This July, 2,472 people from across the country will meet in Cleveland to choose the Republican nominee, and a couple of days later, in Philadelphia 4,765 people will formally select the Democratic nominee.
These are the delegates, and they’re about to become far more interesting and important (at least on the Republican side) to the campaigns than they’ve been in decades. Each political party has its own rules that govern how these delegates are selected, as do all states and U.S. territories. The rules determine who qualifies to be delegates, how many delegates each state is allotted and how they’ll be distributed throughout the primary process.
Generally, most delegates of both parties are pledged to a particular candidate. There are also a number who are unpledged; these are considered superdelegatesin the Democratic Party and include members of Congress, Democratic governors and members of the Democratic National Committee. They’re not bound to a candidate, and they can vote for whichever candidate they want.
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