By: Anthony Sganga
Copy Editor

 

The year is 2012. For most, this year is associated with the prophesized end of the world, but unbeknownst to some, a major Presidential race is just months away. On November 6, US citizens will go to the polls and choose between the better of two candidates.
Few, however, pay attention to how we get to these two men. Primaries and caucus’, which determine the candidate for the Republicans and Democrats, are just as important as Election Day itself. Starting with the Iowa Caucus, which occurred on January 3, the Republican Candidates began a six month, 50 state battle with 2,288 delegates available.
A delegate is a person who is sent to the Republican National Convention in August, who is allowed to cast a vote for the candidate. In order to become the Republican who opposes Barack Obama in the general election, a candidate must have amassed 1,144 delegates, giving them a majority.
Each state has a different number of delegates they are awarded based on population and counties. For example, New Hampshire, a small state, was worth 13 delegates, while the California Primary, which occurs in June, is worth 169. Also worth noting is how the delegates are allotted to each candidate. In all primaries before April 3, delegates are awarded proportional based on percentage of votes received, for example in the Iowa Caucus, 25 delegates for up for grabs, with Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney each accumulating the largest percent of votes, therefore Santorum obtained 13 delegates to Romney’s 12. After April 3, delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all system, so states who hold contests late in the primary season are potentially worth more for candidates.
According to the New York Times, taking the eight contests that have occurred as of February 16, the delegate totals are Mitt Romney; 105, Rick Santorum; 71, Newt Gingrich; 29, and Ron Paul; 18. No candidate can clinch the 1,144 delegates necessary before April 24, however, it appears unlikely that the race will be decided by then. With the current patterns showing Romney dominating the East, Santorum clearing the Midwest, and Gingrich showing strong in the South, the race for the Republican Candidacy may drag all the way to June. Another possibility, which will be looked at next week, is a brokered convention, which is a scenario in which no candidate accumulates the 1,144 delegates and a candidate is decided by several votes at the Republican National Convention in August.
What has not been highlighted, is the Democrat Primaries, these follow a little different form then the Republican Contests. All Democrat Primaries have a proportion system, with the race usually coming down to the last states. This year, however, with President Obama being an incumbent, he has faced little to no opposition in any contest to date and is expected to easily clinch the Democratic Nomination.
Some important dates to remember
–        March 6 – Super Tuesday, 10 states hold Republican Primaries with a total of 437 delegates up for stakes.
–        June 5th – New Jersey’s primary,  a total of 50 delegates will be allotted.
–        June 26 –  Utah’s Primary, the final primary of the year.
–        August 27-30 – Republican National Convention, Tampa, FL.
–        September 3-6 – Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC.