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Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008

Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008

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The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 chose its nominee for President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 in the 2008 U.S. presidential election
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 was selected as the nominee through a series of primary election
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

s and caucus
Caucus
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, especially in the United States and Canada. As the use of the term has been expanded the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.-Origin of the term:...

es culminating in the 2008 Democratic National Convention
2008 Democratic National Convention
The United States 2008 Democratic National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention of the Democratic Party where it adopted its national platform and officially nominated its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. The convention was held in Denver,...

 held from Monday, August 25, through Thursday, August 28, 2008, in Denver, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

.

To secure the nomination at the convention, a candidate needed to receive at least 2,117 votes from delegates—a simple majority of the 4,233 delegate votes, including half-votes from American Samoa
American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa...

, Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, the United States Virgin Islands
United States Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands of the United States are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.The U.S...

, and Democrats Abroad
Democrats Abroad
Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the Democratic Party for United States citizens living permanently or temporarily abroad. The organization is given state-level recognition by the Democratic National Committee....

. However, this total included votes from so-called superdelegate
Superdelegate
"Superdelegate" is an informal term commonly used for some of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the United States Democratic Party....

s (party leaders and elected officials), and the race was complicated by a controversy over the scheduling of the Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 state primaries, which had been scheduled earlier than party rules permitted. Due to a close race between Senators Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 and Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

, the contest remained competitive for longer than expected, and neither candidate received enough delegates from state primary races and caucuses to achieve a majority without superdelegate votes.

Although Obama led Clinton in delegates won through state contests, Clinton claimed the popular vote lead as she had more actual votes from the state contests. However, this total included Michigan and Florida, which neither Clinton nor Obama contested due to the Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

's penalization of those states for violating primary rules. Obama received enough superdelegate endorsements on June 3 to claim that he had secured the simple majority of delegates necessary to win the nomination, and Clinton conceded the nomination four days later. Obama was officially recognized as the Democratic nominee at the August convention. He went on to win the general election, and became the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009.

Candidates and results


Notes for the following table:
  • Delegate counts:
    • The pledged delegate estimates come from the sum of the Current estimate columns for the states listed in the Chronicle section later in this article
    • The source for superdelegate estimates is the 2008 Democratic Convention Watch blog. Superdelegate endorsements were frozen on June 7, the date of Clinton's concession speech.
  • Ordering:
    • The candidates are ordered by pledged delegate count and then alphabetically by last name
    • To re-sort this table, click on the double-arrow symbol () at the top of a column

Candidate Most recent office held
at the end of the primaries
Pledged Delegate
Vote Estimate
Superdelegate
Vote Estimate
Total Delegate
Vote Estimate
Campaign Status Links

Obama, BarackBarack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

,
Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

1,828½
51%
478
66%
2,306½
54%
Nominee
Surpassed by estimation
the 2,208 delegate votes
needed for a majority,
June 3, 2008.
campaign article
Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008
Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007. On August 27, 2008, he was declared nominee of the Democratic Party for the 2008 presidential election...


campaign website

Clinton, HillaryHillary Clinton
U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

,
New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

1,726½
49%
246½
34%
1,973
46%
Suspended,
June 7, 2008.
Endorsed Obama,
June 7, 2008.
campaign article
campaign website

Edwards, JohnJohn Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

Former U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...


North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...


<1%
0
 

<1%
Suspended,
January 30, 2008.
Endorsed Obama,
May 14, 2008.
campaign article
John Edwards presidential campaign, 2008
John Edwards is the former United States Senator from North Carolina and was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004. On December 28, 2006, he announced his entry into the 2008 Presidential election in the city of New Orleans near sites devastated by Hurricane Katrina...


campaign website

Biden, JoeJoe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

,
Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

0 0 0 Withdrew,
January 3, 2008.
Endorsed Obama,
June 22, 2008.
Named VP candidate
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

,
August 23, 2008.
campaign article
Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008
The Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008 began when Senator Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States on the January 7, 2007 edition of Meet the Press. He officially became a candidate on January 31, 2007 after filing papers with the Federal Elections Commission...


campaign website

Dodd, ChristopherChris Dodd
U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

,
Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

0 0 0 Withdrew,
January 3, 2008.
Endorsed Obama,
February 26, 2008.
campaign article
campaign website

Gravel, MikeMike Gravel
Mike Gravel
Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election....

Former U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

,
Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

0 0 0 Endorsed Jesse Johnson
Jesse Johnson (politician)
Jesse C. Johnson, Jr. is an Executive Committee member and former chair of the environmentalist Mountain Party, the West Virginia affiliate of the Green Party. He has twice been his party's candidate for Governor of West Virginia, and once for a Senate seat...

,
March 13, 2008.
Joined Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

,
March 25, 2008.
campaign article
Mike Gravel presidential campaign, 2008
Mike Gravel, a former United States Senator from Alaska, on April 17, 2006, declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 election, in a speech to the National Press Club....


campaign website

Kucinich, DennisDennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich
Dennis John Kucinich is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. He was furthermore a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections....

U.S. Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

,
Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

0 0 0 Withdrew,
January 23, 2008.
Endorsed Obama
August 26, 2008.
campaign article
Dennis Kucinich presidential campaign, 2008
Dennis Kucinich announced on December 12, 2006 that he would seek the nomination for the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States. Although a Democratic candidate, he was not included in the New Hampshire debates on January 4, 2008 or the South Carolina debates on January 21, 2008...


campaign website

Richardson, BillBill Richardson
Governor,
New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

0 0 0 Withdrew,
January 10, 2008.
Endorsed Obama,
March 21, 2008.
campaign article
Bill Richardson presidential campaign, 2008
On January 21, 2007, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson announced his candidacy for President of the United States on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, by virtue of forming a presidential exploratory committee....


campaign website

Delegate system



Delegates are the people who decided the nomination at the Democratic National Convention
2008 Democratic National Convention
The United States 2008 Democratic National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention of the Democratic Party where it adopted its national platform and officially nominated its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. The convention was held in Denver,...

. Delegates from fifty US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 had a single vote each, while delegates from American Samoa
American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa...

, the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

, Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 and Democrats Abroad
Democrats Abroad
Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the Democratic Party for United States citizens living permanently or temporarily abroad. The organization is given state-level recognition by the Democratic National Committee....

, as well as the states of Florida
Florida Democratic primary, 2008
The Florida Democratic Presidential primary took place on January 29, 2008. Originally, the state had 185 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 121 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Florida's 25 congressional districts while an additional 64...

 and Michigan
Michigan Democratic primary, 2008
The Michigan Democratic Presidential Primary took place January 15, 2008. Originally, the state had 156 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 83 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Michigan's 15 congressional districts while an additional 45...

, which contravened the schedule, had half a vote each. Thus, the total number of delegates was slightly higher than the total number of available delegate votes (4,049). [now updated to 4,233 with FL-MI delegations]

Pledged delegates


Democratic candidates campaign for the nomination in a series of primary elections and caucus events. The results from these primaries and caucuses determine the number of pledged delegates committed to vote for each candidate at the Democratic National Convention. Pledged delegates are allocated to each of the fifty US states following two main criteria: (1) the proportion of votes each state gave to the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential elections, and (2) the percentage of votes each state has in the United States Electoral College
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

. In addition, fixed numbers of delegates are allocated to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Democrats Abroad under the party's Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Pledged delegates reflect the preferences of voters but are not actually legally bound to vote for the candidate they represent. However, since candidates may remove delegates who they feel may be disloyal, the delegates generally vote as pledged. In 2008, a total of 3,253 pledged delegate votes will be awarded through the primaries and caucuses.

Superdelegates


Superdelegate
Superdelegate
"Superdelegate" is an informal term commonly used for some of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the United States Democratic Party....

 votes are given equal weight to the votes of pledged delegates. Superdelegates are members of the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, state and territorial governors, members of the Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

, distinguished party leaders, and add-on delegates selected by the state parties. They represented almost 20 percent of the total 4,233 delegates.

The number and composition of superdelegates had the potential to change right up to the start of the Democratic National Convention. The total number of superdelegate votes at the start of the primary season in October 2007 stood at 850. Various events such as deaths, elections, and disqualifications a bearing on the final number.

While officially uncommitted until the convention, the superdelegates may publicly endorse or commit to a candidate at any time. The presidential candidates compete heavily for these commitments. News organizations survey the superdelegates periodically throughout the election season and try to calculate how many have committed to each of the candidates. The media often include these superdelegate estimates in their reporting on the race, leading to differing delegate counts from various news sources.

Delegate selection rules


Under the Democratic Party's Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, delegates are awarded by proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

, with a minimum 15 percent threshold required to receive delegates. Each state party is required to publish its own state level delegate selection plan, indicating how the state will select delegates at the congressional and statewide level, how the delegation will implement the party's affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 policy, and how the delegation will ensure an equal balance between women and men. Those plans were adopted at state conventions and forwarded to the national party in mid-2007.

In most state caucuses, the viability threshold must be met at each level in the process, from the precinct level upwards. This puts enormous pressure on the remaining candidates to gain the support of voters whose chosen candidates fall below the 15 percent mark. The focus on viability is designed to weed out small, divisive factions from gaining delegates to disrupt the national convention. However, this can result in candidates gaining viability in some precincts but not in others, and a complicated "caucus math" is required to allocate delegates to the county and state conventions for each precinct. In the primaries, the viability threshold is set based on statewide and congressional district votes. At-large and PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates are allocated based on statewide votes, while district-level delegates are allocated by district votes.

Reporting delegate totals


There is no easy answer to the question, What's the current count? Each of the major news organizations keeps a count of delegate votes, while the campaigns keep their own numbers. Rarely do these totals coincide. Some online sources use an aggregate of sources, leading to even more confusion in delegate vote totals. The actual result may not be known until the votes are cast at the Democratic National Convention.

There are several reasons for this discrepancy. First, some news sources include only pledged delegates in their total count, while others include superdelegates. Second, estimates of superdelegate votes are unreliable and are subject to change. Third, pledged delegates in many states are selected at county or state conventions late in the process; thus, the initial primary and caucus results provide only a projection of pledged delegates, highlighted by the discrepancies with the Iowa county convention results. Fourth, in the days after an election, results in individual precincts may be delayed, and news organizations may project the winners of those precincts based on statistical analysis or may wait for confirmed results. The Democratic nominating process is a complex system that has evolved over time, and in close races, it can be difficult under the current system to know who is leading in the delegate count.

This article uses pledged delegate estimates from the respective Wikipedia articles of each state primary or caucus. Reliable sources appropriate to each state's individual process are found in those articles. The Not Yet Assigned columns in the tables below reflect pledged delegates that these sources have not yet allocated to any candidates. For superdelegate vote estimates, this article uses the Democratic Convention Watch blog. A periodically updated article on the blog also provides a comparison of the delegate totals from several different sources (CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

, and The Green Papers).

Chronicle


Notes for the tables in this section:
  • Votes to the Convention column:
    • The source for delegation sizes is the Democratic National Committee's official Call for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Specific sources are present for Florida and Michigan. Very recent changes not already in the official source are indicated by the footnotes.
  • Pledged Delegate Votes Estimate column:
    • The source is each state's primary or caucus article. Click on the Specific Election (link) column to see the sources used in those articles.
    • The candidate with the highest pledged delegate vote is highlighted. In some cases, this may be different from the winner of the popular vote.

Early campaigning


The race for the 2008 presidential nomination began in earnest after the 2006 midterm elections
United States general elections, 2006
The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial...

. Between November 2006 and February 2007, eight major candidates opened their campaigns-Joe Biden
Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008
The Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008 began when Senator Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States on the January 7, 2007 edition of Meet the Press. He officially became a candidate on January 31, 2007 after filing papers with the Federal Elections Commission...

, Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, 2008
New York junior Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had expressed interest in the 2008 United States presidential election since at least October 2002, drawing media speculation on whether she would become a candidate. No woman has ever won the nomination of a major party in the...

, Chris Dodd, John Edwards
John Edwards presidential campaign, 2008
John Edwards is the former United States Senator from North Carolina and was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004. On December 28, 2006, he announced his entry into the 2008 Presidential election in the city of New Orleans near sites devastated by Hurricane Katrina...

, Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich presidential campaign, 2008
Dennis Kucinich announced on December 12, 2006 that he would seek the nomination for the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States. Although a Democratic candidate, he was not included in the New Hampshire debates on January 4, 2008 or the South Carolina debates on January 21, 2008...

, Barack Obama
Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008
Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007. On August 27, 2008, he was declared nominee of the Democratic Party for the 2008 presidential election...

, Bill Richardson
Bill Richardson presidential campaign, 2008
On January 21, 2007, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson announced his candidacy for President of the United States on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, by virtue of forming a presidential exploratory committee....

, and Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack
Thomas James "Tom" Vilsack is an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and presently the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He served as the 40th Governor of the state of Iowa. He was first elected in 1998 and re-elected to a second four-year term in 2002...

-joining Mike Gravel
Mike Gravel presidential campaign, 2008
Mike Gravel, a former United States Senator from Alaska, on April 17, 2006, declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 election, in a speech to the National Press Club....

, who had announced his candidacy in April 2006. Potential candidates John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

, Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

, Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.He is a recipient of the John F...

, Evan Bayh
Evan Bayh
Birch Evans "Evan" Bayh III is a lawyer, advisor and former Democratic politician who served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011. He earlier served as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997. Bayh is a current Fox News contributor as of March 14, 2011.Bayh first held...

, Tom Daschle
Tom Daschle
Thomas Andrew "Tom" Daschle is a former U.S. Senator from South Dakota and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

, Wesley Clark
Wesley Clark
Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr., is a retired general of the United States Army. Graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and later graduated from the...

, Mark Warner
Mark Warner
Mark Robert Warner is an American politician and businessman, currently serving in the United States Senate as the junior senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Warner was the 69th governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006 and is the honorary chairman of...

, and Al Sharpton
Al Sharpton
Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr. is an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and television/radio talk show host. In 2004, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election...

 reportedly considered running but ultimately declined to seek the nomination. Vilsack dropped out in February 2007.

In the first three months of 2007, Clinton and Obama raised more than $20 million each and Edwards raised more than $12 million. The three candidates quickly became the frontrunners for the nomination, a status they held all the way through the end of 2007.

On November 21, Obama announced that Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

 would be campaigning for him in the early primary states, setting off speculation that, although celebrity endorsements typically have little effect on voter opinions, Winfrey's participation
Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Barack Obama
Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign. Winfrey has been described as the most influential woman in the world for her impact on the culture and her proven record as a taste-maker and trend-setter,...

 would supply Obama with a large, receptive audience. As word spread that Oprah's first appearance would be in Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, polls released in early December revealed Obama taking the lead in that decisive state. Then, on December 8, Oprah kicked-off a three-state tour supporting Obama's campaign, where she drew record-setting crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and was described as "more cogent, more effective, more convincing" than anyone on the campaign trail. The Oprah-Obama tour dominated political news headlines and cast doubts over Clinton's ability to recover her recently-lost lead in Iowa caucus polls. A poll released less than two weeks after Winfrey campaigned found Obama achieving more popularity in Iowa than ever before recorded. Two economists would later estimate that Winfrey's endorsement added more than one million votes to Obama's total in the Democratic primaries, and that without it, Clinton would have received more votes.

At the end of the year, December 31, Clinton held a substantial lead in superdelegates, and she was leading in the national polls with 42% of likely voters, over Obama, 23%, and Edwards, 16%. However, Edwards and Obama remained close in state polls for the early contests, including the Iowa caucuses, where the final polling average had Obama leading narrowly, 31%, over Clinton, 30%, Edwards, 26%, Biden, 5%, and Richardson, 5%.

January 2008


Following tradition, the 2008 primary calendar began with the Iowa caucus
Iowa Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus occurred on January 3, 2008, and was the state caucuses of the Iowa Democratic Party. It was the first election for the Democrats of the 2008 presidential election. Also referred to as "the First in the Nation Caucus," it was the first election of the primary...

 and the New Hampshire
New Hampshire Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary on January 8, 2008 was the first primary in the United States in 2008. Its purpose was to determine the number of delegates from New Hampshire that would represent a certain candidate at the National Convention. In a primary, members of a political party—in...

 primary. The Nevada caucus
Nevada Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Nevada Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on January 19, 2008 after having been moved from a later date by the Nevada Democratic Party...

 and the South Carolina primary
South Carolina Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary took place on January 26, 2008. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois won the primary's popular vote by a 28.9% margin....

 were the third and fourth contests sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. Under the national committee's rules, no state was allowed to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5 with the exceptions of these four states. Michigan
Michigan Democratic primary, 2008
The Michigan Democratic Presidential Primary took place January 15, 2008. Originally, the state had 156 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 83 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Michigan's 15 congressional districts while an additional 45...

 and Florida
Florida Democratic primary, 2008
The Florida Democratic Presidential primary took place on January 29, 2008. Originally, the state had 185 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 121 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Florida's 25 congressional districts while an additional 64...

 also held early primaries, but as the contests were unsanctioned, the results were not recognized by the national committee until a political compromise was reached four months later.

The following table shows the pledged delegate votes awarded in the first four contests recognized by the DNC.
Details Delegate Votes to the Convention Pledged Delegate Vote Count
Election Result Change
Notes
Current Estimate
Date Election link Pledged Super Total Obama Clinton Edwards Obama Clinton Edwards
January 3 Iowa caucuses
Iowa Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus occurred on January 3, 2008, and was the state caucuses of the Iowa Democratic Party. It was the first election for the Democrats of the 2008 presidential election. Also referred to as "the First in the Nation Caucus," it was the first election of the primary...

45 12 57 16 15 14 28 14 3
January 8 New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary on January 8, 2008 was the first primary in the United States in 2008. Its purpose was to determine the number of delegates from New Hampshire that would represent a certain candidate at the National Convention. In a primary, members of a political party—in...

22 8 30 9 9 4 13 9 0
January 19 Nevada caucuses
Nevada Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Nevada Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on January 19, 2008 after having been moved from a later date by the Nevada Democratic Party...

25 9 34 13 12 0 14 11 0
January 26 South Carolina primary
South Carolina Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary took place on January 26, 2008. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois won the primary's popular vote by a 28.9% margin....

45 9 54 25 12 8 33 12 0
- TOTAL 137 38 175 63 48 26 88 46 3


Obama won the Iowa caucuses with 38% of the vote, over Edwards, 30%, and Clinton, 29%. His victory brought him to national prominence as many voters tuned in to the race for the first time. In a speech that evening, he defined change as the primary theme of his campaign and said, "On this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do." The delegate count was virtually tied, but Clinton's surprising third-place finish in the popular vote damaged her image as the "inevitable" nominee. However, she remained upbeat, saying "This race begins tonight and ends when Democrats throughout America have their say. Our campaign was built for a marathon." The following day, reports described "panic" among some Clinton donors, and rumors of a staff shake-up began to circulate. Biden and Dodd withdrew from the race.

After Obama's upset win in Iowa, it appeared to many political observers that he would ride a wave of momentum through the New Hampshire primaries and then onward to win the Democratic nomination. Eulogies were published on the Clinton campaign, as Obama surged to a roughly 10-point lead in the New Hampshire polls. However, the race turned quickly in the days before the primary, and the polls were slow to register a reversal toward Clinton. At the Saint Anselm College
Saint Anselm College
Saint Anselm College is a nationally ranked, private, Benedictine, Catholic liberal arts college in Goffstown, New Hampshire. Founded in 1889 by Abbot Hilary Pfrängle, O.S.B. of Saint Mary's Abbey in Newark, New Jersey, at the request of Bishop Denis M. Bradley of Manchester, New Hampshire, the...

 New Hampshire debate on January 5, 2008, Edwards sided with Obama against Clinton debate
Debate
Debate or debating is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion...

. In one noted exchange, Edwards said that Clinton could not bring about change, while he and Obama could: "Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces for status quo attack." Clinton passionately retorted, "Making change is not about what you believe; it's not about a speech you make. It's about working hard. I'm not just running on a promise for change. I'm running on 35 years of change. What we need is somebody who can deliver change. We don't need to be raising false hopes." It came to be seen as the defining statement for her candidacy. The morning before the primary, Clinton became "visibly emotional" in response to a friendly question from a voter. Video of the moment was replayed on cable news television throughout the day, accompanied by pundit commentary that ranged from sympathetic to callous in tone. Voters rallied to Clinton's defense, and she won a surprising three-percent victory over Obama in the popular vote. They tied in the delegate count. Richardson withdrew from the race on January 10.

Momentum shifted in Clinton's favor, and she won the popular vote in the Nevada caucuses eleven days later, despite Obama's endorsement from the influential Culinary Workers Union
Culinary Workers Union
Culinary Workers Union or UNITE HERE local 226 is a private sector local union in Nevada, USA, affiliated with UNITE HERE, a national labor union. With 60,000 members, the Culinary Workers Union represents more members than any other union in Nevada, is the largest union local in a right-to-work...

. However, Obama ran strongly in rural areas throughout the state and beat Clinton in the delegate count. Edwards's support collapsed in Nevada, as voters coalesced around the two apparent frontrunners. Dennis Kucinich withdrew from the race. In the following week, issues of race
Race in the United States
The United States is a racially diverse country. Modern issues of "race", as well as its impact in the political and economic development of the nation, have been examined by numerous historians and researchers across a variety of academic disciplines....

 came to the fore as campaigning began for the South Carolina primary, the first to feature a large proportion of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s in the Democratic electorate. Behind in the state polls, Hillary Clinton left to campaign in some Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday, 2008
Super Tuesday 2008, Super Duper Tuesday, Mega Tuesday, Giga Tuesday, Tsunami Tuesday, and The Tuesday of Destiny are names for February 5, 2008, the day on which the largest simultaneous number of state U.S. presidential primary elections in the history of U.S. primaries were held...

 states, while her husband, former president Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, stayed in South Carolina and engaged in a series of exchanges with Obama. CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 reported, "By injecting himself into the Democratic primary campaign with a series of inflammatory and negative statements, Bill Clinton may have helped his wife's presidential hopes in the long term but at the cost of his reputation with a group of voters African Americans that have long been one of his strongest bases of political support." Obama won by a more than two-to-one margin over Clinton, gaining 55% of the vote to her 27% and Edwards's 18%. The day of the primary, Bill Clinton compared Obama's expected win to Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson
Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to...

's victory in the 1988 South Carolina primary
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1988
The 1988 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1988 U.S. presidential election...

. His comments were widely criticized as an apparent attempt to dismiss the primary results and marginalize Obama by implying that he was "the black candidate." The momentum generated by Obama's larger-than-expected win in South Carolina wasn't deflated somewhat by the win Clinton claimed in the nullified Florida primary the following week. John Edwards suspended his candidacy on January 30. He did not immediately endorse either Clinton or Obama, but said they both had pledged to carry forward his central campaign theme of ending poverty in America. Neither Clinton nor Obama had a clear advantage heading into the Super Tuesday primaries, with 23 states and territories and 1,681 delegates at stake and more media attention than any primary election day in American history.

Disputed primaries


In August 2006, the Democratic National Committee adopted a proposal by its Rules and Bylaws Committee stating that only the four states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina would be permitted to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5, 2008. In May 2007, the Florida Legislature
Florida Legislature
The Florida State Legislature is the term often used to refer to the two houses that act as the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida. The Florida Constitution states that "The legislative power of the state shall be vested in a legislature of the State of Florida," composed of a Senate...

 passed a bill that moved the date of the state's primary to January 29, 2008, setting up a confrontation with the DNC. In response, the DNC ruled that Florida's 185 pledged delegates and 26 superdelegates would not be seated at the Democratic National Convention, or, if seated, would not be able to vote. In October 2007, Democrats from Florida's congressional delegation
United States congressional delegations from Florida
These are tables of congressional delegations from Florida to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.Unlike many smaller states that generally have continuity in their districts when reapportioned every 10 years after the United States Census, Florida has seen a great...

 filed a federal lawsuit against the DNC to force a recognition of its delegates, but the suit was unsuccessful. The presidential candidates promised not to campaign in Florida.

Meanwhile, Michigan moved its primary to January 15, 2008, also in violation of party rules. In October 2007, Obama, Richardson, Biden, and Edwards withdrew their names from the Michigan primary ballot, under pressure from the DNC and voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Kucinich unsuccessfully sought to remove his name from the ballot, whereas Clinton and Dodd opted to remain on the ballot. In December 2007, the DNC ruled that Michigan's 128 pledged delegates and 29 superdelegates would not count in the nominating contest unless it were held on a later date. The Michigan Democratic party responded with a press release noting that the primary would proceed with Clinton, Dodd, Gravel, and Kucinich on the ballot. Supporters of Biden, Edwards, Richardson, and Obama were urged to vote "uncommitted" instead of writing in their candidates' names because write-in votes for those candidates would not be counted.

None of the top candidates campaigned in Florida or Michigan. The events were described in the media as "beauty contests," and voter turnout in both states was relatively low when compared with record-high turnout in other states. Nevertheless, Clinton claimed wins in Florida and Michigan, and she flew to Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010...

 on the night of the Florida election to thank supporters for what she called a "tremendous victory."

As the primaries continued, various groups tried to negotiate a resolution to the standoff between the DNC and the state parties. The Clinton campaign advocated first for the results to stand and then for a new round of voting to take place in Michigan and Florida, while the Obama campaign deferred the matter to the DNC, while expressing a wish that the delegations be seated in some form. On all sides, Democrats worried that a failure to resolve the problem could lead to a rules or credential fight at the convention and low Democratic turnout in the general election in November.

On May 31, 2008, the DNC
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

 Rules and Bylaws Committee voted unanimously (27-0) to restore half-votes to all the Florida Delegates, including superdelegates. The Michigan delegates were also given half-votes, with 69 delegates pledged to Hillary Clinton and 59 to Barack Obama; this proposed change passing by 19-8.
Details Restored Votes to the Convention Pledged Delegate Vote Count
Awarded by the DNC Change
Notes
Current Estimate
Date Election link Pledged Super Total Obama Clinton Edwards Obama Clinton Edwards
January 15 Michigan primary
Michigan Democratic primary, 2008
The Michigan Democratic Presidential Primary took place January 15, 2008. Originally, the state had 156 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 83 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Michigan's 15 congressional districts while an additional 45...

128 29    157   59 69 0 59 69 0
January 29 Florida primary
Florida Democratic primary, 2008
The Florida Democratic Presidential primary took place on January 29, 2008. Originally, the state had 185 delegates up for grabs that were to be awarded in the following way: 121 delegates were to be awarded based on the winner in each of Florida's 25 congressional districts while an additional 64...

 185 26 211 67 105 13 67 105 13
- TOTAL 311 55 368 126 174 13 126 174 13

Super Tuesday



Traditionally, the Tuesday on which the greatest number of states hold primary elections is known as Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday
In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated...

. In 2007, many states moved their primaries or caucuses early in the calendar to have greater influence over the race. As February 5 was the earliest date allowed by the Democratic National Committee, 23 states and territories moved their elections to that date. This year's Super Tuesday became the date of the nation's first quasi-national primary. It was dubbed "Super Duper Tuesday" or "Tsunami Tuesday," among other names.

After Obama's win in South Carolina on January 26, he received high-profile endorsements from Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is a member of the influential Kennedy family and the only surviving child of U.S. President John F...

, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, as well as Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, the former President's brother. Ted Kennedy's endorsement was considered "the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton or Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

." On January 31, Obama and Clinton met for the first time in a one-on-one debate, and they struck a friendly tone, seeking to put the racially charged comments of the previous week behind them. Obama surged nationally in the polls and held campaign rallies that drew audiences of more than 15,000 people in several states.

A total of 1,681 pledged delegate votes were at stake in the states that voted on February 5. The following table shows the pledged delegate votes awarded in the Super Tuesday states.
Details Delegate Votes to the Convention Pledged Delegate Vote Count
Election Result Change
Notes
Current Estimate
Election link Pledged Super Total Obama Clinton Obama Clinton
Alabama primary
Alabama Democratic primary, 2008
The Alabama Democratic Presidential Primary was held on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, and had a total of 52 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Alabama's seven congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 34. Another 18 delegates were awarded to the...

52 8 60 27 25 27 25
Alaska caucuses
Alaska Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Alaska Democratic Caucuses took place Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008. This was the first time that Democrats in Alaska participated in Super Tuesday, and the large turnout forced at least one caucusing site to delay closing its doors far beyond the 6 p.m. deadline. The state had a total of 13...

13 4 17 9 4 10 3
American Samoa caucuses
American Samoa Democratic caucuses, 2008
The American Samoa Democratic caucuses, 2008 took place on February 5, 2008, also known as Super Tuesday. Caucusing began at 11:00 am local time. The early time ensured that results would be reported that evening in the mainland United States. Hillary Clinton won the caucus, the smallest of Super...

3 6 9 1 2 1 2
Arizona primary
Arizona Democratic primary, 2008
The Arizona Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, and had a total of 56 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Arizona's eight congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, which totaled 37. Another 19 delegates were awarded to the...

56 11 67 25 31 25 31
Arkansas primary
Arkansas Democratic primary, 2008
The Arkansas Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with 35 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Arkansas's four congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 22. Another 13 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner,...

35 12 47 8 27 8 27
California primary
California Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 California Democratic primary took place on February 5, 2008, also known as Super Tuesday. California was dubbed the "Big Enchilada" by the media because it offers the most delegates out of any other delegation. Hillary Clinton won the primary....

370 71 441 166 204 166 204
Colorado caucuses
Colorado Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Colorado Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008. As he did in every other state that held a caucus rather than a primary, Barack Obama won the caucus by a wide, two-to-one margin over Hillary Rodham Clinton....

55 15 70 35 20 36 19
Connecticut primary
Connecticut Democratic primary, 2008
The Connecticut Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with 48 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Connecticut's five congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 31. Another 17 delegates were awarded to the statewide...

48 12 60 26 22 26 22
Delaware primary
Delaware Democratic primary, 2008
The Delaware Democratic Presidential Primary was held on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, and had a total of 15 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Delaware's subdivisions was awarded those subdivisions' delegates, totaling 10. Another five delegates were awarded to the statewide winner,...

15 8 23 9 6 9 6
Georgia primary
Georgia Democratic primary, 2008
The Georgia Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, and had a total of 87 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Georgia's 13 congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 57. Another 30 delegates were awarded to the...

87 15 102 60 27 60 27
Idaho caucuses
Idaho Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Idaho Democratic Presidential Caucuses were held on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with 18 national delegates at stake. For the first time, caucuses were held in all 44 counties, all of them open caucuses organized at the county level rather than the precinct level.The Idaho Democratic Caucus...

18 5 23 15 3 15 3
Illinois primary
Illinois Democratic primary, 2008
The Illinois Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with 153 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Illinois's 19 congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 100. Another 53 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner,...

153 31 184 104 49 104 49
Kansas caucuses
Kansas Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Kansas Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with 21 delegates at stake. The remaining 11 delegates were selected at the Kansas Democratic Party District Conventions on April 12...

32 9 41 23 9 23 9
Massachusetts primary
Massachusetts Democratic primary, 2008
The Massachusetts Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, and had a total of 93 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Massachusetts's 10 congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 61. Another 32 delegates were awarded to...

93 28 121 38 55 38 55
Minnesota caucuses
Minnesota Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Minnesota Democratic Caucus took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008 with 78 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Minnesota's eight congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 47. Another 25 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Barack Obama...

72 16 88 48 24 48 24
Missouri primary
Missouri Democratic primary, 2008
The Missouri Democratic Presidential Primary took place on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with 72 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Missouri's nine congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, which totaled 47. Another 25 delegates were awarded to the statewide...

72 16 88 36 36 36 36
New Jersey primary
New Jersey Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 New Jersey Democratic primary took place February 5, 2008, also known as Super Tuesday. Hillary Clinton won this primary.-Polls:- Results :- See also :* Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2008...

107 20 127 48 59 48 59
New Mexico primary
New Mexico Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 New Mexico Democratic primary took place on February 5, 2008, with 26 national delegates at stake.On February 12, 2008, counting was officially finished and Hillary Clinton was declared the winner.-Process:...

26 12 38 12 14 12 14
New York primary
New York Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 New York Democratic primary took place on February 5, 2008, also known as Super Tuesday. Polls indicated that New York Senator Hillary Clinton was leading rival Senator Barack Obama by double digits in the weeks before the contest, and she ended up winning with roughly 58% of the...

232 49 281 93 139 93 139
North Dakota caucuses
North Dakota Democratic caucuses, 2008
The 2008 North Dakota Democratic caucuses took place on February 5, 2008, one of the many Super Tuesday nominating contests held that day. Barack Obama won the caucuses, securing 8 out of 13 national delegates.- Process :...

13 8 21 8 5 8 5
Oklahoma primary
Oklahoma Democratic primary, 2008
The Oklahoma Democratic primary, 2008, part of the process of selecting that party's nominee for President of the United States, took place on February 5, one of the many nominating contests of 2008's "Super Tuesday". The primary election chose 38 pledged delegates to represent Oklahoma at the...

38 10 48 14 24 14 24
Tennessee primary
Tennessee Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Tennessee Democratic primary took place on February 5, 2008, also known as Super Tuesday.-Polls:- Results :- See also :*Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2008*Tennessee Republican primary, 2008...

68 17 85 28 40 28 40
Utah primary
Utah Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Utah Democratic primary took place on February 5, 2008, with the votes of 23 pledged delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention at stake. The primary was one of many held on Super Tuesday. Barack Obama won the primary.-Polls:...

23 6 29 14 9 14 9
TOTAL 1,681 390 2,071 847 834 849 832


On election night, both Obama and Clinton claimed victories. In the popular vote, Obama won 13 states and territories to Clinton's 10, including states like Idaho and Georgia where he won by very wide margins. His wins in Connecticut and Missouri were considered upsets. However, Clinton won the large electoral prizes of California and Massachusetts, where some analysts had expected the Kennedy endorsements might carry Obama to victory. Although Obama gained significant ground from where he was polling in mid-January, it was not enough to close the gap in those states. In exit polls, Obama gained the overwhelming support of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 voters, and he strengthened his base among college-educated voters and voters younger than 45. Clinton found significant support among white women, Latino
Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

s, and voters over the age of 65. Obama ran strongest in caucus states, Rocky Mountain states
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

, the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 and the Midwest
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

. Clinton ran strongest in the Northeast
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

, the Southwest
Southwestern United States
The Southwestern United States is a region defined in different ways by different sources. Broad definitions include nearly a quarter of the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah...

, and the states adjacent to Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, where she served as first lady. When the delegate counting was finished, Obama won an estimated 847 pledged delegates to Clinton's 834. Early in the primary season, many observers had predicted that the nomination would be over after Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday
In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated...

, but the general verdict on election night was that the candidates had drawn to a virtual tie and that the race for the Democratic presidential nomination would not likely be settled for a month, at least.

Mid-February contests


In the following week, it became clear that a tie on Super Tuesday left Obama better positioned for the upcoming contests in February, where the demographics of several large states seemed to favor him. The day after Super Tuesday, February 6, Clinton announced that she had personally lent her campaign $5 million in January. The news came as a surprise and set off another round of news stories about Clinton donors and supporters concerned about the campaign's strategy. It was particularly striking in contrast to Obama's announcement that he had raised a record-high $32 million in January, tapping 170,000 new contributors. It became clear that Obama's financial advantage had allowed him to organize and compete in a broader set of states on Super Tuesday, an advantage likely to continue in the coming weeks and months. Clinton's supporters responded by raising $6 million online in 36 hours, but Obama's campaign upped the ante, announcing their own total of $7.5 million in 36 hours and starting a new goal of reaching 500,000 new contributors in 2008 by the end of February.

Details Delegate Votes to the Convention Pledged Delegate Vote Count
Election Result Change
Notes
Final Estimate
Date Election link Pledged Super Total Obama Clinton Obama Clinton
February 9 Louisiana primary
Louisiana Democratic primary, 2008
The Louisiana Democratic Presidential Primary took place on February 9, 2008, and had 56 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Louisiana's seven congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 37. Another 29 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Barack...

56 11 67 33 23 33 23
Nebraska caucuses
Nebraska Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Nebraska Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on February 9, 2008, where 24 of the state's 31 convention delegates were chosen. Like he did throughout many other states that held caucuses instead of primaries, Barack Obama won the Nebraska Democratic Caucus by more than a two-to-one...

24 7 31 16 8 16 8
U.S. Virgin Islands primary 3 6 9 3 0 3 0
Washington caucuses
Washington Democratic caucuses, 2008
The 2008 Washington Democratic caucuses were a series of events held by the Washington State Democratic Party to determine the delegates that the Party sent to the 2008 Democratic National Convention...

78 19 97 52 26 52 26
February 10 Maine caucuses
Maine Democratic caucuses, 2008
The Maine Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on February 10, 2008, and had 24 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Maine's two congressional districts received all of that district's total delegates, which totaled 16. Another eight delegates were awarded to the statewide winner,...

24 8 32 15 9 15 9
February 5–12 Democrats Abroad primary
Democrats Abroad primary, 2008
The 2008 Democrats Abroad primary took place from February 5, 2008 until February 12. The first voting began at midnight in Indonesia, with one of the first unofficial results came from a polling station at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. Of roughly 100 votes, 75% were for Senator Barack Obama...

7 4 11
February 12 D.C. primary
District of Columbia Democratic primary, 2008
The District of Columbia Democratic Presidential Primary took place on February 12, 2008, nicknamed the "Potomac Primary" because Maryland and Virginia, which border the Potomac River, also held Democratic primaries that day...

15 24 39 12 3 13 2
Maryland primary
Maryland Democratic primary, 2008
The Maryland Democratic Presidential Primary took place on February 12, 2008. Nicknamed the "Potomac Primary" or the "Chesapeake Primary" because the District of Columbia and Virginia also held their primaries that day , a total of 70 delegates were up for grabs in Maryland...

70 28 98 42 28 43 27
Virginia primary
Virginia Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Virginia Democratic primary took place on February 12, 2008, an election day nicknamed the "Potomac Primary" because the District of Columbia and Maryland also held Democratic primaries. The Virginia Democratic primary was an open primary, and was competitive for the first time since 1988...

83 18 101 54 29 54 29
February 19 Hawaii caucuses
Hawaii Democratic caucuses, 2008
The 2008 Hawaii Democratic Presidential Caucuses took place on February 19, 2008, with 20 pledged delegates at stake. The winner in each of Hawaii's two congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 13. Another seven delegates were awarded to both candidates at the...

20 9 29 14 6 14 6
Wisconsin primary
Wisconsin Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Wisconsin Democratic primary took place on February 19, 2008. 74 pledged delegates were at stake. The Hawaii Democratic caucuses, 2008 took place the same day....

74 18 92 42 32 42 32
- TOTAL 454 152 606 287½ 166½ 289½ 164½

As expected, Obama swept the three nominating events on February 9, which were thought to favor him based on the results in similar states that had voted previously. He then scored a convincing win in Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, where Clinton had hoped to hold her ground. The same day, Clinton's campaign announced the resignation of campaign advisor Patti Solis Doyle
Patti Solis Doyle
Patti Solis Doyle is an American political operative and was in 2008 a senior adviser to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, where she was the campaign chief of staff to Joe Biden, Obama's vice presidential choice....

. Obama's momentum carried through the following week, as he scored large delegate gains in the Potomac Primaries, taking the lead in the nationwide popular vote, even under the projection most favorable to Clinton, with Florida and Michigan included. NBC News
NBC News
NBC News is the news division of American television network NBC. It first started broadcasting in February 21, 1940. NBC Nightly News has aired from Studio 3B, located on floors 3 of the NBC Studios is the headquarters of the GE Building forms the centerpiece of 30th Rockefeller Center it is...

 declared him "Mr. Frontrunner" on February 13. Clinton attempted a comeback win in the demographically more favorable state of Wisconsin, but Obama won again by a larger margin than expected. In a span of 11 days, he swept 11 contests and extended his pledged delegate lead by 120. At the end of the month, Obama had 1,192 pledged delegates to Clinton's 1,035. He also began to close the gap in superdelegates, although Clinton still led among superdelegates, 240 to 191. Clinton's campaign tried to downplay the results of the February contests, and the candidate refused to acknowledge the losses in her speeches on election nights. Her advisers acknowledged that she would need big wins in the upcoming states to turn the race around.

March


With four states and 370 delegates at stake, March 4 was dubbed "Mini-Super Tuesday" or "Super Tuesday 2.0
Super Tuesday II, 2008
Super Tuesday II, 2008 is the name, also referred to as Super Tuesday 2.0, for 4 March 2008, the day on which the second largest simultaneous number of state presidential primary elections was held for the 2008 presidential election cycle. On this day, Mike Huckabee withdrew from the race when John...

." Just as Obama had been favored in the mid-February states, Clinton was favored in Ohio, with its high proportion of working-class white voters and older voters, and Texas, with its high proportion of Latino
Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

 voters. Exit polls in previous states showed that all three groups were a part of Clinton's base. In mid-February, Clinton held a 10-point lead in Texas and a 20-point lead in Ohio in RealClearPolitics
RealClearPolitics
RealClearPolitics is a political news and polling data aggregator based in Chicago, Illinois. The site's founders say their goal is to give readers "ideological diversity." They have described themselves as frustrated with what they perceive as anti-conservative, anti-Christian media bias, and...

 polling averages. The Clinton campaign set its sights on the Ohio-Texas "firewall," counting on a clear March 4 win to change the narrative and turn around her campaign for the nomination. Meanwhile, Obama hoped to score a win in one or both states that might be enough to knock Clinton out of the race. By February 25, they were in a statistical dead heat in Texas, according to a CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 poll.

In the last week of February, Clinton's campaign seemed to be back on its feet. A Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 sketch mocked the media for its supposedly biased coverage in favor of Obama, and Clinton used the sketch to argue that Obama had not received proper scrutiny. The media responded by taking a more critical look at Obama's campaign. Meanwhile, Obama supporter and former fundraiser Tony Rezko
Tony Rezko
Antoin "Tony" Rezko is a Assyrian -American businessman, political fundraiser, restaurateur, and real estate developer in Chicago, Illinois, convicted on several counts of fraud and bribery in 2008. Rezko has been involved in fundraising for local Illinois Democratic and Republican politicians...

 went on trial in a political corruption case in Chicago. While Obama was not implicated, questions remained about how forthcoming he had been about his relationship with Rezko. Controversy also erupted when it was reported in the Canadian press that Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee
Austan Goolsbee
Austan Dean Goolsbee is an American economist, formerly serving as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and the youngest member of the cabinet of President Barack Obama. Goolsbee is from the University of Chicago where he is the Robert P...

 had privately offered assurances that Obama's anti-North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 rhetoric on the campaign trail was exaggerated. Obama's campaign denied the substance of the report, but their response was muddled by a series of missteps and may have hurt the candidate's standing with Ohio voters. Clinton launched a five-point attack on Obama's qualifications, "unleashing what one Clinton aide called a 'kitchen sink' fusillade," according to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

. Perhaps the most damaging component was a campaign ad that aired in Texas, using the imagery of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 "red phone" to suggest that Obama would not be prepared to handle a crisis as commander-in-chief when a phone call comes in to the White House at 3 a.m. The ad drew significant media attention in the four days before the election.

Details Delegate Votes to the Convention Pledged Delegate Vote Count
Election Result Change
Notes
Current Estimate
Date Election link Pledged Super Total Obama Clinton Obama Clinton
March 4 Ohio primary
Ohio Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Ohio Democratic primary took place on March 4, 2008 and was open to registered Democrats and Independents. Ohio sent 141 pledged delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which were awarded to the candidates proportionally based on the outcome of the election. In addition,...

141 21 162 67 74 67 74
Rhode Island primary
Rhode Island Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Rhode Island Democratic primary took place on March 4, 2008. It was an open primary. 21 delegates were awarded on a proportional basis. Rhode Island's delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention also included 11 superdelegates whose votes were not bound by the results of the...

21 12 33 8 13 8 13
Texas primary
Texas Democratic primary and caucuses, 2008
The 2008 Texas Democratic primary and caucuses were a series of events to determine the delegates that the Texas Democratic Party sent to the 2008 Democratic National Convention...

126 35 228 61 65 61 65
Texas caucuses
Texas Democratic primary and caucuses, 2008
The 2008 Texas Democratic primary and caucuses were a series of events to determine the delegates that the Texas Democratic Party sent to the 2008 Democratic National Convention...

67 38 29 38 29
Vermont primary
Vermont Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Vermont Democratic primary was an open primary that took place on March 4, 2008. Barack Obama won the primary, his only decisive win among the four March 4 contests. The primary determined the 15 pledged delegates that represented Vermont at the 2008 Democratic National Convention...

15 8 23 9 6 9 6
March 8 Wyoming caucuses
Wyoming Democratic caucuses, 2008
The 2008 Wyoming Democratic caucuses were a series of events designed to determine the delegates that the Wyoming Democratic Party sent to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The party was allocated seven pledged delegates to presidential candidates on March 8 during the Wyoming Democratic...

12 6 18 7 5 7 5
March 11 Mississippi primary
Mississippi Democratic primary, 2008
The Mississippi Democratic Presidential Primary took place on March 11, 2008, with 33 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Mississippi's four congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 22. Another 11 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Barack Obama...

33 8 41 20 13 20 13
- TOTAL 415 90 505 210 205 210 205


On election night, Clinton scored convincing wins in Ohio and Rhode Island. She narrowly won the Texas primary, while losing the Texas caucus. She pitched her wins that night as a comeback: "For everyone here in Ohio and across America who's ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, and for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you."

Obama focused on the "delegate math." He won the total delegate count in Texas, and he stayed close to Clinton on the delegate count in Ohio. "No matter what happens tonight," he said, "we have nearly the same delegate lead that we did this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination." In fact, March 4 was the first election day in which Clinton won more delegates than Obama (though the Florida and Michigan primaries would later be honored by seating half of the states' delegations). After winning contests in Wyoming and Mississippi the following week, Obama erased Clinton's March 4 gains. On March 15, he increased his lead by 10 delegates at the Iowa county conventions, when former supporters of withdrawn candidates switched their support to him.

After the March contests, the Democratic race entered a six-week period with no upcoming contests until April 22. As the campaigns settled in for the long haul, advisors for both candidates escalated their rhetoric and stepped up attacks in their daily conference call
Conference call
A conference call is a telephone call in which the calling party wishes to have more than one called party listen in to the audio portion of the call. The conference calls may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party...

s. News reports described the tenor as increasingly "rancorous" and "vitriolic."

On March 14, clips of controversial sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s from Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright
Jeremiah Wright
Jeremiah Alvesta Wright, Jr. is Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ , a megachurch in Chicago exceeding 6,000 members...

, resurfaced on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 and received heavy airtime on cable news television. Among other things, Wright said, "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme." Four days later, Obama responded to the controversy in a 37-minute speech, speaking openly about race and religion in the United States. He denounced Wright's remarks while refusing to condemn the pastor himself, and he attempted to pivot from the immediate circumstances to address the larger theme of "A More Perfect Union
A More Perfect Union (speech)
"A More Perfect Union" is the name of a speech delivered by Senator Barack Obama on March 18, 2008 in the course of the contest for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination...

." The speech was regarded as "breathtakingly unconventional" in its political strategy and tone, and it received generally positive reviews in the press. The New York Times weighed in with an editorial: "Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better." Ten days later, the speech had been watched at least 3.4 million times on YouTube.

On March 21, former primary candidate Bill Richardson, who has previously held important posts in the Clinton Administration, endorsed Barack Obama, a move that drew intense criticism from Clinton allies, including James Carville
James Carville
Chester James Carville, Jr. is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill...

's Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

time comparison of Richardson with Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

. On March 25, Mike Gravel announced that he would leave the Democrats and join the Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

, entering the race for the 2008 Libertarian presidential nomination the following day.

April and beyond



As the race continued to Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina, many observers concluded that Clinton had little chance to overcome Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Even if she were to succeed changing the dynamics of the race, there would not be enough pledged delegates remaining for her to catch up under most realistic scenarios. Some analysts believed Clinton could still win the nomination by raising doubts about Obama's electability, fighting for Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated at the convention, and convincing superdelegates to support her despite her expected loss in the pledged delegate vote. However, the window of opportunity for re-votes in Michigan and Florida appeared to close in late March, and House Speaker
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

, chair of the Democratic National Convention, said that it would be harmful to the party if superdelegates were to overturn the result of the pledged delegate vote.

Complicating the equation for Democrats, presidential candidate John McCain
John McCain presidential campaign, 2008
John McCain, the senior United States Senator from Arizona, launched his second candidacy for the presidency of the United States in an unsuccessful bid to win the 2008 presidential election. His candidacy, in the works for a number of years, was informally announced on February 28, 2007 during a...

 clinched the Republican nomination
Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

 on March 4. With Obama and Clinton engaged in the Democratic primary, McCain was free to define his candidacy for the general election largely unchallenged. Some Democrats expressed concern that Clinton stayed in the campaign through March and April, when they felt she had little chance to win the nomination, but a much greater chance to damage Obama's candidacy in the general election. However, others defended Clinton's right to continue on, arguing that a sustained campaign was good for the Democratic Party and that Clinton still had a realistic shot at the nomination.

On April 22, Clinton scored a convincing win in Pennsylvania. However, on May 6, Obama surprised many observers by winning North Carolina by almost 15 percentage points, effectively erasing Clinton's gains in Pennsylvania. Clinton won by only 1 point in Indiana. With Obama now leading by 164 pledged delegates and with only 217 pledged delegates left to be decided in the remaining contests, many pundits declared that the primary was effectively over. Obama gave an election night speech that looked forward to the general election campaign against McCain. The pace of superdelegate endorsements increased. On May 10, Obama's superdelegate total surpassed Clinton's for the first time in the race, making the math increasingly difficult for a Clinton win.

Clinton vowed to continue campaigning, and won convincingly in primaries in West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 on May 13, and Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 on May 20 where Appalachian voters strongly preferred her over Obama. However, Obama was able to clear a victory in Oregon on May 20, which allowed him to clinch the majority of pledged delegates. Obama gave his victory speech in Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the US state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857...

, the state that propelled his candidacy, in which he stated, "The road here has been long, there have been bumps along the way. I have made some mistakes, but also it's partly because we've traveled this road with one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for this office. Now, some may see the millions upon millions of votes cast for each of us as evidence that our party is divided, but I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take this country in a new direction." Clinton advisers said they would appeal to the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee to have the Michigan and Florida delegations seated. However, even under the most favorable seating arrangement, she would not have been able to take a lead in pledged delegates and would have had to rely on superdelegates to win the nomination. On May 31, the rules committee accepted the Michigan state party's 69-59 distribution of pledged delegates and restored half votes to Florida's and Michigan's delegations. This resulted in a net gain for Clinton of 24 pledged delegates. Obama remained significantly ahead, with a lead of 137 pledged delegates before the Puerto Rico primary
Puerto Rico Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Puerto Rico Democratic primary took place on June 1, 2008. It was an open primary. Puerto Rico initially planned to hold caucuses, as was done in 2000 and 2004, on June 7, 2008. In December 2007, an error in the plan was discovered; the caucus date should have read June 1, 2008. Puerto...

 on June 1.
On June 3, the day of the final primaries in South Dakota and Montana, Obama rolled out about sixty superdelegate endorsements. Those endorsements, together with the pledged delegates awarded in the final primaries, put him well over the "magic number" of 2,117 delegate votes necessary for a majority at the Democratic National Convention. By early in the evening, all major news organizations had announced that Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination, and Obama claimed the status of presumptive nominee
Presumptive nominee
In politics, the presumptive nominee is a political candidate who is all but assured of his or her party's nomination, but has not yet been formally nominated...

 in a speech in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clinton did not concede the nomination in her election night speech, saying that she would be "making no decisions tonight". On the morning of June 5, Clinton posted on her website an open letter to her supporters, which she also sent by e-mail that day. It announced that on Saturday (June 7) Clinton would endorse Obama's candidacy. During a well received concession speech in Washington DC on Saturday June 7 Clinton endorsed Obama in the following terms:
"The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.
Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him."
Details Delegate Votes to the Convention Pledged Delegate Vote Count
Election Result Change
Notes
Current Estimate
Date Election link Pledged Super Total Obama Clinton Obama Clinton
April 22 Pennsylvania primary
Pennsylvania Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Democratic primary in Pennsylvania was held on April 22 by the Pennsylvania Department of State in which voters chose their preference for the Democratic Party's candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. Voters also chose the Pennsylvania Democratic Party's candidates for various...

158 29 187 73 85 73 85
May 3 Guam caucuses
Guam Democratic territorial convention, 2008
The 2008 Guam Democratic territorial convention took place on May 3, 2008. Senator Barack Obama won by 7 votes, a margin of less than 0.2%. This resulted in each candidate getting 2 pledged delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention...

4 5 9 2 2 2 2
May 6 Indiana primary
Indiana Democratic primary, 2008
Clinton narrowly defeated Obama to win the primary.The Indiana Democratic Presidential Primary took place on May 6, 2008. It was an open primary with 72 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 47....

72 13 85 34 38 34 38
North Carolina primary
North Carolina Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Democratic presidential primary in North Carolina took place on May 6, 2008, one of the last primary elections in the long race for nomination between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama won the primary....

115 19 134 67 48 67 48
May 13 West Virginia primary
West Virginia Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 West Virginia Democratic primary took place on May 13, 2008 with polls closing at 7:30 p.m. EST. It was open to Democrats and Independents. The primary determined 28 delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, who were awarded on a proportional basis. West Virginia's Democratic...

28 11 39 8 20 8 20
May 20 Kentucky primary
Kentucky Democratic primary, 2008
The Kentucky Democratic Presidential Primary took place May 20, 2008, and had 51 delegates at stake. The winner in each of Kentucky's six congressional districts was awarded all of that district's delegates, totaling 34. Another 17 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Hillary Rodham...

51 9 60 14 37 14 37
Oregon primary
Oregon Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Oregon Democratic primary was a mail-only primary in the U.S. state of Oregon. Ballots were mailed to registered Democratic voters between May 2 and May 6, 2008. To be counted, all ballots had to have been received by county elections offices by 8:00 p.m. PDT on May 20, 2008...

52 13 65 31 21 31 21
June 1 Puerto Rico primary
Puerto Rico Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 Puerto Rico Democratic primary took place on June 1, 2008. It was an open primary. Puerto Rico initially planned to hold caucuses, as was done in 2000 and 2004, on June 7, 2008. In December 2007, an error in the plan was discovered; the caucus date should have read June 1, 2008. Puerto...

55 8 63 17 38 17 38
June 3 Montana primary
Montana Democratic primary, 2008
The Montana Democratic Presidential Primary took place on June 3, 2008, with 16 delegates at stake. Along with South Dakota, it was one of the last two elections in the 2008 Democratic Party Presidential Primary. The winner in Montana's at-large congressional district was awarded all of that...

16 9 25 9 7 9 7
South Dakota primary
South Dakota Democratic primary, 2008
The 2008 South Dakota Democratic primary took place on June 3, 2008. Along with Montana, it was one of the final two elections in the 2008 primary season...

15 8 23 6 9 6 9
- At-large vacancies* - 2 2
- TOTAL 566 126 692 261 305 261 305

* Two at-large DNC superdelegate seats are vacant, see: History of superdelegate composition changes.

Voter turnout


Voter turnout
Voter turnout
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election . After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s...

 was at historically high levels in the 2008 primaries and caucuses, with many contests setting all-time records for turnout. Voter turnout on Super Tuesday was at 27% of eligible citizens, breaking the previous record of 25.9% set in 1972. Turnout was higher among Democrats than Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, with Democratic turnout surpassing Republican turnout even in traditionally red states where the number of registered Democrats is proportionally low. Many states reported high levels of Democratic voter registration
Voter registration
Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens and residents to check in with some central registry specifically for the purpose of being allowed to vote in elections. An effort to get people to register is known as a voter registration drive.-Centralized/compulsory vs...

 in the weeks before primaries. From January 3 through February 5, Democratic turnout exceeded Republican turnout, 19.1 million to 13.1 million.
The high Democratic turnout was attributed to several factors:
  • the compressed primary calendar, which gave voters in more states an opportunity to participate in the nomination
  • the first competitive Democratic race since 1992
    Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1992
    The 1992 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1992 U.S. presidential election...

  • media interest and voter excitement generated by the first viable African American
    African American
    African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

     and female presidential contenders
  • dissatisfaction with Republican presidential candidates
  • the early emergence of John McCain
    John McCain
    John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

     as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party
  • open primaries
    Open primary
    An open primary is a primary election that does not require voters to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote for partisan candidates. In a traditional open primary, voters may select one party's ballot and vote for that party's nomination. As in a closed primary, the highest voted...

     in some states, which allowed Republicans and independent
    Independent (voter)
    An independent voter, those who register as an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter of a democratic country who does not align him- or herself with a political party...

     voters to participate in Democratic contests
  • dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     and Iraq War policy
  • cyclical party realignment
    Realigning election
    Realigning election are terms from political science and political history describing a dramatic change in the political system. Scholars frequently apply the term to American elections and occasionally to other countries...



See also


  • Political positions of Barack Obama
    Political positions of Barack Obama
    Barack Obama has declared his position on many political issues through his public comments and legislative record. The Obama Administration has stated that its general agenda is to "revive the economy; provide affordable, accessible health care to all; strengthen our public education and social...

  • Political positions of Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
    Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
    The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

  • Statewide opinion polling for the Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2008
    Statewide opinion polling for the Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2008
    This article is a collection of state-wide public opinion polls that have been conducted relating to the Democratic presidential primaries, 2008. A graphic summary of the data in map form follows...

  • Nationwide opinion polling for the Democratic Party 2008 presidential candidates
    Nationwide opinion polling for the Democratic Party 2008 presidential candidates
    For state-by state numbers see Statewide opinion polling for the Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2008This is a collection of scientific, public nationwide opinion polls that have been conducted relating to the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates.-Broad field: For state-by state numbers...

  • Fundraising for the 2008 United States presidential election
    Fundraising for the 2008 United States presidential election
    In the 2008 United States presidential election, fundraising increased significantly compared to the levels achieved in previous presidential elections....