The Texas Presidential Primary: Rules of the Game
The Republican presidential primary is actually 33 separate elections — one for each of the state’s 32 congressional districts, and one statewide. One hundred and forty delegates are at stake.
Each congressional district elects three delegates, for a total of 96.
—If one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in a congressional district, that candidate wins all three delegates.
–If no candidate wins 50% of the vote, but two candidates win 20% or more of the vote, the candidate with the higher vote total wins two delegates and the candidate with the lower vote total wins one delegate.
–If one candidate wins 20% or more of the vote but less than 50%, and no other candidate wins 20% of the vote, the candidate with more than 20% of the vote wins all three delegates.
–If no candidate receives more than 20% of the vote, then the top three vote-getters receive 1 delegate each.
Forty-one delegates are elected statewide, making a cumulative total of 137.
–If one candidate wins a majority of the votes statewide, that candidate gets all 41 delegates.
–If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, but at least one candidate receives 20% or more of the vote, the delegates are awarded proportionately among the candidates receiving 20% or more of the vote.
–If no candidate receives 20% of the vote, all 41 delegates are rewarded proportionately.
Three delegates go to the Republican National Convention as unpledged, making a cumulative total of 140: the national commiteeman, the national committeewoman, and the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
The Democratic party system is even more cumbersome than the Republicans’. The party allocates its delegates by state senatorial districts rather than by congressional districts, and the number of delegates available varies according to how well the senatorial district supported the most recent Democratic gubernatorial and presidential candidates. Each senatorial district will receive no fewer than two and no more than seven delegates.
–126 of 228 delegates are determined by the results in each of the senatorial districts. The number of delegates is determined by a candidate’s proportion of the vote, provided that a candidate must receive at least 15% of the vote before he can be awarded delegates at the senatorial district level.
–The remaining 102 delegates are chosen at the state convention, based on the presidential preferences of the convention delegates. These consist of 42 at-large delegates and 25 pledged PLEOs (party leaders and elected officials). The remaining 35 delegates are unpledged PLEOs.
Primary voters determine all but three of the 140 Republican delegates (the second largest bloc of delegates in the Republican nominating process, next to California’s), but only 126 of the 228 delegates in the Democratic nominating process.