The Superdelegates

Both the Republican and Democratic parties have delegates to their national conventions who aren’t bound to the results of the primary system. The Democrats call theirs “superdelegates” and there are 796 of them. Democratic superdelegates are elected officeholders and party officials.

The Republicans call them “unpledged delegates” and there are 463. 123 of these are Republican National Committee members, the remainder are elected in the primaries but aren’t pledged to a particular candidate.

There’s a pretty fair write-up of the superdelegate system here.

When you realize that the number of delegate votes needed for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to secure his or her party’s nomination is 2,025 and the superdelegates are currently breaking almost 2:1 for Clinton, it’s pretty darned likely that, if the primaries continue neck and neck between Sens. Clinton and Obama, the superdelegates may be instrumental in deciding who’ll be the party’s nominee.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Anderson says:

    Perhaps the worst thing that could happen for the Dems would be an ugly convention where the superdelegates decide for Clinton, and black voters are enraged at the perceived slight to Obama.

    I have been leaning Clinton, but I am starting to think that Obama does have more potential against McCain. If she wins the nomination, I really, really, really hope they work out where Obama’s her running mate — I had been hoping for Jim Webb, but it’s probably more important for Hillary to secure her base and ride that to a 51/49 win in November.

  2. Tlaloc says:

    but it’s probably more important for Hillary to secure her base and ride that to a 51/49 win in November.

    If it is 51/49 in november republicans will have staged the greatest comeback outside of a rocky movie. Right now they are looking at a complete ^%$-whoopin. I mean a 65-35 kind of demolishing. Their front runners are all HATED by at least a third of the base (2/3rds in the case of Huckabee). Their national campaigns are skint. They have a butt load of races to try and defend and a ton of retirements. They have yet more scandals coming down the pipe. Iraq is about to get worse again as the surge ends and Afghanistan is trending badly. Their most likely nominee brazenly declares that we’ll see more war under his watch and he wants to stay 100 years in Iraq. Their entire coalition is coming apart at the seams with bitter infighting and we’ve had a substantial list of republican luminaries, each with their own cult following, who have openly said they refuse to vote for McCain. Republican primaries have been busy but utterly blown away by the attendance of Dem primaries.

    A recent poll suggested utah might be in play for the dems.


    …for the dems.

    Now I do think a VP slot for Obama would be excellent (assuming he doesn’t win the nomination).

  3. Anderson says:

    Tlaloc, I hope you’re right, but I’m worried that Hillary is the one thing that could reconcile the base to McCain and get the Repubs their turnout.

    Add that to bitter Dems staying home, and Hillary could have a rougher time than one would think.