Is The South Dakota Primary Winner Take All? The Mount Rushmore State's Rules Are Chiseled & Clear
As the primaries wind down, the frontrunners are trying to expand their delegate leads to cement support behind their nomination. Hillary Clinton is doing her best in California and New Jersey to expand her lead against Bernie Sanders, while on the GOP side of the equation, there is just one candidate left in the race: Donald Trump. The last thing the country needs is a stronger Trump campaign, and yet the rules of some GOP states will make it even easier for him to amass a huge delegate advantage. Just look to South Dakota where the winner-takes-all delegate rules will benefit Trump.
Of course, this is just the Republican Party we're talking about here. The Democrats, as always, will allocate their delegates proportionally in the state. South Dakota's 20 pledged Democratic delegates will be awarded based on the results of the statewide vote — in theory, they would be in part separated out by congressional district, but South Dakota has only one. Technically, 14 of those are awarded based on the results in the one district and the other six statewide, but in the end it's all the same.
There are also five superdelegates from the state. Only one has pledged his support to Clinton thus far, and you'll likely recognize his name — Tom Daschle, the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. He waited until the end of May to declare his support, but he will be taking to the campaign trail on her behalf. As for the other four, if Sanders wins the state, you can be sure he'll be pressuring them to rally behind him.
As for the Republicans, the winner-take-all rules are even simpler. No worrying about congressional district or margins: there are 29 delegates that will be awarded based on Tuesday's primary — and they all go to the winner. That number includes the three party leaders who have traditionally been unbound but are forced to support the winner of their state's primary due to new GOP rules.
As for the winners, FiveThirtyEight is not issuing any for the state; there haven't been enough polls to make a fair projection. Trump, of course, is running unopposed. On the Democratic side, Sanders has been visiting in hopes of keeping Clinton from securing the delegates needed to win the contest outright before the convention. In 2008, Clinton won the state with 55 percent of the vote to Obama's 45 percent.
How the delegates are divvied out will, of course, depend on the voters of the Mount Rushmore State. And this year they're certainly pleased with one thing — the country's paying even the least bit of attention to their primary.
Through Tuesday, at least.