I've heard some mumblings recently that some Democrats on the State Central Committee may be considering voting for a convention process to select the candidate for Governor in 2009.
While I would be highly opposed to a closed process like this taking place, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what the convention would look like. This assumes a race of Brian Moran versus Creigh Deeds. The name of Leslie Byrne can not be ignored either, but she isn't actively running like Brian or Creigh are, so I won't analyze her chances until she says she is interested.
While the exact rules of the convention would be up to the Democratic Party of Virginia State Central Committee, the two most recent Democratic conventions have had the same rules. 2,000 Delegates, divided by Democratic votes in the last Presidential and Governor races (equally weighted). While the 2008 results would change this somewhat, the 2005 numbers will not change. So overall, calculating this now will slightly underestimate the area of the state trending the most Democratic (Northern Virginia).
Remember- with 2,000 Delegates, it would only take 1,001 to win.
Delegates by Congressional District under the Presidential/Governor Plan:
8th CD: 248 Delegates
11th CD: 212 Delegates
3rd CD: 211 Delegates
10th CD: 193 Delegates
7th CD: 192 Delegates
4th CD: 173 Delegates
5th CD: 173 Delegates
1st CD: 169 Delegates
6th CD: 149 Delegates
9th CD: 143 Delegates
2nd CD: 137 Delegates
As you can see, under that weighted plan Brian Moran would win 653 Delegates if he carried each locality in the three Northern Virginia districts, while Creigh Deeds would only win 292 Delegates by carrying every locality in the 6th and the 9th. Even if Creigh also won every locality in the 5th district (demographically similar to 6th and 9th, but different local politics) he would be at 465 Delegates or almost 200 short of Moran going into the rest of Eastern Virginia.
Creigh's best chance would be an old downstate trick of using only the Governor's election as the formula. Unfortunately for Creigh, this would be a bad year to do so because Jerry Kilgore over performed normal GOP performance in most of the 9th District. So while it would benefit him, the benefits would be considerably less than they normally would.
Using a Governor's only formula, the Congressionals break down like this:
8th CD: 236 Delegates
7th CD: 209 Delegates
11th CD: 204 Delegates
3rd CD: 203 Delegates
10th CD: 185 Delegates
5th CD: 177 Delegates
4th CD: 174 Delegates
1st CD: 171 Delegates
6th CD: 160 Delegates
9th CD: 146 Delegates
2nd CD: 135 Delegates
This would cut Brian Moran's take from the three Northern Virginia CD's to 625 Delegates (down 28 from formula above) while Creigh Deeds would get 306 Delegates (up 14 from formula above) in his strongest areas of the 6th and 9th. Include the 5th and Creigh climbs to 483 (up 18 from formula above). So overall Creigh would go into Eastern Virginia down 142 Delegates, instead of being down 188 in the Governor/Presidential formula, a fairly big swing.
Of course taking Presidential only, Northern Virginia would soar to being 680 Delegates, meaning Moran would only need 321 of the 1,320 elected downstate (24%) to win the nomination. Assuming current trends continue, that number might even go higher after the 2008 Presidential election.
So to review, here is how all three formulas would work out, assuming Moran can win all Delegates in the 8th, 10th and 11th, while Creigh wins all Delegates in the 5th, 6th and 9th.
PRES ONLY---------680 (34%)---------------446 (23%)--------------874 (43%)
GOV ONLY----------625 (31%)---------------483 (24%)--------------892 (45%)
PRES/GOV----------653 (33%)---------------465 (23%)--------------882 (44%)
Assuming, the combined formula, Deeds would need to win 536 of the 882 remaining Delegates to win the nomination, or 61%. In the Presidential formula, he would need 555 of 874 or 64%, while the Governor's election formula, Creigh would need 518 of 892 or 58%. As you can see, the formula selection would have a huge impact in the nominee.
In all formulas Moran starts over 100 Delegates ahead, so I would deem Moran the early favorite if the nomination method is a convention in 2009.
Of course, don't forget Leslie Byrne who could compete in caucuses with more liberal voters in a lot of areas around Virginia- and would make this race totally unpredictable. Never forget Leslie.