoman).
So, obviously, the math is pretty easy: 33+13+3=49. And that’s the math the news agencies have used when calculating how Virginia’s completely proportional allocation of delegates is made based on the results of the March 1 primary.
The problem is that they are all using the wrong number of delegates. Pursuant to the delegation allocation resolution adopted by the RPV State Central Committee last September, only the 46 elected delegates are bound by the results of the primary, leaving Chairman John Whitbeck, National Committeeman Morton Blackwell, and the as-yet-undetermined National Committeewoman (who will be either Cynthia Dunbar or Suzanne Obenshain) unbound (i.e., to vote how they please). Here’s the relevant language:
As Virginia’s representatives on the Republican National Committee, the Chairman, National Committeewoman, and National Committeeman shall not be bound.
So, what’s the effect? Politico, Real Clear Politics, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and others are reporting that Donald Trump got 17 delegates from Virginia, with Rubio at 16, Cruz at 8, Kasich at 5, and Carson at 3. They should really do a little better homework before they report on things this important.
Sorry to break it to the Trump, Rubio, and Kasich campaigns, but you each actually have one fewer delegate than you thought.
Here’s the actual breakdown, based on the allocation of 46 (not 49) delegates (note that the raw percentage must be rounded to the nearest non-fractional number):
(out of 46)
This is some minor good news for the Ted Cruz campaign, as their rivals all just took a tiny step backwards. Let’s see how long it takes our friends in the mainstream media to fix their mistake.
For politics nerds (like me) who might be interested, the Virginia GOP delegate allocation resolution is embedded below. The key bit is paragraph 4.