Vermont a 'Super Tuesday' state in presidential primary
MONTPELIER — With favorite son Bernie Sanders on the ballot Vermonters will get a chance to double-dip on March 1, when the state's Super Tuesday presidential primary coincides with the annual Town Meeting Day.
Currently there are 10 Republicans on the ballot in Vermont and four Democrats, including Sanders the U.S. senator seeking the Democratic Party nomination, but a number of the candidates whose names will appear on the ballot have already dropped out of the race.
Vermonters shouldn't expect to see a succession of big-name candidates crisscrossing the state.
"Bernie will show up the day before the election probably to vote in Burlington," said retired Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis. "There're too few delegates at stake. I mean there are a dozen states voting on March 1 and almost all of them have much larger delegations."
Vermont voters are free to cast ballots in either primary, but it will be recorded which party they choose when they ask for ballots at their local polling place.
The Republicans on the ballot are Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump. But Christie, Fiorina, Paul and Santorum have ended their campaigns since the ballots were assembled.
The Democrats on the ballot are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, Martin O'Malley and Sanders. O'Malley has ended his bid for the nomination.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties distribute their delegates for their respective nominating conventions using their parties' complicated formulas.
The Vermont Democrats have 16 pledged delegates, allocated by district and statewide vote according to standard Democratic rules, and 10 super delegates who are free to cast their votes at their party's convention as they choose. The Vermont Republican Party also has 16 delegates.
Conor Casey, the executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, said the party is choosing between Sanders and Clinton, but Casey said having Sanders in the race is invigorating.
"It's a fascinating time to be in politics," Casey said.
"Our job as the Democratic Party will be to harness the energy that we're seeing in the March 1 primary and carry that on to the November general election."
Vermont Republican Party Chair David Sunderland said the state GOP will support whoever is the nominee.
"People have heard a lot from the candidates," Sunderland said. "I think it's interesting that people may not know that Vermont is a Super Tuesday state."
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