The 2016 primaries are in full swing and will be until mid-June. Just like every candidate has a distinct platform and personality, each state has its own way of holding primaries or caucuses and allocating its delegates. Because the Roughrider State will not hold a Republican caucus, the number of delegates North Dakota has is a much more important figure than it would be otherwise. The Democratic caucus is a ways away — June 7 — and will be one of the very last in the election.
North Dakota has a total of 28 GOP delegates to award either Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or John Kasich. The state party decided not to hold a caucus for the general election this year, opting instead to leave all 28 unbound, meaning they can vote for whichever candidate they choose at the convention this summer. In past years, North Dakota has held a straw poll to gauge voters' preferences and guide delegates on who the state as a whole supported, but not necessarily lock them into voting for that candidate. However, the committee felt the poll somewhat bound the delegates to the winner, so they did away with it. An 11-member committee will hold a caucus April 1 to April 3 in Fargo to choose the 28 delegates.
As a contested Republican convention becomes more and more likely, unbound delegates like North Dakota's may have the opportunity to sway the vote for a nominee. "We saw a lot of pushback about not having a caucus, so I think the national attention we're getting for our unbound delegates is a really great thing in showing the people of North Dakota that we do have a voice and we do have a vote in the process, and it's maybe even more of a role than they originally thought," North Dakota GOP Executive Director Roz Leighton told the local Grand Forks Herald's Mike Nowatzki.
The North Dakota Democratic party, on the other hand, will hold a caucus to commit its 23 delegates to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Like all 2016 Democratic primaries and caucuses, the state will allocate them proportionally based on how many votes Clinton and Sanders each get June 7. California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota will also vote the same day, so North Dakota's nearly two dozen delegates won't be a huge deal for the presidential hopefuls. Nevertheless, all the delegates add up.