The Louisiana Results Thread. SPOILER: This One Barely Matters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 24 2012 7:57 PM

The Louisiana Results Thread. SPOILER: This One Barely Matters

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LAFAYETTE, LA - MARCH 13: Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum greats supporters after winning the both Alabama and Mississippi primaries on March 13, 2012 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Louisiana's primary will be decided on March 24th. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

All week, I've been explaining in dull and agonizing ways how Louisiana's delegate allocation system will make today's primary a snoozer. One more time: Only 20 of 46 delegates are chosen today. The only candidates who get them are the ones who grab more than 25 percent of the vote. Let's say Rick Santorum gets 40 percent, and Mitt Romney gets 25 percent. That would mean Santorum got eight delegates, Romney got five. The seven remaining delegates would be uncommitted.

There's a twist! Say Santorum got 39 percent and Romney got 25 percent. In that case, all 20 delegates would be uncommitted. The total vote for every candidate who crosses the 25 line needs to exceed 65 percent, or no one gets anything to show for it.

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Confusing, right? I have explained this -- or, at least, explained why the delegate selection process is going to confuse everybody for another month or so -- in this piece. More delegates will be chosen at a June convention in Shreveport than will be chosen tonight.

Also, Rick Santorum will win tonight. The early exit polls have Santorum at 45 percent, Romney at 30 percent, Gingrich at 16 percent, and Paul at 6 percent. Those numbers would have to be adjusted way, way down to deny delegates to Santorum or Romney.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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