Meet the Man Behind the 2012 Delegate Count
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For a few months per election cycle, Associated Press journalist Stephen Ohlemacher is arguably the most important political reporter in the world.
Ohlemacher's AP delegate count encountered lofty attention during the 2008 Democratic primary as then-Sen. Barack Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton duked it out in one of the more memorable contests in U.S. primary history.
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"I haven't been yelled at too much this time around," Ohlemacher says on the phone from his office in Washington, D.C. "Four years ago it got really heated. It was fantastic -- I mean, I would get calls from West Coast newspapers every night when they were trying to put together charts and graphics on the delegates."
The process is tedious and time consuming, and it's a full-time job, Ohlemacher says. But the reporter talks about delegate counts as if he's about to devour a hearty Sunday morning breakfast.
Ohlemacher, along with various AP writers and stringers strewn across the country and its territories, began preparing for the Republican primary process late last summer.
He started by calling the Republican National Committee to find out how many delegates it allocated to each state. Then he called all the state Republican parties to find out their bylaws and primary procedures (caucus or primary, winner-take-all or proportional).
Some state party Web sites, he says, had a lot of the necessary information, but Ohlemacher wanted to be as detailed and precise as possible. He called party chairmen, spokespeople, executive directors or whoever was in charge of each state's primary or caucus.