Why The Wyoming Caucus Is So Important, Despite Its Teeny Tiny Delegate Count
The Wyoming caucuses on Saturday have 14 pledged delegates at stake — not a huge haul for our Democratic candidates, one of whom must earn 2,383 delegates to secure the nomination. But the results of the April 9 caucuses in the state still matter for Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton. Why is the Wyoming's caucus so important?
One of the main reasons Wyoming matters is that every delegate matters in this race. Sanders is trying to narrow the gap between him and Clinton, while she's hoping to widen it. Real Clear Politics reported that, going into Saturday, Sanders has 1,030 pledged delegates and Clinton has 1,280, though it should be noted that the gap is actually narrower, since Washington state has yet to allocate its 67 congressional district delegates, and Sanders is set to get a good chunk of those. So, the actual gap is closer to 200 delegates than 250.
The Wyoming race is the last caucus we'll see for a while, as almost all remaining states will instead hold primary elections. The only state that will hold caucuses after Wyoming is North Dakota on June 7, and, well, caucuses are kind of Sanders' thing. He won all 10 state caucuses that were held in March, and Wyoming will determine if he remains the caucus champ. If Clinton wins, it would put a dent in Sanders' claim to caucuses, which could dig a little into the momentum his campaign has built up throughout the end of March.
Wyoming will also tell us something about how strong the senator's geographical advantage is in the northwestern states. So far, Sanders performed very well in Washington and Idaho. Oregon will hold its contest on May 17, followed by Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota on June 7. Together, these states have 120 delegates. If the race is super tight toward the end, Sanders may have good reason to hope for big wins in these northwestern states at the finish line.
Then again, if Clinton were to take Wyoming, it would temper that hope.
A win for Sanders in Wyoming would add to his end-of-March momentum, and a win for Clinton could give her campaign a welcomed boost after her recent string of losses. Whether the delegate gap shifts and whether Sanders maintains solid footing in the Northwest are things to look out for on Saturday — because in a race this close, truly every delegate counts.