Is The New Jersey Primary Winner Take All? The State Could Decide The Democratic Nomination
With the power to potentially decide the Democratic nominee, Tuesday's New Jersey primary is likely to be a heavily watched affair. Voters in the Garden State could help Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton mathematically clinch the nomination hours before polls close in California, another much anticipated primary set to be held Tuesday. With so much on the line, it's important to understand how delegates are allocated in the New Jersey primary. The two major political parties don't follow the same set of rules when it comes to divvying up delegates.
New Jersey is only a winner-take-all primary for Republicans. The candidate who receives a plurality of the votes in New Jersey is entitled to all of the state's district and at-large delegates as well as its three bound delegates. Simply put, a candidate who wins 51 percent of the statewide vote wins 100 percent of the state's 51 pledged delegates.
Voters in New Jersey won't have much of an impact in the Republican presidential primary, however, as that contest lost its competitive edge months ago when businessman Donald Trump became the last candidate standing and eventually tied up the required number of delegates needed to secure the nomination. Trump is expected to add to his delegate count with an easy win in New Jersey thanks to an endorsement by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ended his own presidential campaign in early February.
The Garden State is expected to have a much greater impact on the Democratic presidential primary, with the potential to decide the nomination by pushing Clinton over the delegate threshold before polls close in California. The state will send 126 pledged delegates and 16 superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention in July and data suggests Clinton is a heavily favored among New Jersey voters. Recent polls from late May show Clinton holding a double-digit lead over rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton's win in the Virgin Islands caucus Saturday placed her approximately 60 delegates shy of clinching the nomination ahead of the New Jersey primary, according to the Associate Press. The former secretary of State is also expected to pick up delegates in Sunday's Puerto Rico Democratic primary, potentially cutting the number or delegates she'd need to wrap up the nomination nearly in half before New Jersey voters even head to the polls. Because national party rules dictate delegates be allocated proportionately rather than through a winner-take-all system for every Democratic primary, Clinton could still secure the nomination even if she technically loses New Jersey by nabbing less than 50 percent of the votes Tuesday.
Although the New Jersey Republican primary may feel like more of a procedural postscript, all eyes are likely to be on the state's Democratic primary this Tuesday. Due to Democrat's proportionate system of delegate allocation, Clinton has an opportunity to clinch the party's nomination whether she wins or loses New Jersey.