What State Has the Most Delegates?
Delegates are the people who represent a state at national party conventions. They are either chosen by the voters in a primary or caucus or elected by party officials. The candidate who receives the most delegates wins the nomination of the party.
The political system differs from state to state, and the rules for awarding delegates vary widely. For instance, some states use a proportional system while others are winner-takes-all systems. Some hybrid systems exist as well.
Pledged delegates are picked by party leaders, elected officials or state party members to support a specific candidate heading into the convention. Unpledged delegates are not bound to one particular candidate and may choose their own candidate at the convention.
Super Tuesday provides a window into how small changes in the vote count will affect delegate totals for the remaining contests on the presidential calendar. This year, it is the first time in more than two decades that a Democratic field will not be a simple two-candidate race on Super Tuesday, March 3.
There are many ways for candidates to get delegates without winning the election, and the way they do so can change the delegate counts dramatically. For example, Joe Biden got most of his delegates from South Carolina even though he was only slightly ahead of Bernie Sanders in that state’s statewide primary.
Proportionality is a key feature of the Democratic primary process, which awards a set number of delegates to each candidate who achieves the 15% threshold at EITHER the state level or in a particular congressional district. If a candidate gets to 15 percent in one or more congressional districts but not statewide, they can still amass a solid base of delegates, as Pete Buttigieg did in Nevada.
In addition to statewide results, candidates also get a lot of their delegates based on the individual results in hundreds of congressional districts across the country. The delegates allocation math, the 15% threshold and rounding all apply separately to each of those results.
The delegates allocation process in Texas is very different than the rest of the nation, and it’s important to know what your state does and how the apportionment works before you decide to go for a run. This is especially true if you’re running for president, as each state has its own unique set of rules that must be followed.
For example, Utah has a caucus/convention method for selecting candidates that uses delegates instead of the broader voting population. However, the state has recently expanded an additional petition path to the primary ballot for candidates who would prefer a more direct election process.
Another important factor in the apportionment of delegates is how each state is divided into Congressional districts and state legislative districts. Almost all states use these, but some are more complex than others.
For example, in a state like Texas, where a candidate might have to go for votes in a lot of congressional districts and state legislative districts, it is more important to have a good result in one of these areas than in the whole state. This could help a candidate who’s behind in their statewide primary but does very well in a single Congressional district, as Klobuchar did in Iowa.