Is The Oregon Primary Winner-Take-All?

Tuesday's Oregon primary will be one of only nine primaries left for the Democrats, and one of only seven still to come for the Republicans — though the primary will have little effect on the Republican race since Donald Trump is the only GOP candidate still in the running. But delegates are still important for all candidates, which could change if Oregon is a winner-take-all primary. It's not, but the state is still incredibly crucial for Democrats.

For both Republicans and Democrats, Oregon delegates will be allotted proportionally, meaning candidates will get a portion of the delegates based on their overall vote from the state's contest. However, there are far more Democratic delegates to be won in Oregon than Republican delegates; there are 61 delegates at stake for the Democratic candidates, and only 28 for the Republican. Because the Democrats use super delegates and the Republicans do not, there are always far more Democratic delegates at play.

All democratic primaries allot delegates proportionally, and any candidate who receives fifteen percent or more of the votes in a given district can win delegates proportional to the number of votes he or she won. Polls show that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will likely win the Oregon primary. But unless he wins by a landslide, Hillary Clinton will likely win a handful of delegates, too.

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According to Politico, Sanders will likely win Oregon because much of the state's population is white — a constituency of voters that typically favors Sanders. Furthermore, Politico reported that Portland, Oregon has more Sanders' donors per capita than all but two other U.S. cities. If Sanders does indeed win the state, his delegate lead probably will not increase all that much; it certainly will not be large enough to overtake Clinton's lead.

A win for Sanders would look bad for Clinton. Though it's almost impossible for Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, every state that the Senator wins makes Clinton look weaker. Due to the proportional system, Sanders could win Oregon, but gain just a few more delegates than her. But because it's this late in the election season, any sort of win by Sanders is certain to shine negatively on Clinton's campaign.

Since he is the only candidate still in the race for the Republican nomination, Trump is focusing his Oregon campaign on November by instead spending his time condemning Clinton. Trump is 103 delegates away from the official number of delegates needed to win the GOP nomination, and Oregon's 28 delegates are not going to bring him to that number.


The proportionally allotted delegates from Oregon are not going to make much of a difference in the Democratic or Republican races as far as winning the nomination goes. However, if Sanders wins the state, it will mean that Clinton will have to wait even longer to devote all of her attention to fighting against Trump.