So, there’s speculation here and apparently elsewhere that Gabrieli’s run has an outside chance of keeping Tom Reilly off the ballot entirely, by depriving him of the 15% of delegates at the convention. Well, that would be shocking, but if Gabrieli’s self-commissioned survey is accurate, you can at least imagine the scenario:
Gabrieli, the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2002, said yesterday that he is encouraged by a survey he commissioned. The poll indicates that about a third of the convention delegates elected at caucuses in February are uncommitted to other candidates, Gabrieli said.
If he can secure the signatures of 500 convention delegates, he will need support from 15 percent of the projected 5,300 party activists who will gather in Worcester June 2-3 to qualify for the primary ballot.
The survey of about 2,000 delegates suggests that Deval Patrick has a 3-to-1 lead over Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, according to Gabrieli adviser Joe Ganley. Reilly was slightly above the 15 percent mark, and Patrick was just below the 50 percent needed for the convention endorsement, Ganley said.
My emphasis above.
Reilly just above 15%? I tend to doubt that, but if nothing else, this may scare the Reilly folks into really hustling for their delegates among the undecideds, which may be a useful discipline for a campaign that will need volunteer enthusiasm and muscle should their candidate win the party’s nomination.
And this may post-hoc increase the profile of the caucuses, which the press, public, and even campaigns seem to dismiss as inside baseball. Of course, they are; but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter at all.
In any event, here’s the nutshell quote from Patrick campaign manager John Walsh:
”Counting delegates is like holding Jell-O in your hands,” Walsh said.
So, you might say that the situation is still fluid, and that Patrick’s support has yet to gel. Or that Reilly’s still got some wiggle room to get his 15%.