Understanding Ohio’s delegates

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Ohio has a long-standing importance as a swing state in the national presidential election. The state’s primary election is March 15 and each major party will have a good number of delegates up for grabs. Here’s how the delegates, who will nominate the major party presidential candidate, are chosen nationwide. 

Ohio will offer 66 winner-take-all delegates to the Republican primary winner and 159 delegates up for grabs between the Democratic candidates on March 15. Both party’s candidates need to win 50 percent of the available delegates to receive the nomination —  the Republican nomination will need to win 1,237 of 2,472 delegates and the Democratic nominee will need to win 2,382 of 4,763 delegates.

The amount of delegates each state sends to the Republican and Democratic National Convention is based on separate formulas established by the two different parties. Each party runs there delegate count differently.


GOP delegate counts

The Republican party provides a base of six delegates for each state in the U.S. Each state then adds three delegates for each congressional district within the state. This base count gives Ohio 54 delegates. 

Bonus delegates are awarded for each state through special rules and occurrences set by the Republican Party. The rules and occurrences have to do with past voting records, elected state leadership and Republican control of the state legislative chamber.

Democratic delegates

The Democratic Party distributes 3,000 delegate votes between the 50 states and Washington, D.C. to a formula established by DNC rules. The DNC adds on a 15 percent bonus for party leaders and elected officials in each state.

The formula established by the DNC takes national electoral votes, elected official and party leaders for each state, previous voting records of each state and the allocation factor into account when assigning delegates.


The DNC also recognizes a special type of delegate called superdelegates, which have a separate voting power from standard delegates. The GOP has no counterpart to the Democrats’ superdelegate.

Regular delegates are bound to the decision of the voters in their state. So if the voting public in a primary chooses one candidate, the delegates are then bound to go to the DNC.

Superdelegates, sometimes known as unpledged delegates, are not beholden to the voters’ demands of their state. They may choose to represent any candidate they wish at the DNC.

Karl Schneider is an administration reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].