Wrangle for Delegates Takes Over Primary Race

District-by-district battle awaits on road to national conventions
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2008 10:05 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who endorsed McCain for president, speak to reporters during a campaign stop at the First Watch Cafe ahead...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Candidates are taking a much closer look than they used to at the arcane art of winning delegates, not states, in this year’s presidential primaries, reports the New York Times. For the first time in 20 years, the headline-grabbing early races haven’t determined the national outcome, and candidates now face a complex and costly race to win delegates district by district.

"At the end of the day, this is a delegate contest," said Barack Obama's campaign manager. Democratic rules mean closely matched candidates could share a district’s delegates, so the campaigns are focusing on districts with odd numbers of delegates. Republicans are courting the few registered Republicans in heavily Democratic districts in California, where securing a win will cost less.