Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each went into the Super Saturday caucuses and primary elections with wide delegate leads over their respective Republican and Democratic opponents. While most U.S. presidential candidates left in the race have won at least one state, both Clinton and Trump did extremely well Super Tuesday, sweeping a majority of the nominating contests conducted this week.
Saturday, members of both parties were caucusing in Kansas and voting in primaries in Louisiana, while Democrats were caucusing in Nebraska and Republicans were caucusing in Kentucky and Maine. Between 30 and 58 delegates were at stake in each of these states, on the low end of the scale as far as nominating contests go. However, as the GOP establishment hopes to blunt Trump’s momentum and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont seeks to rebound from his disappointing Super Tuesday showing on the Democratic side, the Super Saturday states could provide a crucial bump ahead of the bigger states that will vote over the coming week.
Delegates are very important in presidential primaries because they are the people who will choose each party’s nominee at national conventions this summer. Democrats award delegates proportionally based on congressional districts and some other areas, meaning that only big wins change the delegate count a lot. On the Republican side, some states have winner-take-all primaries, meaning only one candidate will get delegates from that state, so the non-Trump candidates are hoping to slow the front-runner’s progress before they get to those later this month.
To win his or her party’s nomination outright, the Democratic candidate would need 2,383 delegates and the GOP candidate would need 1,237 delegates.
One element of Clinton’s big lead is her overwhelming number of superdelegates, which only Democrats have. These delegates are not awarded in state nominating contests, and they can change their minds at the national convention in the event they see the popular vote going to another candidate. Still, her lead over Sanders in pledged delegates is also growing.
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On the Republican side, some establishment members of the party have revolted against Trump and are hoping that the other candidates can secure enough delegates to prevent Trump from winning on the first ballot at the convention. In that case, they would force a brokered convention and choose their nominee in Cleveland in July.
In the nominating contests Saturday, here are the delegates at stake:
Kansas: 37 delegates for Democrats and 40 delegates for Republicans
Louisiana: 58 delegates for Democrats and 46 delegates for Republicans
Kentucky: 46 delegates for Republicans
Maine: 23 delegates for Republicans
Nebraska: 30 delegates for Democrats
Ahead of the results Saturday, here’s where the candidates stand in terms of delegate counts:
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Pledged delegates: 608
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Pledged delegates: 410
Businessman Donald Trump
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
Ohio Gov. John Kasich