The Mysterious Primary Process

The Mysterious Primary Process

Have you ever wondered how, exactly, the primary process selects a presidential candidate? Perhaps the whole process needs a closer look.

The Virginia Presidential Primary will take place on March 3, 2020, as a part of what’s become known as Super Tuesday. That is a very important date. Every presidential candidate since 1984 who has won Super Tuesday has gone on the win the Democratic nomination. It’s all about the math. Virginia has 99 delegates. Super Tuesday will award 1,357 delegates or about 1/3 of the total 3,979 pledged delegates. Additionally, there are 637 Super Delegates who are party faithful chosen by states, however, these Super Delegates cannot vote on the first ballot. On the second ballot, all delegates are released. Second ballots have generally become a thing of the past.

The Democratic Party uses a proportional allocation system. Candidates must reach a minimum of 15% of the total votes cast in a state election to receive any delegates. If more than one candidate receives more than 15% then the delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the votes cast. For instance, if candidate A were to receive 60% of the vote and candidate B were to receive 40% of the delegates would be distributed 60% to candidate A and 40% to candidate B. The same formula holds true regardless of the number of candidates as long as the candidates exceed the 15% threshold.

Below is a table showing the total number of pledged delegates by the date of their primary election.

DATE

STATE

DELEGATES

02/03/20

Iowa

41

02/11/20

New Hampshire

24

02/24/20

Nevada

36

02/29/20

South Carolina

54

03/03/20

A la b a m a

52

03/03/20

Arkansas

31

03/03/20

California

415

03/03/20

Colorado

67

03/03/20

M a in e

24

03/03/20

M a s s a c h u s e tts

91

03/03/20

Minnesota

75

03/03/20

North Carolina

110

03/03/20

O k la h o m a

37

03/03/20

Tennessee

64

03/03/20

Texas

228

03/03/20

Utah

29

03/03/20

V e rm o n t

16

03/03/20

Virginia

99

03/03/20

American Samoa

6

03/03/20

Dems Abroad

13

03/10/20

Idaho

20

03/10/20

M ichigan

125

03/10/20

M ississippi

36

03/10/20

M issouri

68

03/10/20

North Dakota

14

03/10/20

W ashington

89

03/14/20

Northern Mariana Island

s6

03/17/20

Arizona

67

03/17/20

Florida

219

03/17/20

Illin o is

155

03/17/20

O h io

136

03/24/20

G e o rg ia

105

03/29/20

Puerto Rico

51

04/04/20

Alaska

15

04/04/20

Hawaii

24

04/04/20

Louisiana

54

04/04/20

W y o m in g

14

04/07/20

W isconsin

84

04/28/20

Connecticut

60

04/28/20

Delaware

21

04/28/20

M aryland

96

04/28/20

New York

274

04/28/20

Pennsylvania

186

04/28/20

Rhode Island

26

05/02/20

Kansas

39

05/02/20

Guam

7

05/05/20

Indiana

82

05/12/20

Nebraska

29

05/12/20

West Virginia

28

05/19/20

Kentucky

54

05/19/20

O re g o n

61

05/12/20

District of Columbia

20

05/12/20

M o n ta n a

19

05/12/20

New Jersey

126

05/12/20

New Mexico

34

05/12/20

South Dakota

16

06/06/20

Virgin Islands

7

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