Arizonans vie to be party delegates

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 21:58:41-04

It's an exciting time in Arizona politics. Before Tuesday's primary, all Republican and Democratic presidential candidates will have faced voters in the state.

With the race tight on both sides, the national focus will be on the results of Tuesday's primary in Arizona.

Candidates that will be heavily campaigning in Arizona through the weekend are not just wooing voters, but also delegates in the state.

Delegates are selected by both parties to represent Arizona in the national convention set to take place in July.

Barbara Lubin, the political director for the Arizona Democratic Party said Tuesday's election will determine how many delegates the party will send to represent the winning candidate.

Whichever candidate wins the popular vote on Tuesday, will get the vote of delegates in the first ballot.

"They are bound to whoever wins the primary this Tuesday," said Robert Graham, the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

By Monday's deadline, about 200 people had filed to become a delegate. The Republican deadline is still a few weeks away, and hundreds of people have also expressed an interest to represent the party, said Graham.

The state also has a designated number of delegates with no affiliation.

The role of the delegates becomes extremely important if no candidate achieves the majority vote in the national convention. Graham referred to it as the "magic number." For the Republican candidate that is 1,237 delegate votes. For the Democrats the "magic number" is 2,383 votes.

If that number is not hit, the delegates could choose to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Graham said in essence, the candidates are running two campaigns right now. One, trying to convince voters and the other to convince congressional districts and delegates to pick them, in case no majority is reached in the national convention.

While both sides disagree on the way the next President should run the country, one thing they do agree on is that the Arizona primary is crucial in determining which way the campaigns could go.

In addition to Arizona, Utah and Idaho will also hold primary elections next Tuesday.