Why is Super Tuesday significant? All about delegates. Look at the numbers.

Washington — Over one-third of the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries' delegates will be awarded on Super Tuesday, when 16 states and one territory hold presidential nominating contests.

Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the presidential primary calendar in terms of states having primaries and caucuses and delegates, will involve 854 of 2,429 Republican delegates. Democrats will give 1,420 delegates. Super Tuesday will not determine the nominee, but each party's frontrunner can come close.

Former President Donald Trump, who has won every presidential election and garnered 122 delegates, needs 1,093 more to reach his “magic number” of 1,215. If he wins that many delegates, he'll be the Republican convention's presumptive nominee.

If he gets enough delegates on Super Tuesday and in the days preceding up to it, Trump might reach that number by March 12. State parties' intentions can potentially vary the number of delegates on a day. The last major Republican candidate, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, enters this week with delegates from four of six states and territories.

Republican delegate procedures vary by state, but many states, notably Super Tuesday's largest prize, California, award all delegates to candidates who win a majority of the vote, making it easier for frontrunners to quickly accumulate delegates. Texas, which has the second-most delegates, will distribute 150 delegates based on Super Tuesday primary results and 11 during the May statewide convention.

President Joe Biden might win many Democratic delegates. Biden's magic number is 1,968, but how the party handles New Hampshire, which held its party primary in January, might change that. The earliest Biden may reach that number is March 19. He has 206 delegates.

Democrats distribute delegates proportionally, making it simpler for trailing contenders to gain delegates. Rep. Dean Phillips, Biden's main opponent, hasn't been able to capitalize on these regulations, but ballot options like “uncommitted” or “no preference” can earn delegates if they satisfy a 15% vote threshold nationwide or in a congressional district.

Thus far, only these uncommitted delegates, who will attend the Democrats' summer convention unpledged and can vote for anybody they want, have prevented Biden from winning. Michigan gave the “uncommitted” ballot option two delegates. Iowa's all-mail election will announce results on Super Tuesday, and seven states provide a “uncommitted” choice.

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