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 took 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 faithfuls 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.

Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller

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