By: Alexandra Metzler
New Jersey might be a player in the presidential primary race after all.
After Tuesday’s primaries, both the Democratic and Republican leading presidential candidates are close to winning their party’s nomination. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs just 144 delegates to win her party’s presidential nomination in July; businessman Donald Trump needs just 102 delegates to get his party’s nomination.
New Jersey has 142 delegates overall (126 pledged; 16 superdelegates) in the Democratic party; almost enough to get Clinton to her goal, even though she’d have to share the winnings with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders because of the party’s proportional rules.
The states that will hold their primaries before New Jersey are likely to crown Trump the winner, as he is the only competition left and theirs is a winner-take-all system. New Jersey’s Republican 51 delegates would be the icing on that cake. Clinton may still need a few, which could make the Garden State the Crowning State for her campaign.
Sanders is well behind Clinton in terms of overall delegates; he has 1,471. Because of the proportional rules, it is almost impossible for him to catch or overtake Clinton for the nomination.
“I think New Jersey will vote for Trump and Clinton in the primaries, according to the polls,” said Tyler Brenes, 22, an environmental science major. “As far as shaping the election, I think that our primary is kind of late, and by the time that New Jersey votes, the candidates have already been decided between the two parties.”
Most people seem to think that the election will come down to Clinton and Trump.
“I think that New Jersey will vote for Hillary just because they don’t want Trump and they think Bernie is too inexperienced,” said Alex Valentino, 21, a communication major studying public relations. “I think New Jersey is more diverse than people think so they wouldn’t want someone against immigrants and such. Whoever New Jersey decides on will shape the election because we are one of the lasts to vote so we have the opportunity to make an impact, but whether it’ll be a good one or bad, I’m not sure.”
Who wins when and how can be confusing in the Democratic Party because of the use of pledged delegates and superdelegates.
Superdelegates (New Jersey has 16) are party officials or elected officials who go to the convention because of who they are; they do not have to vote for the candidate that the voters support, unlike regular delegates. Pledged delegates, are those elected or chosen by the state according to rules set up by the National Democratic Party (the state has 126 of theses) and they are required to support the candidate voted on by citizens.
According to New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDEMS), the delegate selection plan aims to have a diverse population. Not only does this year’s plan require at least half of the delegates to be women, but the plan wants to include under represented voters from the Asian, Native American, LGBT, disabled, and youth population.
“That’s fine by me,” said Jonathan Class, 21, a philosophy major. “People need to be represented by their own.”
For the Republican Party, according to NJ Elections, no delegates can be elected or chosen before March 1. Like the Democratic Party, the Republicans Party choses its delegates on June 7. Candidates need not only to be a member of their own political affiliation, but need to be a member of the congressional district that they want to represent. Candidates also need to have a petition signed by 250 legal voters in the state of New Jersey and who are either registered as Republicans or undeclared. From here, the delegates are chosen based on voters.
The delegates then represent presidential candidates.