March 17th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Delegate update: The 'magic number' changes

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama crisscross the country accumulating both votes and delegates, the two Democratic presidential hopefuls are discovering that the actual number of delegates needed to win the nomination, the so-called "magic number," is a constantly moving target.

What does it take to win? As of today, 4,047 delegates will vote for the nominee, according to the Democratic National Committee. That means that a candidate needs 2,024 delegate votes to win. These numbers do not include Florida and Michigan, which will be adjusted if the states hold races in compliance with DNC rules.

The new totals are the result in small changes in party membership in several states, including the home states of both candidates. The newest Illinois superdelegate, Rep. Bill Foster, pledged his support to Obama, who helped him win the seat of former House Speaker Denny Hastert.

Clinton lost a superdelegate vote in New York with the resignation of Eliot Spitzer as governor, since Gov. David Paterson is a DNC member at-large who already had a vote. Paterson previously pledged his support for the New York senator.

Other changes include the addition of newly elected Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, grandson of the late Rep. Julia Carson. He remains uncommitted. John Melcher of Montana will represent National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council, adding one more superdelegate vote for the Big Sky State. Former DNC chairman and Clinton supporter Ken Curtis lost his vote because he moved to Florida.

CNN also updated its Iowa delegate estimate based on results from county conventions held Saturday. Obama gained seven additional delegates for a revised total of 23, while Clinton lost one delegate, dropping her Iowa delegate total to 14, according to CNN estimates. Former Senator John Edwards held on to eight delegates, down from the 14 delegates CNN originally had estimated he won at the precinct caucuses on January 3.

CNN currently estimates Obama with 1,618 votes (1,411 pledged, 207 Superdelegates) and Clinton with 1,479 (1,242 pledged, 237 Superdelegates).

Click here for a breakdown of delegates by state.

–CNN’s Adam Levy

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. karen hussein(OBAMA WINS TEXAS)

    Keep it real! It is better to talk about the recent situation than to run away. America needs to have this talk about race relations. God bless us all, it looks like we all have issues about it but don't know how to confront it. Everyone is different, some white, black, brown, hindu, sikh, muslim, jew, etc. Different upbringings this is something important to discuss.

    March 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Dave in Alexandria, VA

    Check your math CNN – It's 25-14-6.

    Why is it that liberals can't do math?

    March 17, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Jay

    The math gets tougher and tougher for Hillary. She needs to close the gap, and instead, it just grew in between primaries. I totally think that its karma for her attempts to change the rules in the middle coming back to roost.

    She would have to win the remaining states pretty much 70-30 to catch up. Which is absolutely unrealistic.

    March 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. An Agnostic Democrat

    It is all about the delgates – or was earlier on – until Hillary and her campaign crooks and thugs changed the rules numerous times since she began losing ... quite sorely I might add. That just happens to be why George Bush won the presidency even though he lost the popular vote ... so pack up your whiney, self-serving attitude Hillary! I happen to agree with Nancy Pelosi who also thinks it's about the delegates. Swallow that argument, Hillary! You are so outta here!

    March 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. wanakee

    I really hate it when CNN and others include superdelegates in the delegate tally. It's confusing to most Americans and it camoflauges the truth. Since most uncommited delegates are saying they will follow the delegates the people elect, let's just focus on those pledged delegates until the super delegates become an issue.
    That way, people will know exactly what their votes have done for the candidates. Anyone who takes a realistic view at pledged delegates will pretty much concede that it is time for the Clinton camp to pretty much concede.

    March 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Rapid

    Again I will say that, as a Repubican, I don't want to see this country split with Clinton(s) in the White House again. Most of my GOP friends actually like Obama. Don't blow it Dems. Vote Obama.

    March 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    Yes they have changed some, and look who's winning! Obama of course. Clinton can just give it up.

    March 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Chuck

    Face it, our system stinks! This is the 21st Century. Why are we using such antiquated methods? Oh yeah, so power mongers and money grubbers can control the selection process. Silly me.

    March 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. jp/michigan

    Don't worry about delegates, until all the votes are counted. Every poll is different, just like every report on the candidate, depending on the station is different.. In August, when they hold the Democratic convention . we will know for surd. As a Michigan voter, I sure hope Obama doesn't try to stop a re-vote, disfranchising voters will not get him in the White House. It is my constitution right to vote and be counted. Just like the freedom of speech, given to his pastor..

    March 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Boston, MA

    Why do you keep reporting that no one campaigned in Florida. When you Obama put out a commercial! Again skewing towards YOUR favored candidate.

    March 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Dylan

    I can’t morally vote for someone who voted for this unwarranted Iraq war. Especially when Hillary made a vote without reading the related documents. What a huge blunder on Hillary’s part. Hillary PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU VOTE NEXT TIME!!! This is unacceptable. Just think of all the innocent people that died!!!

    This goes to show you, Hillary has terrible judgment.

    March 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. D Frank

    The DNC has clearly lost control of the situation regarding the Delegate issue in Florida and Michigan. This issue has to be resolved ASAP regardless of how the cost is covered>

    Also, there is a lot of discussion about Obama making a speech to address the Rev Wright situation. People are talking about how great it is that he is addressing the issue head-on. Well, Obama has no other option but to address it. No matter what he says in his speech, It will be difficult, if not impossible, to present a plausible justification for his continued involvement in this Church. Rev Wright has over the years made Racist and Anti-american comments that I am certain has not gone unnoticed. Obama is a very intelligent professional who almost certainly is ans was aware of Wright's position.

    Barrack Obama has been for months now talking about his ability to make sound judgement calls (I.e. Iraq War etc.) Is his relationship with this minister an example of how he will make sound decisions if he becomes the next President?

    Oprah said when she was present at one of the Obama's political events that people were voting for Obama (herself included) because he was "BRILLIANT" and not because he is black. That is kind of difficuly to believe. These are truely sad days in America, where folks are casting their votes on reasons othe than Qualification and Experience>

    America has to stop casting their votes FOR or AGAINST a candidate based on their RACE, GENDER, RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE, SEXUAL PREFERENCE or AGE.

    March 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Tom, Cville, VA

    Obama leads in states, delegates, and popular vote, and none of that is going to change. In addition, he has the integrity, the analytical power, and the presidential temperament to address Clinton's negative campaining head-on, and on the merits (or lack thereof), and he will do the same versus McCain. Obama is the one we need!

    March 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Poor CNN

    You are sooo desperate!

    March 17, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. Jay

    Yeah...he also implies that eventually the voters will "wise up" and realize that the superdelegates should decide the nominee after all.

    March 17, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Hilliary

    Hillary will the person who can bring job for American people. american people ahave lost interest in Obama. Obama, Please go home. We don't need you !!!!

    March 17, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Hilliary

    I voted for Obama earlier, but I feel so bad for my vote. I can't trust him any longer. Obama, Plaese Step down!!!!!!! The republicans will beat you easily. Please relase your record of foing to Church. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 17, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. v.ananthan

    Superdelegates should vote for their respective STATE winner...


    March 17, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Patrick

    No offense to the guy who said liberals can't do math. I can... Look at the statistics of college educated individuals in red states vs. blue states where the Republicans have to win to be viable. You'd be SHOCKED.

    March 17, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Mo. Voter

    Dylan.... Obama was friends with Rezco for 17 years and didn't know the guy was a crook. He knew Wright for 20 years and never heard any of his anti-America and anti-white sermons. Was he an idiot or did he use BAD judgment?

    March 17, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Crocus

    Memo to Howard Dean, Al Gore & Nancy Pelosi:

    You've got to convince Hillary to concede the race. The math simply does not work for her, and the increasingly nasty tone of the campaign (on both sides) is creating bitter rifts within the party that may not heal by election day. There comes a time in every election when the person who is behind in the voting must concede to the person who is ahead. That time is now!

    March 17, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. To Superdelegates:

    Stand up, Supers!
    We have spoken.
    Now it is your time, your test!
    Let's end Clinton's campaign that is sustained by Rush Limbaugh's Republicans in Texas and across the country.

    March 17, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. Scott SD, CA

    I LOVE the compromise solution that they say Gore, Reid, Dean are discussing. Make Hillary the new Senate Democrat Leader n 2009, and allow her to have that bully pulpit for an Obama Presidency. A graceful way out of this divisive campaign. And a powerful leadership team that certainly beats the Bush-Reid combination we have now.

    March 17, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Don, San Francisco

    And Clinton falls further behind... How long will the Dems allow her to keep going? It is not helping either candidate's chances in November.

    March 17, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |