2016 Democratic Party Primary Tracker

United States Government textbook

Click the book image to learn more about primaries in the networks textbook, United States Government: Our Democracy.

The primary is the principle method used by American political parties to choose their candidates. Members of the political party select candidates to represent their party and their political views in a general election against their political opponent.

For the presidential election every four years, each state holds primaries across the state on a scheduled day. Because it is a part of the presidential nomination process, the media pays careful attention to who is leading after each result is announced and how it positively or negatively affects each candidate’s campaign.

The dates for these state contests change frequently, as each state tries to provide the maximum amount of individual influence in the selection of the party nomination.

  • Feb. 1, 2016


    A Tight Clinton Victory

    In Iowa, the battle for the Democratic Party nomination got off to an exciting start. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters showed up across Iowa to caucus for their candidate. After several hours of discussion, conversation, and some excitement, the race is too close to call. Based on very early overnight returns, Clinton won 49.9% of the precincts. Sanders won 49.6% of the precincts.

  • Feb, 9, 2016

    New Hampshire

    Strong Sanders Showing

    As advanced polling had predicted, Bernie Sanders won a decisive victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday. The next day’s results showed that he collected 60 percent of the primary votes. Hillary Clinton won just over 38 percent.

  • Feb. 20, 2016


    The Clinton Caucus

    The back-and-forth battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton added a new clash yesterday. The Nevada Democratic caucuses were held and Hillary Clinton notched a second victory. Clinton supporters say that this win–driven in Nevada’s population centers by Hispanic and African American voters–proves she has the broad support needed to win the general election against the Republican candidate. Still, Sander’s had a strong showing, by winning just over 47% of the caucus participants across the state.

  • Feb. 27, 2016


    Clinton Wins Big

    In a dominating Democratic primary win, Hillary Clinton made a strong argument that she is the right candidate to lead the Democrats in the White House for the next four year.

    Clinton won almost 74 percent of the primary votes cast, easily defeating Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton’s win was propelled by a strong vote by African Americans in South Carolina.

    This suggests that Clinton may widen her lead when Super Tuesday’s primaries are held across several Southern states early this coming week.

  • Mar. 1, 2016


    The Battle Continues

    Hillary Clinton dominated in the Deep South on Super Tuesday with wide margin wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. Clinton also won big in Virginia. She continues to get overwhelming support from African American voters.

    Clinton also won a narrow victory in Massachusetts, but Sanders added wins of his own in Colorado, the Minnesota caucus, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont.

    Clinton continues, however, to have a commanding lead in the Democratic Party Superdelegate total.

  • Mar. 5, 2016


    Is Hillary Feeling the Bern?

    While Hillary Clinton’s delegate count continues to be well ahead of Senator Sanders, he won’t stop his campaign. Bernie captured the Saturday primary contests in Kansas and Nebraska. Clinton continued to attract African American voters with a strong win in Louisiana.

  • Mar. 6, 2016


    Bernie Wins Again

    Senator Sanders ended the weekend with another primary win in Maine. Still, Hillary Clinton has almost captured half of the delegates needed to claim the nomination.

  • Mar. 8, 2016


    Another Split Decision

    The delegate dance between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton continues. Hillary continued her southern dominance with an easy win in Mississippi. But Sanders dominated in Michigan.

    Clinton still has the delegate lead, but the Sanders campaign is not going away. In upcoming primary contests, the delegates are not split proportionally, so if Sanders strings together some wins, the delegate math might start to change.

    In short–this race is definitely one to keep an eye on as the spring and summer months heat up.

  • Mar. 12, 2016

    Northern Mariana Islands

    Clinton Takes a Territory

    On Saturday, Hillary Clinton added another win to her delegate total. She bested Bernie Sanders in the Northern Marianas Islands vote, laying claim to 4 of this territory’s 6 party nomination delegates.

    The Clinton campaign remains focused, however, on the big prizes at stake on Tuesday–where the swing states of Florida and Ohio can help solidify her lead or motivate the Sanders supporters for more effort.

  • Mar. 15, 2016

    Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, & Ohio

    Clinton Stretches Her Lead

    Hillary Clinton started off the night with strong, convincing wins in Florida and in North Carolina–adding more Southern victories to her growing total. And then in a significant win, Clinton won Ohio to gain a key midwestern state.

    Bernie Sanders fought hard but lost by a very narrow margin in the Illinois primary. The Missouri primary result was similarly very close overnight and has not yet been declared a victory for either Democrat. Sanders holds a slim 50 percent to 49 percent lead.

  • Mar. 22, 2016


    The Battle Continues

    Hillary Clinton won in Arizona and Bernie Sanders won the other two states of Idaho and Utah. This win officially placed Clinton more than half way towards the total number of pledged delegates needed to win the nomination, despite the fact that Sanders picked up more delegates with his own two primary wins.

  • Mar. 26, 2016

    Alaska, Hawaii, & Washington

    Bernie’s Back?

    Senator Bernie Sanders kept the fight for the Democratic Party nomination going with three dominant wins over Hillary Clinton in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. Clinton failed to get more than 30 percent of the votes in each of these primaries.

    Clinton still retains the lead in pledged delegates, however, and the trend in the Democratic Party Superdelegate count has always favored Clinton.

  • Apr. 5, 2016


    Senator Sanders Strong Showing

    The Hillary Clinton campaign must be wondering if Bernie Sanders is ever going to go away. He won almost every county in yesterday’s Wisconsin primary and claimed another in a string of recent primary victories. But the Democratic primaries are awarding state delegates on a proportional basis, so her delegate total is continuing to climb.

    Can Sanders change the math and overcome Clinton’s initial lead?

  • Apr. 9, 2016


    Split Delegates

    Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton split the delegates in Wyoming. Are you surprised? Both Democrats claimed 7 delegates each. This keeps Clinton in the overall delegate lead.

  • Apr. 19, 2016


    Hillary’s Home Cookin’

    Hillary Clinton won strongly in New York, her home state of residence. On Tuesday, she won over 60 percent of the primary votes and made her most convincing argument yet that she is the clear Democratic Party nominee.

    But Senator Sanders has not given up yet. He criticized the Closed Primary system in New York that made it more difficult for Independent voters to participate in the state’s primary.

  • Apr. 26, 2016


    Hillary Strengthens Her Stance

    With strong wins in four of the five contests on Tuesday (though Connecticut was much closer), Hillary Clinton is less than 400 delegates away from claiming the Democratic nomination. Senator Sanders was only able to win the primary contest in Rhode Island.

    For those critics who criticize Sanders for staying in the race, however, remember that when Clinton was battling Barack Obama for the nomination in 2008, she stayed in the race until the first week of June.

  • May 3, 2016


    Bernie Backers Rejoice

    In a night where everyone was talking about Donald Trump’s win and Ted Cruz’s campaign suspension, it is easy to forget that Bernie Sanders picked up another win in the Midwest on Tuesday night.

    But . . . and this is a broken record statment at this point, can the delegate math shift in Sanders favor or is Hillary Clinton able to absorb this stumble and keep marching toward the Democratic nominee?

  • May 10, 2016


    Bernie Wins Again

    Senator Bernie Sanders will not go away quietly. He added another victory to his total, claiming West Virginia on Tuesday night. Like Trump’s wins in West Viginia and Nebraska, Sanders claimed every county in the state and won over 50 percent of the primary votes cast.

    But Clinton did not campaign much in the state, focusing on bigger states with larger delegate counts on the West Coast. Sanders remains about 300 pledged delegates behind Clinton at this point in the contest.

  • May 17, 2016


    Another Split Decision

    Bernie Sanders continued to do well in the West with a win in Oregon. Likewise, Hillary Clinton won a narrow victory in the South and East by claiming Kentucky.

  • June 7, 2016


    Continued Split, but Clinton Take the Big Prize

    On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton came away with the biggest wins. She won the Democratic Party primary in California and with the official pledged support of some of the unbound superdelegates, she has officially crossed the minimum delegate count to be called the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the presidential run. When all the votes are counted, this will make Hillary the first woman to ever win a major party’s presidential nomination.

    Clinton’s delegate total after all of Tuesday’s wins stood at 2,184–counting only pledged delegates. But with some of the superdelegate votes being made public, she will go over the 2,383 minimum count.

    Even though the Sanders camp is upset at the superdelegate action, and with his own two wins in Montana and North Dakota, his delegate count only stands at half of the total needed t9 claim the party’s nomination.

  • June 14, 2016


    Clinton’s Final Win


    In the last primary contest, Hillary Clinton claimed the national capital, the District of Columbia with almost 80 percent of the votes cast. This was not surprising.

    Now everyone is waiting to see what her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders will do. Sanders and Clinton met for 90 minutes Tuesday evening, but no details are yet known about what was discussed.

  • July 25-28, 2016

    Democratic National Convention

    Philadelphia Fanatics


    During the last week in July, Democratic delegates from the many states and territories gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate their party, count the official delegates, and name their candidate for the general election.

    On Tuesday, July 26, Hillary Clinton was officially named the party’s candidate for the 2016 presidential election. This marks a historic moment. Clinton is NOT the first woman to ever run for president, but it is the very first time either of the two main historic parties in the United States has nominated a female candidate.

    Though some disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters  stayed vocal in their frustrations, the Vermont senator himself did his best to draw all delegates and all watching Democrats and undecideds to get behind the Clinton campaign.

    To read more about the convention, read this Election Central post.

David Martin


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