Ron Paul's Fuzzy Delegate Math

Updated from Feb. 10, 7:47 p.m. with further clarification of the 13 delegates from one precinct in Larimer County mentioned by Paul's campaign manager

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ron Paul is crunching numbers using some fuzzy delegate math.

Paul's campaign manager John Tate said Wednesday that the Texas congressman was poised to pick up a larger share of delegates from Colorado than what the vote may have shown, but it appears that Paul's delegate claims there are misleading.

Ron Paul

"In one precinct in Larimer County, the straw poll vote was 23 for Santorum, 13 for Paul, 5 for Romney, 2 for Gingrich. There were 13 delegate slots, and Ron Paul got ALL 13," Tate said in an email to the press.

The problem with that delegate count is that not all of those 13 delegates will directly vote in Colorado's state caucus or congressional assembly -- the two bodies that select Colorado's delegates for the Republican National Convention, at which the party's presidential candidate is nominated -- and none of those 13 are delegates for the GOP National Convention.

"Candidly, it's very misleading how he's describing it, and that's unfortunate, but ... the precinct caucus is just the first step in a multistep process," Ryan Call, Colorado Republican Party chairman, said in an interview.

Put simply, Coloradans voted Tuesday night in a Republican straw poll. After each precinct tallied the straw vote and reported the numbers to the state party, they then voted on which delegates would go to the county assembly to represent the precinct. Each precinct then chose from the group of county-appointed delegates which ones would be sent to the congressional assembly and the state caucus.

People in the precincts who wanted to run as delegates for the county assembly had the right to announce which candidate they supported, but they could also remain uncommitted. The uncommitted delegates, Call said, would essentially run on the premise that their fellow precinct voters could trust their judgment when it came to picking delegates to represent the right candidate.

"What we did find, however, is that a lot of the Ron Paul delegates refused to tell their caucus voters who they were supporting," Call said. "That's unfortunate to a degree because then that undermines the representative nature of caucuses and assemblies."

The Paul campaign's claim that it won all 13 delegates in one precinct in Larimer County and all five in Delta County is not incorrect, but the assertion leaves out the fact that not all of those delegates get to vote for the placement of national delegates.

"For my precinct on Tuesday night we had six delegate slots, six alternate slots for a total of 12, so I'm already skeptical," Tom Lucero, former Larimer County GOP chairman, said in an interview. "My guess is it was 13 total slots to county assembly." That would include alternates, Lucero said.

Lucero said that each precinct in Larimer selects total delegates (primary and alternate delegates) and then chooses from those delegates which ones will go to the congressional assembly and state caucus.

Paul spokesman Gary Howard did clarify in an email the 13-delegate claim in Larimer County: "It is 13 delegates to the county convention. Not national. County conventions then elect to district and state who elect national delegates."

By "district" in Colorado, Howard means congressional assembly. Also, the county convention doesn't "elect" the delegates who go to state and congressional -- those were chosen on Tuesday among the county delegates, Call said.

Here's the process: There are a total of 3,826 delegates who go to the congressional assembly and state caucus. Those delegates are split evenly between the two.

The congressional assembly in Colorado is made up of seven regions of the state. The seven regions amount to a total of 1,913 delegates (and an equal number of alternates in case a delegate is absent) who were chosen by the precincts -- which is usually about one or two delegates per precinct. Those 1,913 delegates in the congressional assembly then choose 18, or half, of Colorado's 36 total national delegates to be sent to the national convention.

The state caucus' 283 delegates -- which are a separate group from the congressional assembly and, like the congressional assembly, one or two come from each Colorado precinct -- then select the remaining half, or 18, national delegates for the Republican convention.

So really, the number of delegates from, say, one precinct in Larimer County who go to the congressional assembly and state caucus to directly choose the national delegates are a fraction of the total delegates. If each precinct on average sends about two to four delegates out of the 3,826 total, then that's less than one-tenth of 1% of the total.

Tate's Wednesday press email noted a "few significant takeaways" about delegate counts from some of the contests so far.

First, Tate noted that the Missouri primary (which Rick Santorum won) was a non-binding beauty contest. This is true as Missouri won't hold its caucuses until late March. The primary has no binding merit on the placing of national delegates.

Tate then noted that Iowa has not placed any of its 28 delegates. That's also true as Iowa won't choose its convention delegates until June.

Tate claimed that in Minnesota the campaign had a strong majority of the state convention delegates and that the campaign was well-organized to win the bulk of the delegates there. Santorum, however, won the Minnesota GOP presidential caucus on Tuesday, taking 45% of the vote to Paul's 27.1% share.

"They don't have a majority of the state convention delegates in any state, period, guaranteed," a Santorum campaign source said in an interview.

Tate then noted in the press email that they picked up all five delegates in one Delta County, Colo. precinct after Santorum received 22 votes in the straw poll against Paul's eight.

"I don't know how they came up with that delegate number, because we don't have anything in our caucus process ... when we sign up our county delegates ... that says you're a supporter of this, you're a supporter of that," Don Suppes, Delta County GOP chairman, said in a phone call. "The only way that could be is if some internal person in that caucus knows who all their supporters are and they all got volunteered to be delegates."

It is possible that Ron Paul received all 13 delegates from a precinct in Larimer County and it's feasible that he received all five delegates in Delta County. It's not unusual in caucus states that a candidate who loses the straw poll actually grabs more delegates in a precinct, but those delegates Tate notes in his statement amount to a fraction of the body of delegates who vote in the congressional assembly and state caucus to appoint the national delegates from Colorado.

"Right after the caucus I got an email from one of Paul's Colorado chairman for his campaign, and they were asking for a list of the delegates and I don't know why they were so interested in that list," Suppes said. Suppes said Paul's was the only campaign to request the list.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

>Contact by Email.

>Follow Joe Deaux on Twitter. Subscribe on Facebook.

If you liked this article you might like

Monster Beverage Stock Soars as Coca-Cola Opens Refreshing Partnership

Monster Beverage Stock Soars as Coca-Cola Opens Refreshing Partnership

Gold Pares Losses as Ukraine Says Its Troops Attack Russian Convoy

Gold Pares Losses as Ukraine Says Its Troops Attack Russian Convoy

Cisco Stock Biggest Dow Loser as Company Cuts 6,000 Jobs

Cisco Stock Biggest Dow Loser as Company Cuts 6,000 Jobs

Gold Demand Slumps as Increasing Prices Slow Asian Demand

Gold Demand Slumps as Increasing Prices Slow Asian Demand

Gold Demand Shrinks a Year After the Infamous Market Collapse

Gold Demand Shrinks a Year After the Infamous Market Collapse