Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries| 2008 – Explanation

Democratic Seal

The 2008 Democratic primaries will be the selection process by which the Democrats choose their candidates in the 2008 election for President and Vice President of the United States through a series of primaries and caucuses culminating in the 2008 Democratic National Convention, to be held from Monday, August 25, through Thursday, August 28, 2008, in Denver, Colorado.

Democratic candidates in the 2008 U.S. presidential election will campaign for the nomination from their party in a series of primary elections and caucus events. They will take place in four phases.


235 Democratic House members and nonvoting delegates, 49 senators, the District of Columbia’s two shadow congress-people and 28 governors, a total 314 in all, are automatically delegates to the convention.

These “superdelegates” – about 14 percent of the 2,182 delegates a candidate will need to secure the party’s presidential nomination, while officially uncommitted, and thus “unreplaceable” can publicly endorse a candidate, adding to his and her total.

As of December 3, 2007, the totals were|

  • Hillary Clinton 72
  • Barack Obama 27
  • John Edwards 16
  • Chris Dodd 10
  • Bill Richardson 7
  • Joe Biden 1

In addition, all members of the Democratic National Committee are automatically delegates, and there are a small number of distinguished party leaders and other unpledged delegates, leading to a total of 845 unpledged delegates.


Under Democratic National Committee rules, no state may hold their primaries or caucuses before February 5 with the exceptions of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. On May 21, 2007, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) signed a bill, in violation of Democratic Party rules, to up the date of his state’s primary causing a chain reaction which moved many other states’ primaries and caucuses to much earlier dates.

According to Democratic National Committee (DNC) rules, this will result in halving Florida’s delegation, as shown in the table below, and will forbid any candidate from receiving delegates should they campaign in the primary. The DNC rules committee met on August 25, 2007 and ruled that Florida would have 30 days to move its primary date at least 7 days later than the current date of January 29, or else lose all of its delegates in the Democratic primary. Florida officials said they may challenge the ruling on legal grounds and protest the 2008 convention; additionally, the actual implementation of such a decision might prove to be difficult.

Michigan has moved its primary to January 15, also in violation of party rules. On December 1, the Democratic National Committee voted to deny Michigan’s request to hold its primary on January 15 and declared that Michigan’s delegates will not count in the nominating contest unless Michigan moves its primary to a later date.

The following elections are scheduled or expected.

Democratic Primary| Phase Two

PHASE THREE| National Primary

Since the beginning of 2007, many states have moved, or are discussing plans to move, the dates of their primaries or caucuses up to February 5. The nation’s first quasi-“National Primary” may very well take place on that day. This has also been dubbed, among other names, “Super Duper Tuesday” and “Tsunami Tuesday”. A total of 2,064 delegates will be pledged by the results of the February 5th votes.


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