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Who are Delegates?

Delegates help choose who can run for president.

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The road to becoming a nominee for president of the United States involves a small group of people called delegates and superdelegates. Delegates are chosen in every state for both political groups, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. This takes place during primaries and caucuses, which are contests to choose a party’s nominee.

Delegates are local party leaders who pledge to support the winner of their state contest.


The Democrats assign delegates to each candidate based on how much support the candidates get in a state caucus or primary vote. The more votes a candidate gets, the more delegates he or she is given.

Republicans also use this method in some states, while other states have a winner-take-all system – in this case, the nominee with the most votes in that state gets support from all the state’s delegates.


A superdelegate can change the results of these votes. Superdelegates are high-ranking people in the party. They may be major elected officials or celebrated party members.

The Democrats now use superdelegates to make a decision when there is a tie between candidates.

The Republican Party assigns three people for every state. Republican superdelegates have to support the will of voters in their states.

The delegates then vote for their nominee at national conventions, which are held during the summer before Election Day. As a result of these votes, a candidate is chosen from each party to run in the next presidential election.

Sarah Cowgill

National Columnist at and Sarah has been a writer in the political and corporate worlds for over 25 years. As a sought-after speech writer, her clients included CEOs, U.S. Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and even a Vice President. She’s worked as Contributing Editor at Scottsdale Life, a news reporter for the Journal and Courier, and guest opinion political writer for numerous publications nationwide. A born storyteller, Sarah has published a full-length book and is currently finishing a quirky, sarcastic, second novel.

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