Texas primary could play significant role in presidential nomination

In four days, the Lone Star State will be at the forefront of the electoral spotlight.

A Tarrant County political official said this could be one of the most historical elections ever seen in politics. And with the Texas primary approaching, it seems to be an appropriate time for students to become informed.

“The most important thing to know about the primary on March 4 is that it’s a primary convention and not a caucus,” said Keith Annis, executive director of the Tarrant County Democratic Party.

Texas has an open primary system where voters do not register by party. An individual can vote in either – but not both primaries. Therefore, if a person voted in the 2006 Republican primary, he or she can vote in the 2008 Democratic primary, said Ralph Carter, chairman of the political science department.

Stephanie Klick, chairwoman of the Republican Party of Tarrant County, said there is a dual system in Texas, which means a person votes and can attend a precinct afterward.

“It’s not voting twice, but representing your candidate by your physical presence,” Annis said.

In the Democratic system, the delegates are proportionate to the actual vote, Annis said. If Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., split the Democratic vote, the number of delegates will reflect that.

Annis said Texas will send 228 delegates and 32 alternates to the Democratic National Convention in August. Of that total, 126 of the delegates will be determined based on the March 4 primary vote, he said.

The Republican primary vote will allocate 96 delegate votes of the 140 total delegates sent to the Republican National Convention, Klick said.

The difference in the number of delegates is because the two national conventions have different systems. Annis said with its number of delegates, Texas is significantly more important in the process of selecting a president than it has been in past years.

The early voting process has begun, and students can vote at any early voting site in the county to cast their votes.

“We’re all affected by the change, so you might as well be part of it,” Carter said.

For Your Info

Texas Presidential Primary Winners

1988 Michael Dukakis
1992 Bill Clinton
1996 Bill Clinton
2000 Al Gore
2004 John Kerry

1988 George H. W. Bush
1992 George H. W. Bush
1996 Bob Dole
2000 George W. Bush
2004 George W. Bush

General Election Winners
1988 George H. W. Bush
1992 George H. W. Bush
1996 Bob Dole
2000 George W. Bush
2004 George W. Bush

Registered voters as of January: 12,607,466
Female: 53 percent
Male: 47 percent

Other Facts:
The primary voting lasts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 4.
Early voting ends today at 7 p.m.
Precinct caucus is held 7 p.m. March 4 at your designated voting location.
To attend the precinct caucus afterward, you must have voted in the primary or early voting.

National Conventions
Republican: Sept. 1-4
Democratic: Aug. 25-28

Delegates at Stake
*Republican Party: 140

Where the 140 delegates come from:
96 “primary-chosen” delegates, allocated based on the results of votes cast March 4.
3 for each of the state’s 32 congressional districts. Person with more than half of the votes gets all three.
41 at-large delegates (special delegates) who will be chosen by the overall state results.*Democratic Party: 228

Where the 228 democratic delegates come from:
126 “primary-chosen” delegates, allocated based on the results of votes cast March 4.
42 at-large, “caucus-chosen” delegates that come up through the primary and county convention.
25 pledged “party delegates” allocated by the presidential preference of delegates attending the State convention.
35 unpledged “super delegates.”

To find voting sites in Tarrant County visit tarrantcounty.com