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A delegate is a person selected to represent a group of people in some political assembly of the United States.
There are various types of delegates elected to different political bodies. In the United States Congress delegates are elected to represent the interests of a United States territory and its citizens or nationals. In addition, certain US states are governed by a House of Delegates or another parliamentary assembly whose members are known as elected delegates.
Prior to a United States presidential election, the major political parties select delegates from the various state parties for a presidential nominating convention, often by either primary elections or party caucuses.
Delegate is the title of a person elected to the United States House of Representatives to serve the interests of an organized United States territory, at present only overseas or the District of Columbia, but historically in most cases in a portion of North America as the precursor to one or more of the present states of the union.
Delegates have powers similar to that of Representatives, including the right to vote in committee, but have no right to take part in the floor votes in which the full house actually decides whether the proposal is carried.
A similar mandate is held in a few cases under the style Resident commissioner.
The Democratic Party uses pledged delegates and superdelegates. A candidate for the Democratic nomination must win a majority of combined delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention.
Pledged delegates are elected or chosen at the state or local level, with the understanding that they will support a particular candidate at the convention. Pledged delegates are, however, not actually bound to vote for that candidate, thus the candidates are allowed to periodically review the list of delegates and eliminate any of those they feel would not be supportive. Currently there are 4,051 pledged delegates.
Of the 4,765 total Democratic delegates, 714 (approximately 15%) are superdelegates, which are usually Democratic members of Congress, Governors, former Presidents, and other party leaders and elected officials. They are not required to indicate preference for a candidate.In 2018, the party changed the rules to state that superdelegates would not get a vote on the first ballot unless the outcome was certain.
The Democratic Party uses a proportional representation to determine how many delegates each candidate is awarded in each state. A candidate must win at least 15% of the vote in a particular contest in order to receive any delegates. Pledged delegates are awarded proportionally in both state-wide and regional contests. In each separate state-wide or regional contest, a subset of the total pledged delegates are chosen based on proportional representation, so it is possible for candidates to win delegates even if they receive fewer than 15% of overall votes in a state provided they receive more than 15% in a particular regional contest. There is no process to win superdelegates, since they can vote for whomever they please. A candidate needs to win a simple majority of total delegates to earn the Democratic nomination.
The Republican Party utilizes a similar system with slightly different terminology, employing pledged and unpledged delegates. Of the total 2,472 Republican delegates, most are pledged delegates who, as with the Democratic Party, are elected at the state or local level. To become the Republican Party nominee, the candidate must win a simple majority of 1,276 of the 2,472 total delegates at the Republican National Convention.
The Republican Party, however, has established a few unpledged delegates. The only people who get unpledged status are each state's three Republican National Committee members. This means that unpledged delegates are only 168 of the total number of delegates. However, unpledged delegates do not have the freedom to vote for whichever candidate they please. The RNC ruled in 2015 that the unpledged delegates must vote for the candidate that their state voted for; the unpledged RNC members will be bound in the same manner as the state’s at-large delegates unless the state elects their delegates on the primary ballot, then all three RNC members will be allocated to the statewide winner.
The process by which delegates are awarded to a candidate will vary from state to state. Many states use a winner-take-all system, where popular vote determines the winning candidate for that state. However, beginning in 2012 many states now use proportional representation. While the Republican National Committee does not require a 15% minimum threshold, individual state parties may impart such a threshold.
The presidential primary elections and caucuses held in the various states, the District of Columbia, and territories of the United States form part of the nominating process of candidates for United States presidential elections. The United States Constitution has never specified the process; political parties have developed their own procedures over time. Some states hold only primary elections, some hold only caucuses, and others use a combination of both. These primaries and caucuses are staggered, generally beginning sometime in January or February, and ending about mid-June before the general election in November. State and local governments run the primary elections, while caucuses are private events that are directly run by the political parties themselves. A state's primary election or caucus is usually an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for president, they determine the number of delegates each party's national convention will receive from their respective state. These delegates then in turn select their party's presidential nominee. The first state in the United States to hold its presidential primary was North Dakota in 1912, following on Oregon's successful implementation of its system in 1910.
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party. They have been administered by the Democratic National Committee since the 1852 national convention. The primary goal of the Democratic National Convention is to officially nominate a candidate for president and vice president, adopt a comprehensive party platform and unify the party. Pledged delegates from all fifty U.S. states and from American dependencies and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and superdelegates which are unpledged delegates representing the Democratic establishment, attend the convention and cast their votes to choose the Party's presidential candidate. Like the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention marks the formal end of the primary election period and the start of the general election season. In 2020, both major parties, and many minor parties, replaced their usual in-person conventions with virtual programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In American politics, a superdelegate is an unpledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention who is seated automatically and chooses for themselves for whom they vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include party leaders and elected officials (PLEOs).
The Republican National Convention (RNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1856 by the United States Republican Party. They are administered by the Republican National Committee. The goal of the Republican National Convention is to officially nominate and confirm a candidate for president and vice president, adopt a comprehensive party platform and unify the party, as well as publicize and launch the fall campaign. Delegates from all fifty U.S. states and from American dependencies and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands attend the convention and cast their votes. Like the Democratic National Convention, the Republican National Convention marks the formal end of the primary election period and the start of the general election season. In 2020 all parties replaced the usual conventions with short online programs.
The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection processes by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was selected as the nominee, becoming the first African American to secure the presidential nomination of any major political party in the United States. However, due to a close race between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, the contest remained competitive for longer than expected, and neither candidate received enough pledged delegates from state primaries and caucuses to achieve a majority, without endorsements from unpledged delegates (superdelegates).
The 2008 Iowa Democratic presidential caucus occurred on January 3, and was the state caucuses of the Iowa Democratic Party. It was the first election for the Democrats of the 2008 presidential election. Also referred to as "the First in the Nation Caucus," it was the first election of the primary season on both the Democratic and Republican sides. Of the eight major Democratic presidential candidates, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois received the most votes and was ultimately declared the winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucus of 2008, making him the first African American to win the caucus. Former U.S. Senator John Edwards of North Carolina came in second place and then-U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York finished third, though Clinton received more delegates than Edwards. Campaigning had begun as early as two years before the event.
A brokered convention, in US politics, can occur during a presidential election when a political party fails to choose a nominee on the first round of delegate voting at the party's nominating convention.
The 2008 United States presidential election in Iowa took place on November 4, 2008, as part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Voters chose seven representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
The 2008 Oklahoma Democratic presidential primary, part of the process of selecting that party's nominee for President of the United States, took place on February 5, one of the many nominating contests of 2008's "Super Tuesday". The primary election chose 38 pledged delegates to represent Oklahoma at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The remainder of Oklahoma's 47 delegates consisted of unpledged superdelegates not bound by the results of the primary. The election was a closed primary, meaning that only registered Democrats could vote in this election. Hillary Clinton won the primary by a significant margin.
The 2008 Louisiana Republican presidential caucuses were held on January 22 and the primary on February 9, 2008.
The 2008 Minnesota Democratic presidential caucuses took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008 with 78 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Minnesota's eight congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 47. Another 25 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Barack Obama. The 72 delegates represented Minnesota at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Sixteen other unpledged delegates, known as superdelegates, also attended the convention and cast their votes as well.
The 2008 Maine Democratic presidential caucuses took place on February 10, 2008, and had 24 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Maine's two congressional districts received all of that district's total delegates, which totaled 16. Another eight delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Barack Obama, at the Maine Democratic Party Statewide Convention on May 31, 2008. These 24 delegates represented Maine at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Another 10 unpledged delegates, known as superdelegates, also attended the convention and cast their votes as well.
The 2008 Ohio Democratic presidential primary took place on March 4, 2008 and was open to anyone requesting a Democratic party ballot. In 2008, any registered Ohio voter could on election day request a primary ballot of either the Democratic or Republican party, by signing an affidavit stating that they supported the principles of the party whose ballot they are obtaining.
The 2008 Rhode Island Democratic presidential primary took place on March 4, 2008. It was an open primary. 21 delegates were awarded on a proportional basis. Rhode Island's delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention also included 11 superdelegates whose votes were not bound by the results of the primary election. Hillary Clinton won the primary.
The 2008 Vermont Democratic presidential primary was an open primary that took place on March 4, 2008. Barack Obama won the primary, his only decisive win among the four March 4 contests. The primary determined the 15 pledged delegates that represented Vermont at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The delegates were awarded to the candidates, Obama and Hillary Clinton, on a proportional basis. Vermont also sent 8 unpledged "superdelegates", to the convention not bound by the results of the primary.
The 2008 West Virginia Democratic presidential primary took place on May 13, 2008 with polls closing at 7:30 p.m. EST. It was open to Democrats and Independents. The primary determined 28 delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, who were awarded on a proportional basis. West Virginia's Democratic delegation also included 11 unpledged "superdelegates". The primary came late in the nomination race. Hillary Clinton won by a very wide margin, but her opponent Barack Obama maintained a substantial lead in the overall number of pledged delegate votes.
The 2008 Oregon Democratic presidential primary was a mail-only primary in the U.S. state of Oregon. Ballots were mailed to registered Democratic voters between May 2 and May 6, 2008. To be counted, all ballots had to have been received by county elections offices by 8:00 p.m. PDT on May 20, 2008. It was a closed primary and voters had to have registered as Democrats by April 29, 2008 to be eligible to vote in any of the partisan races. Barack Obama won the presidential primary with 58% of the vote.
The 2012 Republican presidential primaries were the selection processes in which voters of the Republican Party elected state delegations to the Republican National Convention. The national convention then selected its nominee to run for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election. There were 2,286 delegates chosen, and a candidate needed to accumulate 1,144 delegate votes at the convention to win the nomination. The caucuses allocated delegates to the respective state delegations to the national convention, but the actual election of the delegates were, many times, at a later date. Delegates were elected in different ways that vary from state to state. They could be elected at local conventions, selected from slates submitted by the candidates, selected at committee meetings, or elected directly at the caucuses and primaries.
The 2016 Wyoming Democratic presidential caucuses were held on April 9 in the U.S. state of Wyoming, representing the first tier of the Wyoming Democratic Party's nomination contest for the 2016 presidential election. Only registered Democrats were allowed to participate in the closed precinct caucuses.
The 2020 Arizona Democratic presidential primary took place on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, as one of three contests on the same day in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries for the 2020 United States presidential election. The closed primary allocated 67 pledged delegates towards the 2020 Democratic National Convention, distributed in proportion to the results of the primary, statewide and within each congressional district. The state was also given an additional 13 unpledged delegates (superdelegates), whose votes at the convention were not bound to the result of the primary.