It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Super Tuesday! If you haven’t heard already, it’s election season in the United States. Iowa kicked things off on February 3rd, followed by New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. We’ve already shared why the Iowa Caucus is important, but what is Super Tuesday and why is it considered one of the most important days in a presidential primary season? Let’s break it down, shall we?
What Is Super Tuesday?
Super Tuesday is exactly what the name suggests—it’s when the greatest number of states hold their primary elections and caucuses. This year, Super Tuesday is on March 3rd, and people will be casting their votes in fourteen states and one US territory.
Why Is Super Tuesday Important?
The results of these primaries and caucuses determine the distribution of a significant amount of delegates—1,357 delegates to be exact! That means a third of the delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday.
What Is A Delegate?
A delegate is a person selected from a state to support a candidate when it’s time to determine a presidential nominee for their party at the national convention. The number of delegates allotted to each state is determined by the census—the greater the population, the greater the number of delegates allotted. Delegates are awarded to each candidate based on the percentage of the votes they win in the state. For example, if a candidate wins thirty percent of the votes in that state, he or she gets thirty percent of the total delegates for that state.
Which State Has The Greatest Number Of Delegates?
California is the state with the largest population in the United States and therefore receives the greatest number of delegates during the primary season. At 415 delegates, you can bet many of the democratic candidates are paying a lot of attention to California and hoping to collect as many delegates as possible.
Why Is This Super Tuesday Important?
This Super Tuesday is particularly important because although Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Bernie Sanders are neck and neck in first and second place with twenty-three and twenty-one delegates respectively, it’s still anyone’s election to win with Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Amy Klobuchar not too far behind. What’s more is that this will be the first time that former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, will be vying for delegates. He entered the race late but has focused his attention on the Super Tuesday states by building momentum for his support with social media ads. Very exciting, we know! Truth be told, however, although no one candidate can declare victory after the Super Tuesday results have been tallied, it will be a good indicator of who should or shouldn’t stay in the race.
What’s The Winning Number?
There are 3,979 delegates at stake in this presidential primary season. In order to win the party’s nomination, the candidate must receive a majority of the delegates, or at least 1,991 votes. If no candidate receives a majority of the delegates, the convention is contested and goes to a second ballot where each delegate (including superdelegates) gets to vote. In the case of a contested convention, in order to win the party’s nomination, the candidate must receive a majority of votes from all 4,750 delegates. In other words, the candidate must receive more than 2,375 votes. (Side note: Superdelegates also determine the nominee for the party’s national convention, but they are not tied to any particular candidate. Superdelegates are made up of governors, members of Congress, and former presidents.)
What’s After Super Tuesday?
Every state will receive an opportunity to host its primary election or caucus. Once the delegates have been tallied, the candidate with at least 1,991 delegates will be the nominee for the Democratic Party. The official selection ceremony will be held at the Democratic National Convention July 13th – 16th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the nominee will be announced.
Correction: This article has been edited to reflect the correct location of the Democratic National Convention.