Both the Democrats and the Republicans share many similarities in the primary process, but they also have some important differences. Both parties hold elections during the same time period and for the same offices, hold county or senatorial and state conventions, and nominate delegates that will formally select the party’s candidate at their national conventions.
However, this is where most of the similarities end.
Texas Democratic Party
The Democrats have 4,752 national delegates, and 3,636 are pledged delegates. The total delegates needed to secure the nomination are 2,382. According to party rules, the delegate amount allocated to each state is determined using a formula based on the proportion of votes each state gave to the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential elections and the number of each state’s electoral votes.
In Texas, Democrats maintain a total of 252 delegates and 19 alternates. In this count, 145 are senate district delegates, 48 pledged at-large delegates, 29 pledged party and elected officials delegates, and 19 at-large alternates. These groups are allocated based on the statewide percentage for each presidential candidate.
Candidates must receive 15% or more of the vote to receive delegates, and delegates are awarded proportionately based on voting percentages. Due to the competitive nature of the race, it is likely that both Democratic candidates will receive large numbers of delegates.
The remaining delegates are referred to as superdelegates. Superdelegates are unpledged delegates from elected officials and members of the Democratic National Committee who will vote at the national convention for their preferred candidate, and may change their preference at any time.
Currently, Texas has 30 of the approximately 700 superdelegates. The total superdelegate count consists of about one sixth of the overall delegates for the convention.
Republican Party of Texas
Meanwhile, Republicans have 2,472 national delegates, and 1,865 are pledged delegates. The total delegates required to win the nomination are 1,237. The number of pledged delegates allocated to each of the 50 U.S. states is 10, plus three delegates for each congressional district. In addition, states are awarded bonus pledged delegates based on whether they have a Republican governor, Republican majorities in one or all chambers of the state legislature, Republican majorities in the delegation to the U.S. Congress, and other factors.
In Texas, Republicans have 155 delegates. In this number, 108 are congressional district delegates, 28 from previous presidential election voting, 10 are at-large delegates, 2 for current U.S. senators, 2 for Republican majorities in the state legislature, 1 for a current governor, and 1 for a Republican majority of the congressional delegation.
While Republicans don’t utilize superdelegates in the same manner as Democrats, there are three unpledged Republican delegates consisting of the state chairman and two Republican National Committee (RNC) members for each state. However, convention rules obligate those RNC members to vote according to the result of primary elections held in their states.
Texas uses a delegate allocation method based on a 50% winner-take-all threshold. This system means that a candidate receiving a majority of the vote will receive all delegates, but if no candidate receives a majority vote, delegates are allocated proportionally.
Similar to the Democrats, the competitive Republican field should also yield large numbers of delegates for multiple candidates.