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How Does the Michigan Primary Work?


Presidential election primaries and caucuses are two different methods that political parties use to let party members (voters) select the presidential nominee. How do primaries work and why did Democrats ignore Michigan?

2008 Results

The contest in Michigan was only on the Republican side because the Democratic National Party nullified all Michigan delegates due to early primary scheduling. The GOP cut the number of delegates in half.

  • Romney - 38.90% vote, 20 delegates
  • McCain - 29.66% vote, 7 delegates
  • Huckabee - 16.08% vote, 3 delegates
  • Paul - 6.27% vote
  • Giuliani - 2.84% vote
See Michigan Secretary of State

What Is A Primary?

A nominating primary election allows voters to select candidates for a subsequent election. "Primaries" are common in the United States and are conducted by the government on behalf of the Democratic and Republican political parties. Voters can vote in only one primary; they must declare a party affiliation. However, there are no monetary dues to pay to join and the voter can switch parties in the next primary if she so desires.

Minor parties in the United States select nominees in a less formalized and public manner.

Who Participates? And How?

Any registered voter can participate in the Michigan primary, but she can vote in only one primary race, either the Republican or Democratic race.

How Do Democrats Select Delegates?

There are no Democratic delegates at stake in Michigan. The National Democratic Party is penalizing the state party because the state party pushed for an primary earlier than 5 February 2008.

How Do Republicans Select Delebates?

There are 30 Republican delegates at stake. The primary is Tuesday 15 January 2008; voters will elect national convention delegates and alternates at the state GOP convention, Friday 15 February - Saturday 16 February 2008. National Convention delegates are bound only on the first ballot. If the candidate receives 30% or more of the vote on the first ballot, the delegates are also bound for the second ballot; otherwise, the delegates are released.

How Did Michigan Vote In Past Elections?

  • 2004 : Bush (R) 47.81% ; Kerry (D) 51.23%
  • 2000 : Bush (R) 46.14% ; Gore (D) 51.28%
  • 1996 : Clinton (D) 51.69% ; Dole (R) 38.48%
  • 1992 : Bush (R) 36.38% ; Clinton (D) 43.77%
  • 1988 : Bush (R) 53.57% ; Dukakis (D) 45.67%
  • 1984 : Reagan (R) 59.23% ; Mondale (D) 40.24%
  • 1980 : Reagan (R) 48.99% ; Carter (D) 42.50%
  • 1976 : Carter (D) 46.44% ; Ford (R) 51.83
Source: US Election Atlas

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