Fourteen states and one US territory vote today to make their choice for whom they want as candidate for President. Both parties are holding primaries and a caucus. Donald Trump still has a challenger, former Governor Bill Weld (R-MA), who has said he will not drop out after today.
The number of candidates for the Democratic nomination has dropped by three with the exits of billionaire Tom Steyer, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Last night Buttigieg and Klobuchar threw their support to former Vice President Joe Biden. All three names will still be on the ballots. Many early voters, who chose one the drop outs, are asking if they can change their vote. In some states, like California, there is a mechanism for that but in most states, their vote for presidential candidate will not count. However, their votes for down ballot candidates are still valid and will be counted.
Billionaire former Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on all the Democratic ballots for the first time and will be a test of his viability as a contender for the nomination, although he as said that he will stay in the race until the end. Also in the race are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard although she has no delegates and little support.
With all eyes on the Democrats, 1300 delegates will be awarded which is a third of the total delegates. Going into the convention which will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin beginning July 13, 1991 delegates are needed to secure the nomination. There is possibility with the crowded Democratic field that no candidate will reach the 1991 thresdhold which would result in either a brokered convention or contested:
Once the first ballot, or vote, has occurred, and no candidate has a majority of the delegates’ votes, the convention is then considered brokered; thereafter, the nomination is decided through a process of alternating political horse trading — delegate vote trading — and additional re-votes. In this circumstance, all regular delegates (who may have been pledged to a particular candidate according to rules which vary from state to state) are “released” and are able to switch their allegiance to a different candidate before the next round of balloting. It is hoped that this extra privilege extended to the delegates will result in a re-vote yielding a clear majority of delegates for one candidate.
The term “brokered” implies a strong role for political bosses, more common in the past and associated with deals made in proverbial “smoke-filled rooms“, while the term “contested” is a more modern term for a convention where no candidate holds a majority but the role of party leaders is weaker in determining the eventual outcome. For the Democratic Party, unpledged delegate votes, also called “Superdelegate votes” used to be counted on the first ballot. Although some used the term “brokered convention” to refer to a convention where the outcome is decided by Superdelegate votes rather than pledged delegates alone, this is not the original sense of the term, nor has it been a commonly used definition of a “contested convention.” As of 2018, Democratic superdelegates will only participate if no winner emerges after the first round of balloting.
The last conventions to fail to nominate someone on the first ballot took place in 1952 in both the Democratic and Republican parties when the nominees were Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower.
The states and territory are:
- American Samoa Democratic caucus – 6 delegates are in play.
- Alabama primaries – 52 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET
- Arkansas primaries – 31 delegates. Polls close at 8:30 PM ET
- California primaries – 415 delegates. Polls close at 11 PM ET
- Colorado primaries – 67 delegates, Polls close at 9 PM ET
- Massachusetts primaries – 91 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET
- Maine primaries – 24 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET
- Minnesota primaries – 91 delegates. Polls close at 9 PM ET
- North Carolina primaries – 110 delegates. Polls close at 7:30 PM ET
- Oklahoma primaries – 37 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET
- Tennessee primaries – 64 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET
- Texas primaries 228 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET
- Utah primaries – 29 delegates.Polls close at 10 PM ET
- Vermont primaries – 16 deelgates. Polls close at 7 PM ET
- Virginia Democratic primary – 99 delegates. Polls close at 7 PM ET
Also starting Tuesday are Democrats who live abroad will begin to cast their ballots at US embassies and consulates which ends March 10. There are 13 delegates up for grabs.