New Jersey Awards All Delegates to Giuliani

The first primary is still eight months away but Rudy Giuliani has won New Jersey’s 52 delegates. Well, almost.

Marc Ambinder reports that the New Jersey GOP is likely to switch from a precinct to a winner-take-all model for awarding its delegates. The former New York mayor is considered a shoe-in to win, given his favorite son status and organization.

Here is what [Ocean County GOP chairman George] Gilmore [chairman of the committee of county chairman] and [David] Von Savage [chairman of the Cape May County Republican Party] want to accomplish: the moment New Jersey Republicans announce that they’re awarding all their delegates to the winner—whoever he may be—the race freezes. Giuliani, who has locked up more than half of the county chairs and virtually every major Republican endorsement the state has to offer, becomes the winner. Immediately.

And that means that Giuliani won’t have to campaign in the state. He won’t have to court, cuddle, or plunder the wallets of wealthy Republican donors in New Jersey. His absence will free up millions of dollars in political money that could be better directed at state legislative races. And when he does come to New Jersey, his activities can be devoted to furthering local ends. As Von Savage told a New Jersey paper this week, “Rather than spending money to pick up extra delegates in targeted areas of the state, if it’s winner-take-all, he (Giuliani) can raise money for the candidates who are in the state and keep it in the state.”

The benefits for Giuliani are calculable. Republicans in the state estimate that he’d have to spend as much as $6 million under the old rules to ensure that he’d win a good majority of the delegates. If he only has to win a bare plurality, Giuliani’s campaign manager can spend that money elsewhere.

The benefits to Von Savage are considerable as well. The potential president of the United States will be in Von Savage’s debt for more than 50 convention delegates, and for allowing him the ability to spend money elsewhere ahead of the February 5, 2008, super-primary.

It sounds like a shrewd move for the county chairman. Certainly, a winner-take-all system is not uncommon, nor is changing the rules to benefit local favorites.

Ordinarily, I cry “foul” at changing the rules once the game is underway but it seems now that the game never ends. Indeed, it’s early enough in the process that we normally wouldn’t even be paying attention, except for the fact that this campaign started before the last one ended.

via Hotline On Call

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael says:

    Still better than in Florida, where the Democratic primary may not even count!