Are The Maine Caucuses Winner-Take-All? Each Party Has Its Own Rules
With Super Tuesday now behind us, the presidential primaries move into the next phase with Maine's Republican Caucus on March 5, and the Democratic Caucus on March 6. Maine doesn't have a huge number of delegates at stake — especially compared to the nearly 1,600 total delegates that were up for grabs on Super Tuesday. Maine's caucus offers 23 Republican delegates, and 30 Democratic delegates. So is the Maine caucus winner-take-all in 2016?
Maine Republicans will come out to vote on Saturday, March 5, where polls are open at 22 locations statewide for three hours at each location. And at the end of the day, delegates will be allocated to Republican candidates based on voter percentage rates. All 23 of the Republican delegates will be bound to the candidate that wins them, and are allocated on a winner-take-all basis only if one candidate receives more than half of the total votes. If no candidate wins the majority of votes, each candidate who receives 10 percent of votes will win delegates on a proportional basis. There is currently very little polling data on Maine, but according to an ongoing open Politico poll, Donald Trump is expected to win Maine, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich. If this holds true, then Trump will win all 23 Republican delegates.
On the Democratic side, voting will be open on Sunday, March 6 at over 530 locations statewide. The delegate process is pretty matter-of-fact. Voters will align with whichever candidate they prefer, and based on these results, delegates will be proportionally allocated to the Maine State Democratic Convention. While Maine has 30 Democratic delegates up for grabs, five of them are superdelegates — three of whom have already pledged their support for Hillary Clinton. One superdelegate, Troy Jackson, has pledged to support Sanders, and the remaining superdelegate, Maine Democratic Party chairman Phil Bartlett is holding off until the caucuses to endorse either candidate.
According to the same polling information from Politico, Sanders is very much in the lead among Democratic voters in Maine. At the time of this writing, the poll notes that Sanders has 84 percent voter support in Maine, compared to Clinton's 16 percent.
Clinton took seven of the 11 states on Super Tuesday. Sanders took the remaining four, but is not expected to take an easy fall through the rest of the primaries. On the other hand, Trump took seven states on Super Tuesday, Ted Cruz took three, and Rubio took one.
Happy primaries! Let's see what happens next...