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 V.17 No.7 | February 14 - 20, 2008 


What the Caucus?!?

OK. So I voted. Now what?

What are delegates?

Delegates are people sent to the national conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties to support presidential candidates. Democratic delegates from New Mexico will be selected on April 19 at the District Convention. Republican delegates will be chosen at a Las Cruces convention on June 14. The number of delegates for each presidential candidate will be determined by how many people voted for that candidate in the primary. New Mexico is not a "winner-take-all" state. Each candidate will receive some New Mexico delegates.

What are superdelegates?

Created in 1984, superdelegates are usually officials in politics and are free to support any candidate, regardless of how people voted in their state. Superdelegates will make up 20 percent of the delegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Republicans don't have superdelegates.

How many do we have in New Mexico?

For the Democratic Party, the state has 38 total delegates. Twelve are superdelegates. Twenty-six are plain old delegates. Though the vote count in our state wasn't yet finished as of press time, all but one delegate had been accounted for— Clinton clutched 13; Obama 12. For the Republican Party, New Mexico has 29 elected delegates and three guaranteed delegates: The party chair and two committee members.

How many delegates do candidates need?

The Democratic candidate will have to capture 2,025 delegates, at least one more than his or her opponent, to win the nomination. The Republican candidate will need to tally 1,191, which is, again, a simple majority.

When will we know who wins the nominations?

Aug. 28, the last day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, should be the big day unless a candidate fails to capture the majority. We should have a Republican candidate by Sept. 4, the last day of the national convention in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

How many states still need to hold primaries?

As of Feb. 5, about half the country's states still hadn't held their Democratic or Republican primaries. All should be finished by early June.

What's the difference between a caucus and a primary?

Though the vote on Feb. 5 was called a caucus in New mexico, it was run like a primary. Typically, a caucus is more like a town hall meeting. Party members get together to give speeches and talk before voting. A primary is more like an election.


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