How Many Delegates Illinois Boasts

by Lauren Holter

On Tuesday, another round of states will hold presidential primaries in the third Super Tuesday of 2016. Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Missouri (along with Northern Mariana Islands Republicans) will decide which candidates they want to see face off in the general election in November. Because nothing's easy, every state has a different set of rules and varying degrees of influence, and how many delegates Illinois has largely determines how important the Midwestern state is for each party.

Republicans and Democrats don't run their primary elections the same, so let's start with the Republicans. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich will battle for 69 total GOP delegates. Rather than a winner-take-all approach like Florida and Ohio, Illinois operates on a winner-take-most system — whichever candidate wins a majority of votes in the state (known as the "presidential preference vote") will automatically receive 15 delegates. The remaining 54 will be broken down by congressional district.

In true democratic form, Illinois Republicans actually get to vote for their delegates on Tuesday. The Illinois Republican Party's website dictates that primary voters will cast a ballot for up to three delegates to represent their district, with the name of which GOP candidate each potential delegate represents appearing next to their name. The chosen delegates must remain committed to the presidential hopeful they pledged to support, unless that candidate drops out, at which point they would have to change their vote at the GOP convention this summer.


Trump leads Republican polls in the state ahead of the vote, with the latest Chicago Tribune poll placing him at 32 percent, while Cruz has 22 percent, Rubio 21 percent, and Kasich 18 percent of support. According to the poll, Trump was ahead in all areas of the state, meaning he could potentially walk away with all 69 delegates.

The Illinois Democratic primary is a little more simple, as all of the party's state primaries and caucuses follow uniform rules. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off for 182 delegates, which will be allocated based on what percentage of the vote they each receive. The high number of delegates is second only to Florida out of the states voting on Tuesday.

Illinois isn't as fierce a battleground as Florida and Ohio, both of which are important swing states for the general election. There's also a GOP candidate from each state still in those races, and losing their home states could be the final nail in the coffin for Rubio and Kasich.