Lamont's delegate count does not matter
An excellent post from DavidNYC at Swing State Project. Read and learn.
Connecticut's state Democratic convention begins tomorrow. The main event is candidate selection, which is done by a vote of the delegates. If any candidate gets 15% or more, s/he wins at automatic spot on the August primary ballot. Unsurprisingly, Joe Lieberman is trying to play the expectations game, making ridiculous, grandiose predictions that Ned Lamont will take 30% or or move of the delegates. To its credit, the Hartford Courant is aware of the shtick Joe is trying to pull, but I wouldn't be surprised if other tradmed outfits fall for this pathetically transparent gambit.Bingo! DavidNYC gets it.
But there's also some very good news: Getting 15% doesn't matter. Not only does it not matter, it might even be salutary if Lamont doesn't hit that mark. No, I didn't just get fitted for rose-colored contact lenses. Here's why: Lamont has been working hard to get on the ballot via an alternate route: gathering signatures from 15,000 of the state's Democrats. It's an expensive and difficult process, but well worth it.
When you have to petition to get on the ballot, that does two things for you. First, you're forced to ramp up your field operation early. That means you've got a bigger volunteer base, more experienced campaign workers, and a field team that runs like a proverbial well-oiled machine months ahead of schedule. Second, you get the names of tons and tons of supporters. The law requires 15K sigs, but because of the inevitable challenges and invalid names, you generally want about twice that. And psychological research shows that the mere act of getting people to sign a statement of support (which is what a petition is) makes it much more likely that they'll continue in that support at a later time.
Successfully petitioning to get on the ballot would also be a nice feather in Lamont's cap because it would be the first time any major-party statewide candidate has done that in CT. Connecticut used to not have a petition process at all - you had to get 15% at a convention or you were out of luck. That system was recently ruled unconstitutional, so Lamont could make a little bit of history here.