2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries
The 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses were a series of electoral contests organized by the Democratic Party to select the 4,051 delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention held July 25–28 and determine the nominee for President of the United States in the 58th U.S. presidential election. The elections took place within all fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and Democrats Abroad and occurred between February 1 and June 14, 2016.
4,763 delegate votes to the Democratic National Convention
2,382 delegate votes needed to win
First place by initial pledged delegate allocation
First place by convention roll call
A total of six major candidates entered the race starting April 12, 2015, when former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton formally announced her second bid for the presidency. She was followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig. A draft movement was started to encourage Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to seek the presidency, but Warren declined to run, as did incumbent Vice President Joe Biden. Webb, Chafee, and Lessig withdrew prior to the February 1, 2016, Iowa caucuses.
Clinton won Iowa by the closest margin in the history of the state's Democratic caucus to date. O'Malley suspended[b] his campaign after a distant third-place finish, leaving Clinton and Sanders as the only two candidates. The race turned out to be more competitive than expected, with Sanders decisively winning New Hampshire, while Clinton subsequently won Nevada and won a landslide victory in South Carolina. Clinton then secured numerous important wins in each of the nine most populous states including California, New York, Florida, and Texas, while Sanders scored various victories in between. He then laid off a majority of staff after the New York primary and Clinton's multi-state sweep on April 26. On June 6, the Associated Press and NBC News stated that Clinton had become the presumptive nominee after reaching the required number of delegates, including both pledged and unpledged delegates (superdelegates), to secure the nomination. In doing so, she became the first woman to ever be the presumptive nominee of any major political party in the United States. On June 7, Clinton officially secured a majority of pledged delegates after winning in the California and New Jersey primaries. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren formally endorsed Clinton on June 9. Sanders confirmed on June 24 that he would vote for Clinton over Donald Trump in the general election and formally endorsed Clinton on July 12 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
On July 22, WikiLeaks published the Democratic National Committee email leak, in which DNC operatives seemed to deride Bernie Sanders' campaign and discuss ways to advance Clinton's nomination, leading to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other implicated officials. The leak was allegedly part of an operation by the Russian government to undermine Hillary Clinton. Although the ensuing controversy initially focused on emails that dated from relatively late in the primary, when Clinton was already close to securing the nomination, the emails cast doubt on the DNC's neutrality and, according to Sanders operatives and multiple media commentators, showed that the DNC had favored Clinton since early on. This was evidenced by alleged bias in the scheduling and conduct of the debates,[c] as well as controversial DNC–Clinton agreements regarding financial arrangements and control over policy and hiring decisions.[d] Other media commentators have disputed the significance of the emails, arguing that the DNC's internal preference for Clinton was not historically unusual and didn't affect the primary enough to sway the outcome. The controversies ultimately led to the formation of a DNC "unity" commission to recommend reforms in the party's primary process.
On July 26, 2016, the Democratic National Convention officially nominated Clinton for president and a day later, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine for vice president. On November 8, 2016, Republican nominee Donald Trump defeated Clinton in the general election.
|Candidate||Born||Most recent position||State||Announced||Candidacy||Total pledged delegates||Contests won[e]||Ref.|
|October 26, 1947
U.S. Secretary of State
|April 12, 2015||
(Campaign • Positions)
|2205 / 4051 (54%)||34
AL, AR, AS, AZ,
CA, CT, DC, DE, FL,
GA, GU, IA, IL, KY,
LA, MA, MD, MO,
MP, MS, NC, NJ,
NM, NV, NY, OH,
PA, PR, SC, SD,[f]
TN, TX, VA, VI
Withdrew at the conventionEdit
|Candidate||Born||Most recent position||State||Announced||Lost Nomination||Candidacy||Total pledged delegates||Contests won[e]||Ref.|
|September 8, 1941
Brooklyn, New York
|U.S. Senator from Vermont
|April 30, 2015||July 26, 2016
(endorsed Hillary Clinton)
(Campaign • Positions)
|1846 / 4051 (46%)||23
AK, CO, DA, HI,
ID, IN, KS, ME,
MI, MN, MT, NE,[g]
NH, ND, OK, OR,
RI, UT, VT, WA,[h]
WI, WV, WY[f]
Withdrew during the primariesEdit
|Candidate||Born||Most recent position||State||Announced||Withdrew||Candidacy||Ref|
|January 18, 1963
|61st Governor of Maryland
|May 31, 2015||February 1, 2016
(endorsed Hillary Clinton)
(Campaign • Website)
Withdrew before the primariesEdit
|Candidate||Born||Most recent position||State||Announced||Withdrew||Candidacy||Ref|
|March 26, 1953 (age 63)
Providence, Rhode Island
|74th Governor of Rhode Island (2011–2015)||
|June 3, 2015||October 23, 2015
(endorsed Hillary Clinton)
(Campaign • Website)
|February 9, 1946 (age 70)
Saint Joseph, Missouri
|U.S. Senator from Virginia (2007–2013)||
|July 7, 2015||October 20, 2015
(Campaign • Website)
|June 3, 1961 (age 55)
Rapid City, South Dakota
|Professor at Harvard Law School (2009–2016)||
|September 9, 2015||November 2, 2015
(Campaign • Website)
Other candidates' resultsEdit
The following candidates were frequently interviewed by news channels and were invited to forums and candidate debates. For reference, Clinton received 16,849,779 votes in the primaries.
|Candidates in this section are sorted by number of votes received|
|Martin O'Malley||Lawrence Lessig||Jim Webb||Lincoln Chafee|
Governor of Maryland
Governor of Rhode Island
4 write-in votes in New Hampshire
2 write-in votes in New Hampshire
Other candidates participated in one or more state primaries without receiving major coverage or substantial vote counts.
In the weeks following the re-election of President Obama in the 2012 election, media speculation regarding potential candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2016 presidential election began to circulate. The speculation centered on the prospects of Clinton, then-Secretary of State, making a second presidential bid in the 2016 election. Clinton had previously served as a U.S. Senator for New York (2001–09) and was the First Lady of the U.S. (1993–2001). A January 2013 Washington Post–ABC News poll indicated that she had high popularity among the American public. This polling information prompted numerous political pundits and observers to anticipate that Clinton would mount a second presidential bid in 2016, entering the race as the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination. From the party's liberal left wing came calls for a more progressive candidate to challenge what was perceived by many within this segment as the party's establishment. Elizabeth Warren quickly became a highly touted figure within this movement as well as the object of a draft movement to run in the primaries, despite her repeated denials of interest in doing so. The MoveOn.org campaign 'Run Warren Run' announced that it would disband on June 8, 2015, opting to focus its efforts toward progressive issues. The draft campaign's New Hampshire staffer, Kurt Ehrenberg, had joined Sanders' team and most of the remaining staffers were expected to follow suit. Given the historical tendency for sitting vice presidents to seek the presidency in election cycles in which the incumbent president is not a candidate, there was also considerable speculation regarding a potential presidential run by incumbent Vice President Joe Biden, who had previously campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in the election cycles of 1988 and 2008. This speculation was further fueled by Biden's own expressions of interest in a possible run in 2016. However, on October 21, 2015, speaking from a podium in the Rose Garden with his wife and President Obama by his side, Biden announced his decision not to enter the race, as he was still dealing with the loss of his son, Beau, who died weeks earlier at the age of 47. Biden would become the nominee for the Democratic Party 4 years later, when he defeated incumbent President Trump.
On May 26, 2015, Sanders officially announced his run as a presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, after an informal announcement on April 30 and speculation since early 2014. Sanders had previously served as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981–89), Vermont's sole U.S. Representative (1991–2007) and Vermont's junior Senator (2007–present). He emerged as the biggest rival to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, backed by a strong grassroots campaign and a social media following. In November 2014, Jim Webb, a former U.S. Senator who had once served as the U.S. Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, announced the formation of an exploratory committee in preparation for a possible run for the Democratic presidential nomination. This made Webb the first major potential candidate to take a formal action toward seeking the party's 2016 nomination. Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland as well as a former Mayor of Baltimore, made formal steps toward a campaign for the party's nomination in January 2015 with the hiring and retaining of personnel who had served the previous year as political operatives in Iowa – the first presidential nominating state in the primary elections cycle – as staff for his political action committee (PAC). O'Malley had started the "O’ Say Can You See" PAC in 2012 which had, prior to 2015, functioned primarily as fundraising vehicles for various Democratic candidates, as well as for two 2014 ballot measures in Maryland. With the 2015 staffing moves, the PAC ostensibly became a vehicle for O'Malley – who had for several months openly contemplated a presidential bid – to lay the groundwork for a potential campaign for the party's presidential nomination. In August 2015, Lawrence Lessig unexpectedly announced his intention to enter the race, promising to run if his exploratory committee raised $1 million by Labor Day. After accomplishing this, Lessig formally announced his campaign. He described his candidacy as a referendum on electoral reform legislation, prioritizing a single issue: the Citizen Equality Act of 2017, a proposal that couples campaign finance reform with other laws aimed at curbing gerrymandering and ensuring voting access.
February 2016: early primariesEdit
Despite being heavily favored in polls issued weeks earlier, Clinton was only able to defeat Sanders in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus by the closest margin in the history of the contest: 49.8% to 49.6% (Clinton collected 700.47 state delegate equivalents to Sanders' 696.92, a difference of one-quarter of a percentage point). This led to speculation that she won due to six coin-toss tiebreakers all resulting in her favor. However, the only challenge to the caucus' results was in a single precinct, which gave Clinton a fifth delegate.
|February 9||New Hampshire||38.0%||60.4%|
|February 27||South Carolina||73.5%||26.0%|
The victory, which was projected to award her 23 pledged national convention delegates (two more than Sanders), made Clinton the first woman to win the Caucus and marked a clear difference from 2008, where she finished in third place behind Obama and John Edwards. Martin O'Malley suspended[b] his campaign after a disappointing third-place finish with only 0.5% of the state delegate equivalents awarded, leaving Clinton and Sanders the only two major candidates in the race. A week later, Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, receiving 60.4% of the popular vote to Clinton's 38%, putting him ahead of Clinton in the overall pledged delegate count by four, and making him the first Jewish candidate of a major party to win a primary. Hillary Clinton's loss in New Hampshire was a regression from 2008, when she defeated Obama, Edwards, and a handful of other candidates including Joe Biden with 39% of the popular vote.
Sanders' narrow loss in Iowa and victory in New Hampshire generated speculation about a possible loss for Clinton in Nevada, the next state to hold its caucuses on February 20. For her part, Clinton, who had won the state eight years prior in the 2008 Nevada Democratic caucuses, hoped that a victory would allay concerns about a possible repetition of 2008 when she ultimately lost to Obama despite entering the primary season as the favorite for the nomination. Ultimately, Clinton emerged victorious with 52.6% of the county delegates, a margin of victory similar to her performance in 2008. Sanders, who attained 47.3% of the vote, was projected to receive five fewer pledged delegates than Clinton and the result was not promising for the following weekend's primary in South Carolina, more demographically favorable to Clinton than the prior contests. On February 27, Clinton won the South Carolina primary with 73.5% of the vote, receiving a larger percentage of the African American vote than Barack Obama had eight years earlier – 90% to Obama's 80%.
March 1, 2016: Super TuesdayEdit
The 2016 primary schedule was significantly different from that of 2008. During that election cycle, many states moved their primaries or caucuses to earlier in the calendar to have greater influence over the race. In 2008, February 5 was the earliest date allowed by the Democratic National Committee, leading 23 states and territories to move their elections to that date, the biggest Super Tuesday to ever take place. For 2016, the calendar was more disparate than it was in 2008, with several groups of states voting on different dates, the most important being March 1, March 15, April 26 and June 7. The day with the most contests was March 1, 2016, in which primaries or caucuses were held in 11 states (including six in the Southern United States) and American Samoa. A total of 865 pledged delegates were at stake.
Clinton secured victories in all of the southern contests except Oklahoma. Her biggest victory of the day came in Alabama, where she won 77.8% of the vote against Sanders' 19.2%, although her most significant delegate prize came from Texas, where she received 65.2% of the vote with strong support from non-white as well as white voters. Collectively, the southern states gave Clinton a net gain of 165 pledged delegates. Apart from the South, Clinton also narrowly defeated Sanders in Massachusetts, as well as winning in the territory of American Samoa. Sanders scored comfortable wins in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and Oklahoma primary and won an 86.1%–13.6% landslide in his home state of Vermont - one of only two times either of the two main candidates missed the 15% threshold in a state or territory, with the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Clinton received over 87% of the vote, being the other one. Although the results overall were unfavorable for Sanders, his four wins and narrow loss allowed him to remain in the race in anticipation of more favorable territory in New England, the Great Plains, Mountain States and the Pacific Northwest. At the end of the day, Clinton collected 518 pledged delegates to Sanders' 347, taking her lead to 609–412, a difference of 197 pledged delegates.
|N. Mariana Islands||54.0%||34.4%|
Sanders found more hospitable ground on the weekend of March 5, 2016, winning caucuses in Kansas, Maine and Nebraska by significant margins. Clinton answered with an even larger win in Louisiana's primary, limiting Sanders' net gain for the weekend to only four delegates. Clinton would also win the Northern Mariana Islands caucus, held the following weekend on March 12. Two states had held nominating contests on March 8 – Michigan and Mississippi – with Clinton heavily favored to win both. Mississippi went for Clinton, as expected, by a landslide margin. The Mississippi primary was the highest vote share Clinton won in any state. However, Sanders stunned by scoring a narrow win in Michigan. Analysts floated a number of theories to explain the failure of the Michigan polling, with most centering on pollsters' erroneous assumptions about the composition of the electorate stemming from the 2008 primary in Michigan not having been contested due to an impasse between the state party and DNC. Although Clinton expanded her delegate lead, some journalists suggested Sanders' upset might presage her defeat in other delegate-rich Midwestern states, such as Missouri, Ohio and Illinois, who voted a week later on March 15, along with North Carolina and Florida, where Clinton was more clearly favored. Clinton was able to sweep all five primaries, extending her pledged delegate lead by around 100 delegates, although Sanders was able to hold Clinton to narrow margins in her birth-state of Illinois and especially Missouri, where Clinton won by a mere 0.2 points. Missouri state law allowed for a possible recount had any of the candidates requested it; however, Sanders forwent the opportunity on the basis that it would not significantly affect the delegate allocation. By the end of the evening, Clinton had expanded her pledged delegate lead to more than 320, several times larger than her greatest deficit in the 2008 primary.
Late March and early AprilEdit
Following the March 15 primaries, the race moved to a series of contests more favorable for Sanders. On March 21, the results of the Democrats Abroad primary (held March 1–8) were announced. Sanders was victorious and picked up nine delegates to Clinton's four, closing his delegate deficit by five. Arizona, Idaho and Utah held primaries on March 22, dubbed "Western Tuesday" by media. Despite continued efforts by Sanders to close the gap in Arizona after his surprise win in Michigan, Clinton won the primary with 56.3% of the vote. However, Clinton lost both Idaho and Utah by roughly 60 points, allowing Sanders to close his delegate deficit by 25.
The next states to vote were Alaska, Hawaii and Washington on March 26, 2016. All three states were considered as favorable for Sanders, and most political analysts expected him to win them all, given the demographics and Sanders' strong performance in previous caucuses. Sanders finished the day with a net gain of roughly 66 delegates over Clinton. His largest win was in Alaska, where he defeated Clinton with 82% of the vote, although the majority of his delegate gain came from the considerably more populous state of Washington, which he won by a 46% margin, outperforming then-Senator Obama's 2008 results, when he defeated Clinton 68%–31%. The Clinton and Sanders campaigns reached an agreement on April 4 for a ninth debate to take place on April 14 (five days before the New York primary) in Brooklyn, New York, which would air on CNN and NY1. On April 5, Sanders won the Wisconsin primary by 13 and 1/2 percentage points, closing his delegate deficit by 10 more. The Wyoming caucuses were held on April 9, which Sanders won with 55.7% of the state convention delegates choosing him; however, Clinton had a stronger showing than expected, given her demographic disadvantage and that she did not campaign personally in the state. Each candidate was estimated to have earned 7 of Wyoming's 14 pledged delegates.
Late April and MayEdit
On April 19, Clinton won New York by 16 points. While Sanders performed well in Upstate New York and with younger voters, Clinton performed well among all other age groups and non-whites, and she won a majority in all boroughs of New York City.
Five Northeastern states held primaries a week later on April 26. The day was dubbed the "Super Tuesday III" or the "Acela Primary" after Amtrak's Acela Express train service that connects these states. Clinton won in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut while Sanders won the Rhode Island primary.
On May 3, Sanders pulled off a surprise victory in the Indiana primary, winning over Clinton by a five-point margin despite trailing in all the state's polls. Clinton then won the Guam caucus on May 7 and, on May 10, she won the non-binding Nebraska primary while Sanders won in West Virginia.
Clinton narrowly won Kentucky on May 17 by half a percentage point and gained one delegate, after heavily campaigning in the state. On the same day, Sanders won his second closed primary in Oregon where he gained nine delegates, a net gain of eight on the day. Clinton then went on to win the non-binding Washington primary on May 24.
|District of Columbia||78.7%||21.1%|
June contained the final contests of the Democratic primaries, and both Sanders and Clinton invested heavily into winning the California primary. Clinton led the polls in California but some predicted a narrow race. On June 4 and 5, Clinton won two decisive victories in the Virgin Islands caucus and Puerto Rico primary. On June 6, both the Associated Press and NBC News reported that Clinton had sufficient support from pledged and unpledged delegates to become the presumptive Democratic nominee. Clinton's campaign seemed reluctant to accept the mantle of "presumptive nominee" before all the voting was concluded, while Sanders' campaign stated it would continue to run and accused the media of a "rush to judgement." Six states held their primaries on June 7. Clinton won in California, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. Sanders won Montana and North Dakota, the latter being the only caucus contest held on that day. Clinton finally declared victory on the evening of June 7, as the results ensured that she had won a majority of the pledged delegates and the popular vote. Sanders stated he would continue to run for the Democratic Party's nomination in the final primary in the District of Columbia on June 14, which Clinton won. Both campaigns met at a downtown Washington D.C. hotel after the primary. The Sanders campaign said that they would release a video statement on June 16 to clarify the future of Sanders' campaign; the video announced that Sanders looked forward to help Clinton defeat Trump. On July 12, 2016, Sanders endorsed Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
July 2016: National Convention and email leaksEdit
On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released online tens of thousands of messages leaked from the e-mail accounts of seven key DNC staff. Some e-mails showed two DNC staffers discussing the possibility that Sanders' possible atheism might harm him in a general election with religious voters. Others showed a few staffers had expressed personal preferences that Clinton should become the nominee, suggesting that the party's leadership had worked to undermine Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the accusations lies. The furor raised over this matter escalated to Wasserman Schultz's resignation ahead of the convention, and that of Marshals, Dacey, and Communications Director Luis Miranda afterwards. Following Wasserman Schultz's resignation, then-DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile took over as interim DNC chairwoman for the convention and remained so until February 2017. In November 2017, Brazile said in her book and related interviews that the Clinton campaign and the DNC had colluded 'unethically' by giving the Clinton campaign control over the DNC's personnel and press releases before the primary in return for funding to eliminate the DNC's remaining debt from 2012 campaign, in addition to using the DNC and state committees to funnel campaign-limitation-exceeding donations to her campaign. Internal memos later surfaced, claiming that these measures were not meant to affect the nominating process despite their timing. At the end of June 2016, it was claimed that "more money [from the Hillary Victory Fund] will be moved to the state parties in the coming months." Brazile later clarified that she claimed the process was 'unethical', but 'not a criminal act'.
DNC officials including chairman Tom Perez pointed out that the same joint-fundraising agreement had been offered to Sanders and applied only to the general election; however, the Clinton campaign also had a second agreement that granted it additional, unusual oversight over hiring and policy, even though the text of the agreement insisted on the DNC's impartiality and focus on the general election. Brazile later denied that the primary was rigged, because "no votes were overturned," but described herself as "very upset" about a DNC–Clinton fundraising agreement. The Washington Post characterized Brazile's eventual argument as: "Clinton exerted too much power but did win the nomination fairly."
After the general election, the U.S. intelligence community and the Special Counsel investigation assessed that the leaks were part of a larger interference campaign by the Russian government to cause political instability in the United States and to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign by bolstering the candidacies of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein. The Russian government is alleged to have promoted Sanders beginning in 2015 as a way to weaken or defeat Clinton, who Russian President Vladimir Putin opposed. The influence campaign by the Internet Research Agency targeted Sanders voters through social media and encouraged them to vote for a third party candidate or abstain from voting. Sanders denounced these efforts and urged his supporters to support Clinton in the general election.
When news of the DNC leak first surfaced in June 2016, the Russian government denied allegations of hacking. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also stated that the Russian government was not source of the leak. In July 2018, the special counsel indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking and leaking the emails.
The 2016 Democratic National Convention was held from July 25–28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, with some events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The delegates selected the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees and wrote the party platform. A simple majority of 2,383 delegates was needed to win the presidential nomination. While most of the delegates were bound on the first ballot according to the results of the primaries, a progressively larger number of pledged delegates would have become unbound if the nomination required more than one ballot. Clinton was nominated on the first ballot by acclamation, although all states were allowed to announce how they would have voted under a typical roll call vote. On July 12, 2016, the Vermont delegates had supported Clinton in Sanders' request; asking for party unity, he dropped out on July 26, 2016, and announced he would return to the Senate as an independent.
Graphical summary of pollingEdit
This is an overview of the money used in the campaign as it is reported to Federal Election Commission (FEC) and released on April 27, 2016. Outside groups are independent expenditure only committees—also called PACs and SuperPACs. Several such groups normally support each candidate, but the numbers in the table are a total of all of them. This means that a group of committees can be shown as technically insolvent (shown in red) even though it is not the case of all of them. The Campaign Committee's debt is shown in red if the campaign is technically insolvent. The source of all the numbers is Center for Responsive Politics. Some spending totals are not available, due to withdrawals before the FEC deadline.
|Campaign committee (as of April 30)||Outside groups (as of May 16)||Total spent||Campaign|
|Money raised||Money spent||Cash on hand||Debt||Money raised||Money spent||Cash on hand|
|Bernie Sanders||$227,678,274||$219,695,969||$8,015,274||$898,879||$869,412||$1,069,765||$-200,353||$220,765,734||July 26|
|Martin O'Malley||$6,073,767||$5,965,205||$108,562||$19,423||$1,105,138||$1,298,967||$-193,829||$7,264,172||February 1|
|Lawrence Lessig||$1,196,753||N/A||N/A||N/A||$0||$0||$0||N/A||November 2|
|Jim Webb||$764,992||$558,151||$206,842||$0||$27,092||$31,930||$-4,838||$590,081||October 20|
|Lincoln Chafee||$418,136||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||October 23|
The Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses are indirect elections in which voters elect delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention; these delegates in turn directly elect the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. In some states, the party may disregard voters' selection of delegates or selected delegates may vote for any candidate at the state or national convention (non-binding primary or caucus). In other states, state laws and party rules require the party to select delegates according to votes, and delegates must vote for a particular candidate (binding primary or caucus). There are 4,051 pledged delegates and 714 superdelegates in the 2016 cycle. Under the party's delegate selection rules, the number of pledged delegates allocated to each of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. is determined using a formula based on three main factors:
- The proportion of votes each state gave to the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential elections (2004, 2008, and 2012)
- The number of electoral votes each state has in the United States Electoral College.
- The stage of the primary season when they held their contest. States and territories that held their contests later are given bonus seats.
A candidate must win 2,383 delegates at the national convention, in order to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. For the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and for Democrats Abroad, fixed numbers of pledged delegates are allocated. All states and territories then must have used a proportional representation system, where their pledged delegates were awarded proportionally to the election results. A candidate must receive at least 15% of the popular vote to win pledged delegates in a state. The current 714 unpledged superdelegates (or "soft" delegates) included members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate, state and territorial governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, and other party leaders. Because of possible deaths, resignations, or the results of intervening or special elections, the final number of these superdelegates may be reduced before the convention. The Democratic National Committee also imposed rules for states that wished to hold early contests in 2016. No state was be permitted to hold a primary or caucus in January and only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada were entitled to February contests. Any state that violated these rules were penalized half its pledged delegates and all its superdelegates to the 2016 convention.
Schedule and resultsEdit
The following are the results of candidates that won at least one state. These candidates were on the ballots for every state, territory and federal district contest. The results of caucuses did not always have attached preference polls and attendance was extremely limited. The unpledged delegate count did not always reflect the latest declared preferences.
|Date||State/territory||Calculated delegates||Type[i]||Popular vote or equivalent[j]||Estimated delegates[k]|
|Feb 1||Iowa||44||7||51||Semi-open caucus||700 SDE (49.8%)||697 SDE (49.6%)||23||6||29||21||0||21||0||1||1|
|Feb 9||New Hampshire||24||8||32||Semi-closed primary||95,355 (37.7%)||152,193 (60.1%)||9||6||15||15||1||16||0||1||1|
|Feb 20||Nevada||35||8||43||Closed caucus||6,316 CD (52.6%)||5,678 CD (47.3%)||20||7||27||15||1||16||0||0||0|
|Feb 27||South Carolina||53||6||59||Open primary||272,379 (73.4%)||96,498 (26.0%)||39||5||44||14||0||14||0||1||1|
|Mar 1||Alabama||53||7||60||Open primary||309,926 (77.8%)||76,401 (19.2%)||44||6||50||9||0||9||0||1||1|
|American Samoa||6||5||11||Closed caucus||162 (68.4%)||61 (25.7%)||4||4||8||2||1||3||0||0||0|
|Arkansas||32||5||37||Open primary||146,057 (66.1%)||66,236 (30.0%)||22||5||27||10||0||10||0||0||0|
|Colorado||66||12||78||Closed caucus||49,789 (40.3%)||72,846 (59.0%)||25||9||34||41||0||41||0||3||3|
|Georgia||102||15||117||Open primary||543,008 (71.3%)||214,332 (28.2%)||73||11||84||29||0||29||0||4||4|
|Massachusetts||91||24||115||Semi-closed primary||606,822 (49.7%)||589,803 (48.3%)||46||21||67||45||1||46||0||2||2|
|Minnesota||77||16||93||Open caucus||73,510 (38.4%)||118,135 (61.6%)||31||12||43||46||2||48||0||2||2|
|Oklahoma||38||4||42||Semi-closed primary||139,443 (41.5%)||174,228 (51.9%)||17||1||18||21||1||22||0||2||2|
|Tennessee||67||8||75||Open primary||245,930 (66.1%)||120,800 (32.5%)||44||8||52||23||0||23||0||0||0|
|Texas||222||29||251||Open primary||936,004 (65.2%)||476,547 (33.2%)||147||21||168||75||0||75||0||8||8|
|Vermont||16||10||26||Open primary||18,338 (13.6%)||115,900 (85.7%)||0||5||5||16||5||21||0||0||0|
|Virginia||95||13||108||Open primary||504,741 (64.3%)||276,370 (35.2%)||62||12||74||33||0||33||0||1||1|
|Mar 5||Kansas||33||4||37||Closed caucus||12,593 (32.3%)||26,450 (67.7%)||10||4||14||23||0||23||0||0||0|
|Louisiana||51||8||59||Closed primary||221,733 (71.1%)||72,276 (23.2%)||37||6||43||14||0||14||0||2||2|
|Nebraska||25||5||30||Closed caucus||14,340 (42.9%)||19,120 (57.1%)||10||3||13||15||1||16||0||1||1|
|Mar 6||Maine||25||5||30||Closed caucus||1,232 SCD (35.5%)||2,231 SCD (64.3%)||8||4||12||17||1||18||0||0||0|
|Mar 1–8||Democrats Abroad||13||4[m]||17||Closed primary||10,689 (30.9%)||23,779 (68.9%)||4||2½||6½||9||½||9½||0||1||1|
|Mar 8||Michigan||130||17||147||Open primary||581,775 (48.3%)||598,943 (49.7%)||63||13||76||67||0||67||0||4||4|
|Mississippi||36||5||41||Open primary||187,334 (82.5%)||37,748 (16.6%)||31||3||34||5||2||7||0||0||0|
|Mar 12||Northern Marianas||6||5||11||Closed caucus||102 (54.0%)||65 (34.4%)||4||5||9||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|Mar 15||Florida||214||32||246||Closed primary||1,101,414 (64.4%)||568,839 (33.3%)||141||24||165||73||2||75||0||6||6|
|Illinois||156||27||183||Open primary||1,039,555 (50.6%)||999,494 (48.6%)||79||24||103||77||1||78||0||1[l]||1[l]|
|Missouri||71||13||84||Open primary||312,285 (49.6%)||310,711 (49.4%)||36||11||47||35||0||35||0||2||2|
|North Carolina||107||14||121||Semi-closed primary||622,915 (54.5%)||467,018 (40.9%)||60||9||69||47||2||49||0||3||3|
|Ohio||143||17||160||Semi-open primary||696,681 (56.1%)||535,395 (43.1%)||81||16||97||62||1||63||0||0||0|
|Mar 22||Arizona||75||10||85||Closed primary||262,459 (56.3%)||192,962 (41.4%)||42||6||48||33||1||34||0||3||3|
|Idaho||23||4||27||Open caucus||5,065 (21.2%)||18,640 (78.0%)||5||1||6||18||2||20||0||1||1|
|Utah||33||4||37||Semi-open caucus||15,666 (20.3%)||61,333 (79.3%)||6||2||8||27||2||29||0||0||0|
|Mar 26||Alaska||16||4||20||Closed caucus||2,146 (20.2%)||8,447 (79.6%)||3||1||4||13||1||14||0||2||2|
|Hawaii||25||9||34||Semi-closed caucus||10,125 (30.0%)||23,530 (69.8%)||8||5||13||17||2||19||0||2||2|
|Washington||101||17||118||Open caucus||7,140 LDD (27.1%)||19,159 LDD (72.7%)||27||11||38||74||0||74||0||6||6|
|Apr 5||Wisconsin||86||10||96||Open primary||433,739 (43.1%)||570,192 (56.6%)||38||9||47||48||1||49||0||0||0|
|Apr 9||Wyoming||14||4||18||Closed caucus||124 SCD (44.3%)||156 SCD (55.7%)||7||4||11||7||0||7||0||0||0|
|Apr 19||New York||247||44||291||Closed primary||1,133,980 (57.5%)||820,256 (41.6%)||139||41||180||108||0||108||0||3||3|
|Apr 26||Connecticut||55||16||71||Closed primary||170,045 (51.8%)||152,379 (46.4%)||28||15||43||27||0||27||0||1||1|
|Delaware||21||11||32||Closed primary||55,954 (59.8%)||36,662 (39.2%)||12||11||23||9||0||9||0||0||0|
|Maryland||95||24||119||Closed primary||573,242 (62.5%)||309,990 (33.8%)||60||17||77||35||1||36||0||6||6|
|Pennsylvania||189||19||208||Closed primary||935,107 (55.6%)||731,881 (43.5%)||106||19||125||83||0||83||0||1||1|
|Rhode Island||24||9||33||Semi-closed primary||52,749 (43.1%)||66,993 (54.7%)||11||9||20||13||0||13||0||0||0|
|May 3||Indiana||83||9||92||Open primary||303,705 (47.5%)||335,074 (52.5%)||39||7||46||44||0||44||0||2||2|
|May 7||Guam||7||5||12||Closed caucus||777 (59.5%)||528 (40.5%)||4||5||9||3||0||3||0||0||0|
|May 10||Nebraska||N/A||Closed primary||42,692 (53.1%)||37,744 (46.9%)||Non-binding primary with no delegates allocated.|
|West Virginia||29||8||37||Semi-closed primary||86,914 (35.8%)||124,700 (51.4%)||11||6||17||18||2||20||0||0||0|
|May 17||Kentucky||55||5||60||Closed primary||212,534 (46.8%)||210,623 (46.3%)||28||2||30||27||0||27||0||3||3|
|Oregon||61||13||74||Closed primary||269,846 (42.1%)||360,829 (56.2%)||25||7||32||36||3||39||0||3||3|
|May 24||Washington||N/A||Open primary[n]||420,461 (52.4%)||382,293 (47.6%)||Non-binding primary with no delegates allocated.|
|Jun 4||Virgin Islands||7||5||12||Closed caucus||1,326 (87.12%)||196 (12.88%)||7||5||12||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jun 5||Puerto Rico||60||7||67||Open primary||52,658 (59.7%)||33,368 (37.9%)||37||6||43||23||0||23||0||1||1|
|Jun 7||California||475||76||551||Semi-closed primary||2,745,302 (53.1%)||2,381,722 (46.0%)||254||66||320||221||0||221||0||10||10|
|Montana||21||6||27||Open primary||55,805 (44.2%)||65,156 (51.6%)||10||5||15||11||1||12||0||0||0|
|New Jersey||126||16||142||Semi-closed primary||566,247 (63.3%)||328,058 (36.7%)||79||12||91||47||2||49||0||2||2|
|New Mexico||34||9||43||Closed primary||111,334 (51.5%)||104,741 (48.5%)||18||9||27||16||0||16||0||0||0|
|North Dakota||18||5||23||Open caucus[o]||106 SCD (25.6%)||258 SCD (64.2%)||5||1||6||13||1||14||0||3||3|
|South Dakota||20||5||25||Semi-closed primary||27,047 (51.0%)||25,959 (49.0%)||10||2||12||10||0||10||0||3||3|
|Jun 14||District of Columbia||20||25||45||Closed primary||76,704 (78.0%)||20,361 (20.7%)||16||23||39||4||2||6||0||0||0|
|Calculated delegates||Popular vote or equivalent||Clinton delegates||Sanders delegates||Available delegates|
Superdelegates are elected officials and members of the Democratic National Committee who vote at the Democratic National Convention for their preferred candidate. Also known as unpledged delegates, they comprise 15% of the convention (712 votes out of 4,763) and they may change their preference at any time. The table below reflects current public endorsements of candidates by superdelegates, as detailed and sourced in the full list above. Because commonly referenced estimates of superdelegate support, including those by CNN and the AP, do not identify individual delegates as supporting a given candidate, their published tallies may differ from the totals computed here.
|Distinguished party leaders||Governors||Senators||Representatives||DNC members||Totals|
Note: Democrats Abroad Superdelegates are assigned half-votes; each of them accounts for ½ rather than 1 in the table above.
Democratic Party articles
- Results of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- Nationwide opinion polling for the Democratic Party 2016 presidential primaries
- Statewide opinion polling for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries
- 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidates
- 2016 Democratic Party presidential debates and forums
- List of Democratic Party presidential primaries
- 2016 Constitution Party presidential primaries
- 2016 Green Party presidential primaries
- 2016 Libertarian Party presidential primaries
- 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries
- Does not include popular vote totals from Iowa, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, or non-binding primaries
- In US elections, suspending a campaign allows candidates to cease active campaigning while still legally raising funds to pay off their debts.
- As far back as 2015, the sharp reduction of the debate schedule, as well as the days and times, had been criticized by multiple rivals as biased in Clinton's favor. The DNC denied bias, claiming to be cracking down on the non-sanctioned debates that proliferated in recent cycles, while leaving the number of officially sanctioned debates the same as in 2004 and 2008. Donna Brazile, who succeeded Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair after the first batch of leaks, was shown in the emails leaking primary debate questions to the Clinton campaign before the debates were held, although a senior aide to Sanders came to Brazile's defense and tried to downplay the issue.
- Brazile went on to write a book about the primary and what she called "unethical" behavior in which the DNC (after its debt from 2012 was resolved by the Clinton campaign) gave the Clinton campaign control over hirings and press releases, and allegedly helped it circumvent campaign finance regulation. Several Democratic leaders responded that the joint-fundraising agreement was standard, was for the purpose of the general election, and was also offered to the Sanders campaign. However, another agreement that came to light gave the Clinton campaign powers over the DNC well before the primary was decided. Some media commentators noted that the Clinton campaign's level of influence on staffing decisions was indeed unusual and could have ultimately influenced factors such as the debate schedule.
- According to popular vote or pledged delegate count (not counting superdelegates); see below for detail.
- Pledged delegates split evenly between Sanders and Clinton.
- Hillary Clinton won the non-binding Nebraska Democratic Primary.
- Hillary Clinton won the non-binding Washington Democratic Primary.
- Differences between types:
- Open: Anyone can participate regardless of their registered party affiliation.
- Semi-open: Anyone can participate except registered Republicans.
- Semi-closed: Only registered Democrats or undeclared can participate.
- Closed: Only registered Democrats can participate.
- Differences between types:
- CD: 'Popular vote' tallies the county delegates.
- LDD: 'Popular vote' tallies the legislative district delegates.
- SCD: 'Popular vote' tallies the state convention delegates.
- SDE: 'Popular vote' tallies the state delegate equivalents.
- Pledged delegates are elected with the understanding that they will support a specific candidate.
Unpledged delegates (superdelegates) are not required to voice support for a specific candidate.
- One Illinois superdelegate is still committed to O'Malley. Therefore, the total number of available delegates is one less than expected.
- There are 8 unpledged delegates from Democrats Abroad that each cast half a vote at the national convention.
- Open to all voters excluding those who caucused with the Republicans on February 20.
- Open to all voters, though those who attend must state they will identify as a Democrat for the 2016 election.
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- Ballhaus, Rebecca (February 11, 2016). "Why Candidates 'Suspend' Losing Campaigns Rather Than Say 'I Quit'". The Wall Street Journal.
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- Gaughan, Anthony J. (August 27, 2019). "Was the Democratic Nomination Rigged? A Reexamination of the Clinton-Sanders Presidential Race". University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy (29). SSRN 3443916. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
This article [...] contends that the overwhelming weight of evidence makes clear the 2016 Democratic nomination process was not rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. Second, this article argues that the Democratic Party rules and state election laws actually hurt Clinton and benefited Sanders.
- Robillard, Kevin (December 9, 2017). "DNC 'unity' panel recommends huge cut in superdelegates". Politico. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
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- @MartinOMalley (June 9, 2016). "For the future of the country, I am committing my energies to the election of Secretary Clinton as the next President. #ImWithher" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- "Iowa Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
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- "Nevada Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
- "South Carolina Democratic Primary Official Results". South Carolina State Election Commission. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "Alabama Democratic Party certified Election Results" (PDF). Secretary of State of Alabama. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
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- "Arkansas Official County results (provisional)". Arkansas Secretary of State. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
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- "Georgia Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Massachusetts Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Massachusetts Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- "Minnesota Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Oklahoma State Election Board - 2016 March PPP Election". ok.gov. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- "Oklahoma Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Tennessee Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Texas Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Vermont Secretary of State
- "Vermont Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Virginia Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Kansas Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Louisiana Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Nebraska Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Maine Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Democrats Abroad Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Michigan Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- Johnson, Ruth. "2016 Michigan Election results". Michigan Department of State. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "Mississippi Primary Results". Mississippi Secretary of State. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Northern Marianas Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Florida Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- "2016 Presidential Preference Primary - Official Election Results". Florida Department of State Division of elections. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Illinois Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Missouri Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "North Carolina Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- "Ohio Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Ohio Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- "State of Arizona Official Canvass - 2016 Presidential Preference Election - March 22, 2016" (PDF). Arizona Secretary of State. April 4, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Arizona Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Idaho Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Utah Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- "Alaska Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Alaska Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- "Hawaii Caucus Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Washington Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 30, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- Wisconsin Official Results
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Wisconsin Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved April 6, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- Berg-Andersson, Richard E. "Wyoming Democratic Delegation 2016". The Green Papers. Retrieved April 25, 2016. (Projection computed by The Green Papers until full official results are published.)
- New York State Board of Elections
- "New York Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
- "New York Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- Connecticut Secretary of State - Official Primary Results
- "Connecticut Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
- "State of Delaware - Office of the State Election Commissioner". delaware.gov. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "Delaware Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
- "Maryland Official Primary Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
- "Maryland Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
- "Pennsylvania Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
- "Rhode Island Primary Results". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
- "RI.gov: Election Results". ri.gov. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "Indiana Democratic Delegation 2016 - Official Primary Results". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- "Guam Democratic Delegation". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
- "Election Results". Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "West Virginia Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- Kentucky Secretary of State - Official Primary Results
- "Kentucky Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
- Oregon Secretary of State - Official Election Results
- "Oregon Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
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- "Clinton moves closer to nomination, sweeps in Virgin Islands". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
- "Delegate Tracker". Associated Press. June 6, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Virgin Islands Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- "Puerto Rico Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- "California Democratic Primary - Official Election Results" (PDF). ca.gov. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
- "California Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
- Montana Secretary of State - Official Primary Results
- "Montana Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- New Jersey Democratic Primary Official Results - New Jersey Department of State
- "New Jersey Democratic Primary Results" (PDF). New Jersey State Elections. June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
- "New Jersey Democrat". The Green Papers. June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- New Mexico State Board of Elections - Official Primary Results
- "New Mexico Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- "North Dakota Democrat". The Green Papers. June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- "North Dakota Democratic-NPL Caucus Guide 2016". Retrieved May 29, 2016.[dead link]
- South Dakota Secretary of State - Official Primary Results
- "South Dakota Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- "Upcoming Elections: South Dakota Secretary of State, Shantel Krebs". sdsos.gov. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- District of Columbia Board of Elections - Official Primary Results
- "District of Columbia Democratic Delegation 2016". thegreenpapers.com. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- "2016 Election Center - Presidential Primaries and Caucuses". CNN.
- "Delegate Tracker". Associated Press.
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