Saturday, January 05, 2008

Wyoming's crippled caucus

Lost in the post-Iowa/pre-New Hampshire shuffle is the neglected Wyoming Republican caucus.

There are good reasons why this caucus is getting so little coverage, when it decides exactly as many Republican delegates (12) as New Hampshire.

First, the Wyoming Republicans decided to move their caucus from the formerly approved date of March 8th, to the much earlier January 5th. The Republican National Committee tried to deter Wyoming Republicans from moving their date up. Much like the DNC successfully did to keep the March 8th Democratic caucus date intact.

In response to Wyoming moving their date, the RNC has cut their 28 delegates to only 14. And local party rules are reserving two delegates to be selected later, so only 12 are to be decided today. Additionally, the RNC has asked the Republican candidates to not make any appearances in the state for a month before the Iowa caucuses. So nobody has shown up in Wyoming since the first week in December.

No candidates = no press coverage

This early in the race, visibility and momentum are much more important than sheer delegate numbers. This helps with fund raising and media coverage. If the only thing that counted was delegates, all the candidates would be ignoring backwoods states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and they'd focus all their attention on states like California, NY, and Texas.

A few other states have messed with the national committees and have been stripped of delegates. Michigan and Florida are both being punished by the DNC for moving into January without permission, which is why we're not hearing much about those more populous states. February 5th is the earliest date the DNC allows non-authorized states to hold their primaries/caucuses.

That's why we're getting over 20 states, representing about half the delegates, holding their elections on that date.

At 6:30PM, the latest results I have for Wyoming is Romney taking 8 delegates, Thompson taking 2, and Hunter getting 1, with 1 more to be decided.

And most people couldn't care less.

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