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Ron Nehring

Dick Morris Gets it Wrong about California’s Republican Primary

I enjoy watching Dick Morris on the Fox News Channel.  He’s a very clever, interesting analyst who always finds a way to keep the audience engaged on the topic of the day.

Unfortunately, in his most recent assessment on the state of the Republican nominating contest, Morris continued perpetuating a factual error about California’s June 5 presidential primary.

For some reason, in recent days I’ve seen an unusual number of factually incorrect press reports erroneously stating that California’s Republican presidential primary is “winner take all.”  This is not correct.

When California allocates its 172 delegates following the June 5th primary, it will do so by Congressional District.  Each district will send three delegates and three alternates to the national convention.  The candidate who wins the plurality of the vote in a Congressional District will win the three delegates and three alternates from that district.

Only the state’s 10 at-large delegates are awarded “winner take all” to the candidate who wins the plurality of the statewide vote among California’s 5+ million Republicans.

The state’s delegation consists of:

3 delegates awarded to the candidate who wins in each Congressional District.  3 x 52 = 159
10 statewide delegates = 10
3 members of the RNC = 3
Total: 172

California’s proportional allocation of delegates is plainly stated in the RNC’s summary document here.

Prior to 2004, California had historically awarded all of its delegates to the candidate who won the plurality of the statewide vote.  That was changed for the 2004 election, but since President Bush ran unopposed the new rule had no effect.  In 2008, Mitt Romney won 5 of California’s 53 districts, and McCain won the remaining 48.