SEC Primary 2016: Which States Vote on Super Tuesday?

When is the SEC primary?, Ted Cruz SEC primary, SEC primary 2016, Super Tuesday 2016

Ted Cruz, pictured campaigning February 17 in South Carolina, is hoping to cash in on delegates during the March 1 SEC Primary. (Getty)

Super Tuesday, the day in early March when a host of states hold their presidential nominating contests, has always been an important part of the election calendar. This year, though, the day will have a different, more decidedly regional feel. That’s because a group of southern states have moved their primaries to Super Tuesday, creating what’s being dubbed the SEC Primary.

Here’s a quick guide to one of the biggest days of the election season:


WHICH STATES ARE VOTING? Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia will hold nominating contests for both parties. On the Republican side, Colorado will hold its caucus, but not award any delegates based on the outcome, instead allowing its 37 delegates to remain unpledged. Alaska will also hold its Republican caucus, while American Samoa will hold its Democratic caucus. Additionally, Democrats abroad will be able to cast ballots during the first week of March.

HOW IS THE LIST OF STATES DIFFERENT THIS YEAR? Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas all moved their primaries to Super Tuesday after holding them on different dates in 2012. Idaho, Wyoming and North Dakota all held their Republican nominating contests on Super Tuesday in 2012, but Idaho moved its primary to March 8 this year, while North Dakota and Wyoming are not holding nominating contests. (Josh Putnam, a political science lecturer at the University of Georgia, explains the odd circumstances in Colorado, North Dakota, and Wyoming on his website, Frontloading HQ. )

WHY IS IT CALLED THE SEC PRIMARY? The primary is named after the Southeastern Conference, the powerhouse college athletics league that includes the flagship state universities in most states throughout the Southeast. The name, though, is a bit misleading. Only five of the 12 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas — have schools in the SEC. (Alabama and Tennessee have two apiece: the University of Alabama and Auburn University for Alabama and the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University for Tennessee. The other three states have one SEC school apiece: the University of Arkansas, the University of Georgia and Texas A&M.)

HOW MANY DELEGATES ARE AT STAKE? There are 595 delegates at stake on the Republican side (24 percent of the 2,472 total delegates throughout the country) and 1,004 delegates at stake on the Democratic side (21 percent of the 4,763 delegates to the convention.)

HOW DID THE SEC PRIMARY COME ABOUT? Brian Kemp, the Secretary of State in Georgia, collaborated with other southern Secretaries of State in hopes of getting more southern states to hold their primaries on the same day. Kemp succeeded in getting Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma to join Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia on the list of southern states voting on Super Tuesday. As the National Review’s Eliana Johnson writes, Kemp’s goal was to increase the influence southern states have on the nominating process, forcing candidates to pay attention to the south rather than ignoring the region in favor of more delegate-rich states in other parts of the country.

HOW WILL THE SEC PRIMARY IMPACT EACH PARTY’S RACE? Kemp’s plan seems to have worked for the most part. Super Tuesday now has a decidedly southern feel, and the makeup of the calendar has had a major impact on certain candidates’ strategies. Ted Cruz, for instance, is all but staking his entire campaign on a strong finish in the SEC, where his platform is tailored to the most conservative voters in the country. There’s one catch, however, on the GOP side: Moving primary dates is a complicated process that requires sign-off from the Republican National Committee. In exchange for allowing the extra southern states to move their primaries, the RNC mandated that all states with primaries between March 1 and March 14 award their delegates proportionately, rather than via the winner-take-all method, which raises each candidate’s stakes in a given states. Click here for a breakdown of the RNC’s delegate rules. The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson also wrote this in-depth piece on the SEC primary’s origins last May. The SEC Primary could also have a big impact on the Democratic race. The region’s heavy concentration of African-American voters on the Democratic side is good news for Hillary Clinton, who leads Bernie Sanders in polls of 10 of the 12 states voting between March 1 and March 8. Winning the lion’s share of the delegates at stake Super Tuesday could allow Clinton to halt Sanders’ momentum before he becomes an even more serious threat than he’s already become.

South Carolina Primary 2016: GOP Polling Hours & Key Information

The South Carolina Republican primary is set for Saturday, February 20. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Click here to read more

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  1. Pres. Obama will probably wait at least 3 weeks before nominating a Supreme Justice candidate replacement. That will be after Super Tuesday. I am conservative enough to think people should do the jobs that they have contracted to do & are currently being paid to do(whether by election or whatever). Senators Cruz & Rubio should return to Washington, DC and the jobs they are currently being paid to do. Not doing so is slacking even if they have others colluding with them not to do their jobs in a timely manner. In the Armed Forces, slackers are drummed out on Dishonorable Discharges. They should do their jobs!

  2. After being a NEWYork resident all my life I feel it’s unfair that I have to struggle due to getting SHOT IN THE HEAD W A 38 caliber Gun for just driving min an area where a 12 year old BOY SHOT ME FOR NO REASON. My problem is everything changed in my life since getting shot which really was not & is not my fault. I just feel I should be taken care of for ever because of this happening in my life I’m not a lazy gal I find this totally out of line but my well being should be cared for as a whole no matter what I never had seizures before this in my life either…. So this country/ or STATE IS TERRIBLE IFBI AM NOT TAKEN CARE OF IN EVERY ASPECT BECAUSE OF GETTING SHOT IN THE HEAD FOR NO REASON….. It’s quite unfair & out of line!!!

  3. Establishment that wants to keep things on what they consider a balance scale, working in cooperation with the other party filling the pockets of the politicians and special interest groups running our government while the rest of the population gets poorer and poorer. The establishment that is suppose to be working for the American people do not give one damn about us and our needs or problems. I would have a better voice if I where an illegal alien or a Muslim. I will vote for Trump in the primary because I feel he is the only candidate that gives one darn about the American citizens. He is not perfect but neither are any of the others. I like his tax program, his immigration stand, his economic plan, his stand on bringing back industries to the US building up our job market, his plan on putting education back into the hands of the states, his backing the 2 amendment and protecting our rights to bear arms. I do not completely understand his policy for rebuilding our health care but he still has more I find I am looking for in man willing to help us rebuild our nation than any other republican candidate. I want a man that can beat Hillary Clinton or any other democratic candidate. Our country is at a crossroads we are on the eve of total destruction and we the people have had little say up to this point and I feel Donald Trump is echoing what we the silent majority are saying and he is demonstrating our anger and he is the man the Democratic party fears. Frankly, the Democratic party does not like America as it stands and wants to turn us into a copycat mindless socialist nation that will become sheep before the United Nations. The Judeo Christian beliefs and work ethic that started this great nation needs to be once again placed at the forefront of this nation and yes taught once again in our schools.