US: Super Tuesday primaries

March 06, 2020

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Voters in 14 states and one US territory cast their ballots in the Super Tuesday primaries on 3 March. The final results could take a few days to emerge, but news networks are predicting that Joe Biden will defeat Bernie Sanders in Texas which would be his 9th state win on Tuesday. Bernie Sanders is, on the other hand, expected to capture the state of California which would give him three state wins, and another three are still too close to call. Ahead of the final count, it is already clear that Joe Biden has delivered a monumental performance. It prompted Amy Klobuchar to withdraw from the race, as Pete Buttigieg did already after Mr Biden’s landslide victory in South Carolina.

The primaries distribute delegates among the candidates seeking the nomination for the presidential race. Democrats need 1,991 pledged delegates to win the nomination. If nobody arrives at this number heading into the national party convention in July, an additional 771 “super delegates” come into play, meaning that 2,376 delegates will be needed to win the nomination. Delegates are awarded proportionally, conditional upon the candidate capturing at least 15% of votes cast. As of Super Tuesday, 37.7% of pledged delegates will be distributed. By the end of March, this number climbs to 65.4% of the total and 100% will be reached on 9 June. By this date we will thus know if a candidate has captured the 1,991 necessary to avoid a contested national convention in Wisconsin on 13-16 July.

There is an issue with delegates captured by candidates who have abandoned the race. 13 states have release clauses that free the delegate’s choice – the remaining are “lost” from the point of view of those still in the race.

With nearly 2,500 delegates left to allocate, things can yet evolve. Nevertheless, it now certainly looks like a 2-person race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

March 06, 2020

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