What To Know About The Oklahoma Primary

On March 1, voters in 12 states and American Samoa will hold primaries and caucuses to help determine which Republican and Democratic presidential candidates will eventually win their parties' nominations this summer. Oklahoma is one of the states in the Super Tuesday "SEC primary," as the Southern primaries have been dubbed. Because every state runs its primaries a little differently, whether or not the Oklahoma primary is winner-take-all will be important when it comes time to divvy up the state's delegates.

On the Republican side, 43 total delegates are up for grabs. Rather than a winner-take-all setup, Oklahoma institutes a winner-take-most system. The GOP candidate with the most votes across the state will win 28 delegates. Then, the winner of each congressional district will be awarded three delegates per district. There are five congressional districts in the state, making for a total of 15 delegates, which could all go to one candidate if one Republican wins in every district (like Donald Trump did in South Carolina last week). Many states' Republican parties adopted this strategy for the 2016 primaries, making it possible for more candidates to win delegates than with a winner-take-all rule — if anyone can beat Trump in an entire congressional district, that is.

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For Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Oklahoma Democratic party has allotted 42 delegates in total. The Democratic National Committee dictated that all 2016 primaries and caucuses for the party would award delegates proportionally. So just like in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, Clinton and Sanders will each get Oklahoma delegates in proportion to how many votes they get in the state. If the race is as close as it has been thus far, they will each walk away with some Oklahoma delegates to their name.

Oklahoma on its own isn't a big deal for either party, considering each has fewer than 50 delegates up for grabs. Texas, on the other hand, has a total of 155 Republican delegates and 252 Democratic delegates to be given away on Super Tuesday. However, when viewed as a whole, Oklahoma and the other comparatively small SEC primaries will set the tone for which candidates the South supports. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia will also vote on Tuesday, and together the SEC states will give a Democratic candidate — and especially a Republican candidate — a huge boost in delegates and public support.