California holds the biggest delegate prize of all for Democrats and Republicans alike. So, naturally their superdelegate contingent is also the largest this election cycle, too. Just how many superdelegates does California have? The Golden State will be sending a fair amount of party apparatchiks to Philadelphia, that's for sure. According to the official California Delegate Selection Plan for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the delegation will consist of 546 delegates in total; 71 of those will be unpledged PLEOs. In plain English? They're the superdelegates.
Now, in California, superdelegates are just one of four different classes of representatives for the people of the state at the DNC. Of the total delegates, 317 will be directly elected by their congressional districts, and then those delegates will have the responsibility to elect 105 at-large delegates and 53 pledged party leaders and elected officials to join them in Pennsylvania.
Superdelegates, or party leaders and elected officials who are free to support whomever they please, represent about 13 percent of the delegation. The breakdown of the superdelegate delegation is actually pretty straightforward. Gov. Jerry Brown, the 41 Democratic members of Congress, and state DNC members will round out the delegation of party functionaries and leaders. California's governor and both of its senators are Democrats, as are 39 out of 53 total members of the House.
So far, 58 have given a "soft" pledge of support to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is the only candidate who has received any superdelegate support from California at this point in the process, but getting the support of 78 percent of this group of delegates is designed to be a clear show of strength in the state. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are two of the superdelegates who have come out in support of Clinton to date, for example.
That doesn't mean that everyone is happy with how things are going. Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters have helped ignite a wave of new language in state platforms that call for the system to end, and for a transparent, totally proportional and representative system of delegate allotment to take the place of the current status quo. Democrats in Maine and Alaska have included language in their state platforms that would phase out the superdelegate privileges as they currently stand.
Whether or not this idea will gain enough traction to make any kind of impact at this year's convention is as of yet unclear, but it doesn't look like the superdelegate role will be going anywhere this election cycle.