United States presidential nomination process

23 March 2012

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Sophia Fernandes
Politics and Public Administration Section



The next United States Presidential election will be held on 6 November 2012. The nomination process for candidates to contest the US presidency is a complicated one. How does a candidate get endorsed by a party to run for the presidency? What is the difference between a caucus and a primary? What is the effect of 'front-loading'? And what is the significance of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada in the process?

In 2012, focus is on the Republican presidential nomination process as President Obama is seeking the Democratic nomination as an incumbent President.  The Republican nomination race is particularly interesting as the Republican National Committee has changed the rules regarding allocation of delegates. They have also imposed penalties on States that have violated the date rule in regards to the scheduling of their primaries. Added to these rule changes is the rise of 'Super PACs' and their financial impacts on the nomination process.  All will contribute to draw out the process, this year, rather than previous trends that favoured the front-runner to the extent that the nominee was known within the first few weeks of the process. A drawn out nomination process will provide opportunities for candidates to challenge the front-runner, and perhaps enough to take the nomination.

How do candidates become candidates?

A first indication of someone's intention to run for presidential nominee of their party is when they announce that they are forming a committee to canvass various States and 'explore the feasibility of becoming a candidate'.[1]  These committees are known as exploratory committees, and potential candidates can announce their committees as early as 12 months before declaring their candidacy.  The Federal Election Commission (FEC) explains the role of an exploratory committee as follows:

Before deciding to campaign for federal office, an individual may first want to “test the waters”—that is, explore the feasibility of becoming a candidate. For example, the individual may want to travel around the country to determine if there is sufficient support for his or her candidacy. An individual who merely conducts selected testing the waters activities does not have to register or report as a candidate even if the individual raises or spends more than $5,000 on those activities (the dollar threshold that would normally trigger candidate registration). Nevertheless, the individual must comply with the contribution limits and prohibitions.[2]

An exploratory committee does not have to declare its finances to the FEC, this allows prospective candidates to conduct polling, travel, and essentially spend without accounting for how much money they spend, from where they receive it and how they spend it.[3]

A prospective candidate can use their exploratory committee until they are no longer 'testing the waters'. The FEC defines this as when a prospective candidate:

•    makes or authorizes statements referring to him/herself as a candidate

•    uses general public political advertising to publicize his/her intention to campaign

•    raises more money than what is reasonably needed to test the waters, or amasses funds to be used after the candidacy is established

•    conducts activities over a protracted period of time or shortly before the election, or

•    takes action to qualify for the ballot.[4]

Once a prospective candidate declares their official candidacy they must file a Statement of Candidacy with the FEC and must declare all funds.[5] It is at this point that the race to convince voters that they are the preferred Presidential candidate for the party commences.[6]

The Presidential nomination process

The Republican and Democratic Parties choose their presidential candidate through party supporters known as delegates, who make their wishes ultimately known at the party's National Convention.[7]  Each State and administered territory will hold a primary election or caucus event in the lead-up to the Convention. This is where candidates will attempt to accumulate delegates from each State to ensure enough votes to win the nomination. In 2012, the presidential candidate for the Republican Party, or GOP (Grand Old Party) as it is more commonly known, will have to accumulate at least 1144 delegate votes out of 2286 to win the nomination.[8] The presidential candidate for the Democratic Party will need to accumulate at least 2778 delegate votes out of 5555 that are on offer.[9]

The Call to Convention

The Presidential nomination process officially begins with each party's chairman issuing the 'Call to the Convention'—an official announcement by the Party to party voters of the date of the National Convention to 'nominate candidates for President of the United States and Vice-President of the United States'.[10] The Call also includes an announcement of the venue of the Convention, rules and proceedings of convening and, most importantly, the official count of delegates allocated to each State.

The Republican Party 'Call to the Convention' was issued on 30 December 2011 announcing the Republican National Convention to be held on 27–30 August 2012 in Tampa, Florida.[11]  The Republican call confirmed the delegates allocated to each State according to the rules of the Republican Party (Rule No.13).[12] There are many factors taken into account when allocating delegates, bonus delegates and alternate delegates, to each State and administered territory, these include:

  • the number of members of the US House of Representatives from each State
  • the percentage of electoral votes cast for the Republican presidential candidate at the last presidential election from State
  • if the State has a Republican State governor
  • the Republican composition of the State legislature, and
  • the number of senators in the US senate from each State.[13]

The Democratic Party issued their Call on 20 August 2010 however the location of the Convention was not announced until 1 February 2011 via email from First Lady Michelle Obama to supporters.[14]  The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 3–7 September 2012.[15] The Democratic call did not confirm a distribution of delegates between the States but confirmed the formula by which delegates would be distributed.[16] The National Committee later confirmed a total of 5555 delegates to be distributed between the States, with the presidential candidate required to accumulate at least 2778 of those votes.[17] The Party also takes into account some of the factors mentioned above, as well as:

  • where the event falls on the Primary/Caucus Schedule, and
  • if States hold their events in a regional group.

Scheduling the Events

The Republican primary/caucus schedule

The Republican primary/caucus schedule is put together after each state party or the state Secretary of State confirms a date. Occasionally the Presidential primary date is codified in State law, such as in New Hampshire, where it is codified that the presidential primary will be held at least seven days prior to any other State.[18] Events are held between January to June 2012, with two events held in Missouri, two in Texas (only for the Democrats), one held in each of the other 49 States and one each in Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Each event is either a caucus or a primary or on occasion, both. The primary/caucus schedule is available at Appendix 1.

The date set for each caucus and primary must comply with the rules set out by the Republican National Committee (RNC). On 6 August 2010, the Republican National Committee adopted the following rules:

(1) No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which a national convention is held. Except Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the year in which a national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule.

(2) Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis.

(3) If the Democratic National Committee fails to adhere to a presidential primary schedule with the dates set forth in Rule 15(b)(1) of these Rules (February 1 and first Tuesday in March), then Rule 15(b) shall revert to the Rules as adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention.[19]

States that hold their event earlier in the schedule receive significant media attention, prestige and can have significant influence on the nomination outcome. Some States, like Iowa and New Hampshire, have built a tradition of holding the first presidential caucus and primary, and to maintain this status, have shifted the date of their event earlier and earlier in the year.

'Super Tuesday', (6 March 2012), plays a significant role in prompting States to move their event to an earlier date in the schedule. Super Tuesday now commonly refers to the first available date in the schedule on which most States, if they choose to do so, could hold a primary or caucus without penalty.  In 2008, 24 States and American Samoa held their caucuses or primary elections on Super Tuesday, 5 February 2008.[20] This meant that nearly 60 per cent of Democratic delegates and 55 per cent of Republican delegates were selected by the first week in February.[21] In the Republican case, as the schedule is designed to be held from January through to June, States that held their caucuses and primaries after February in 2008 did not have the same impact on the process as States that held their events earlier.

 In order to play an influential role in the process there has been a move towards a 'front-loading' of the primary/caucus schedule, where more and more States hold their events closer together and within the first few weeks of the process. Front-loading the schedule has other consequences in that the nominee may already be determined before States have had the opportunity to hold their event. It also tends to favour the front-runner candidate as they capitalise on the momentum and media coverage of winning a series of primaries and caucuses closely together.[22]

According to the revised rules, the Republican presidential nomination process was to commence on or after 1 February 2012, with most of the events occurring after March. In reality, the first event of the process, the Iowa caucus was held on 3 January 2012.[23] Florida proved to be the catalyst for date changes when the State party announced that it would move the date of their primary from the scheduled 6 March 2012 to 31 January 2012.[24] Following suit, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Arizona and Michigan moved their caucus and primary dates forward. By directly contravening the rules of the Republican Party, these States (except for Iowa) have attracted a penalty loss of 50 per cent of their delegates.[25] The 50 per cent loss of delegates is not made up by other States being allocated more delegates, there are simply less delegates on offer.

These states have clearly weighed up the benefit of moving their date to earlier in the schedule against the penalty loss of 50 per cent of their delegates, in the hope that their state will rise in importance in the nomination process and will have greater influence on determining the nominee.[26]

This year 10 states held their event on Super Tuesday, 6 March 2012, a lot less than in previous presidential election years. This is due to a number of factors, particularly States' financial constraints from the global recession, prompting States to hold their primary elections alongside State-wide elections.[27]

There are a smaller number of States holding delegate selection events on Super Tuesday this year, in effect, a reversal of the trend towards front-loading. Because of this it is possible that the Republican nominee will not be determined by March and the process will be longer. A longer process allows insurgent candidates to make a serious tilt for the nomination, as well as, giving candidates the time to canvass policy proposals with the public.[28]

Democratic primary/caucus schedule

President Obama is seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination as an incumbent president; he launched his re-election bid on 4 April 2011.[29] The Democrats will hold events according to their primary/caucus schedule, but without significant contenders for the Presidential nomination, a lot of events have been declared for President Obama. Notwithstanding, in New Hampshire, for example, 60 000 voters participated in this year's Democratic primary.[30]

For the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination process, similar concerns regarding timing and the order of the States in the schedule were canvassed. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) ruled that only four States—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina—would be allowed to hold caucuses or primaries before 5 February 2008.[31] The DNC has penalised States in the past that have contravened their date rule.

Primary vs caucus


Primary elections attract more attention as they are the dominant method by which delegates for the National Convention are chosen and are run by a combination of party rules and State law. In 2012, there will be 39 primary elections.[32] In most states only voters whose party identification is recorded when they register to vote are allowed to vote in a primary.  They vote to select delegates who are bound to a certain candidate or to determine which delegates from each state will go to the National Convention.[33]  

Binding primaries

Binding primaries are where party voters will vote to bind some or all of the State's delegates to a particular candidate. This means that at the National Convention bound delegates will have to vote for the candidate that they are bound to, and this may be someone who they may not even support.[34] There are two main types of binding primaries, 'Winner-Takes-All' primaries and proportional primaries. A 'Winner-Takes-All' (WTA) primary election is where the candidate that receives the most votes wins the right to be represented at the National Convention by almost all of the State's delegates. A proportional primary election is where delegates are allocated proportionally to each candidate based upon the amount of votes that they receive.

Non-binding primaries (Republican only)

The Republican Party does hold non-binding primaries, such as Missouri, which held a presidential preference primary on 7 February 2012.[35] This type of primary is sometimes known as a ‘beauty contest’, as it does not actually select any delegates to the National Convention but gives an indication of the candidate that the State is inclined to award the nomination.[36] Missouri will hold a caucus later in the schedule to select delegates to the National Convention.

Other states that hold non-binding primaries will either vote for delegates without knowing who the delegates will vote for at the National Convention, known as unpledged delegates, or vote for delegates who will then progress to various rounds of conventions at the district, county and state level before progressing to the National Convention.


Caucuses are essentially party meetings by precinct, district or county where party supporters gather to discuss and select delegates to the National Convention.[37] Caucuses are private events run by the parties. States that hold caucuses rather than primary elections generally do so due to the reluctance of the party to relinquish their influence in the process.  Whilst caucuses are open to any registered party member, as it is a time consuming process, attendees tend to be very active party identifiers or those involved in grassroots community movements.[38] For this reason, candidates often can have unexpected success at caucuses as they tap into the emotional energy of a very motivated caucus. Caucuses put a premium on the organisational capacity of each candidate's campaign staff to ensure coverage and representation at each individual meeting.

Typically at a caucus meeting participants gather in public venues such as school halls, and listen to speeches by those that have chosen a particular candidate to support.[39] After undecided voters have had the opportunity to be swayed by candidate representatives, a vote will be taken either by a show of hands, a show of pre-printed names on a piece of paper held up by each participant or each participant will write a name on a piece of paper anonymously and these will be counted.[40] These results will be tabulated by the state party and the candidate that receives the most votes wins the right to be represented at the National Convention by the state's delegates. Caucuses can be binding or non-binding, in the same manner as primaries.

Most caucus states follow the Iowa model in that after delegates were selected at the caucuses held on 3 January 2012, they then will progress to a county convention, then a state convention and finally to the national convention. Despite its prominence in the primary/caucus schedule, as discussed below, no delegates are actually chosen at the Iowa caucus.[41] It is not until the Iowa State Convention on 16 June 2012 where this will be determined.

Republican Party

The Republican caucuses and primaries have previously been largely straightforward, with most of them being Winner-Take-All (WTA). This year, according to the rules adopted by the RNC, Republican delegates elected in January, February and March will be allocated on a proportional basis.[42]

Some states such as Mississippi, Connecticut and New York, will hold WTA primaries if there is a candidate with a clear majority and if there is not a clear majority then it will be a proportional primary. Some states have moved to a proportional primary even though their primary is inside the April boundary. And some states will operate a WTA primary at the district level and a proportional primary at the state level.[43]  The different types of primaries being held will have an impact on the number of delegates awarded to each candidate and the manner in which they are allocated. This could have a direct impact on establishing a clear front-runner for the Republican nomination and gives rise to the possibility that no candidate will have a majority of delegate votes before the Convention begins.

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party has used proportional allocation primaries and caucuses since the 1970s.[44] The party uses a formula cited in the rules of the Democratic National Convention call to determine delegate allocation. This makes the delegate allocation process quite complicated as the formula takes into consideration the state's Democratic Vote, the Total Democratic Vote and the state's Electoral Vote.[45]

As an incumbent President will be seeking the party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention, it is expected that the Convention will be a reiteration of the party's values and that President Obama will be renominated.

'Super PACs'

Another crucial factor extending the length of time that candidates are staying in the nomination race is the amount of money being channelled into the race by the ‘Super PACs’. In 2010 a US Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) and a US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision (SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission) allowed unlimited corporate and union expenditure for the election or defeat of federal candidates.[46] As a result of these decisions, independent-expenditure-only committees (IEOCs) or what the media more commonly dubbed, 'Super PACs' or 'Super Political Action Committees' arose. Through these Super PACs, corporations and unions are able to receive unlimited contributions and spend unlimited funds on seeking to elect or defeat a federal or state candidate.

Whilst Super PACs can spend unlimited funds on political advertising or other activities such as voter-canvassing, explicitly supporting or against particular candidates or campaigns, they are designed to be independent. Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate their activities with any campaign nor can they make direct contributions to campaigns.[47] Despite this, there has been a rise of Super PACs designed to advance a particular candidate, prompting commentators to question the independence of Super PACs.[48] This year, candidates are staying longer in the Republican nomination process capitalising on the momentum created by the unlimited spending of the Super PACs, whereas in other years they would not have had the financial capacity to stay the race.

New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada

New Hampshire

Since 1920, New Hampshire has been the first primary in the presidential nomination process, occurring about a week after the Iowa caucus.[49] The status of New Hampshire as first-in-the-nation has been codified in state law (as Iowa holds a caucus, New Hampshire is still the first state in the nation to hold a primary):

653:9 Presidential Primary Election. – The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election, whichever is earlier, of each year when a president of the United States is to be elected or the year previous. Said primary shall be held in connection with the regular March town meeting or election or, if held on any other day, at a special election called by the secretary of state for that purpose. The purpose of this section is to protect the tradition of the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation presidential primary.[50]

To maintain this status New Hampshire has had to push the date of the primary earlier and earlier in the year. This year the New Hampshire primary was held on 10 January 2012.

New Hampshire runs its primary slightly differently to the other States, in that the state allows independent voters known as 'undeclareds', to vote in a party's primary. This system allows voters who are not necessarily aligned with a particular party to vote in that party's primary.[51]   The Secretary of the State of New Hampshire's rules allows an ‘undeclared’ voter to choose whether they will vote in a Democratic or Republican primary on polling day itself.[52] Voters are then registered with the party they have chosen but can apply to return to the ‘undeclared’ status immediately after voting. If a voter is registered as a Republican or Democrat, they are unable to change their status to 'undeclared' on polling day, and can only vote in their own party's ballot. Registered voters are allowed to change to an ‘undeclared’ voter prior to polling day.

Like other primaries and caucuses held early in the schedule, the New Hampshire primaries attract a large amount of media attention both nationally and internationally. Many commentators speculate that New Hampshire is an indication of how the nation perceives each candidate; these speculations are made even more unpredictable by undeclared voters.  Trends towards front-loading do mean, however, that a win can provide the front-runner candidate with enough momentum to carry the following primaries and caucuses.


Since the 1970s the Iowa caucuses have been the first event in the presidential nomination schedule for both parties.[53] The importance of winning Iowa was established in US political history through former President Jimmy Carter's unexpected win in 1976. At the time, Carter was largely unknown to the national populace but he spent a lot of time campaigning in Iowa. Carter went on to win Iowa with 27.6% of caucus support.[54] The momentum created by this win helped Carter win New Hampshire and on to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Jimmy Carter's win in Iowa in 1976 captures the significance that Iowa has in the nomination process, as candidates gain attention if they perform better than 'expected'.[55]  While it is not always true that winning the Iowa caucuses equates to winning the presidential nomination, a poor showing can place pressure on candidates to withdraw from the race and can have significant impacts on a candidate's ability to attract donations. In this way, Iowa acts as a clearing house as results prompts candidates to evaluate if they have the financial and organisational capacity to stay to the end of the race.

Although Iowa is the first event in the primary/caucus schedule, none of Iowa's delegates are allocated at this point. In 2012, 1774 precincts caucused on 3 January 2012 and these precincts conducted a presidential preference poll as well as selected delegates to their County Convention (10 March 2012), who will then progress to a District Convention on 21 April 2012 and finally the State Convention on 16 June 2012 where delegates will be allocated to candidates for the National Convention.[56]

South Carolina and Nevada

Facing pressure from the states regarding their position on the primary/caucus schedule and the monopoly that Iowa and New Hampshire have in the process as 'first-in-the-Nation', both the Democratic and Republican parties decided to expand the 'first' States.[57] Since 2008, South Carolina, as the 'first-in-the-South' State and Nevada as 'first-in-the-West' have been included along with Iowa and New Hampshire as the four first states to hold their events.

South Carolina first started holding primaries in 1980 and since then has played a highly influential role in the Republican nomination process as every winner of the South Carolina primary from 1980 to 2008 has won the presidential nomination.[58] In the Republican process, South Carolina is also known as a 'firewall', which protects front-runners and disrupts the momentum of insurgent candidates who may have had a strong performance in Iowa and New Hampshire.[59] For the Democratic Party process, South Carolina took on added significance for the 2008 Obama campaign as it has a large voting African American population.[60]

The Nevada caucuses are largely straightforward.[61] This event attracts attention as it is one of the first events of the schedule but does not seem to have the same influence on the process as South Carolina.

The National Convention

The National Convention of each party is where the delegates from each State will gather to officially vote for the candidate that they want as Presidential nominee. Convention proceedings follow the rules outlined by each party's Call to Convention. Not only will the presidential nominee be selected, but also the party will nominate their vice-presidential candidate, adopt a party platform and generally discuss party matters.

States compete to host each party's National Convention as the host city gains prestige for hosting the event, as well as a boost to the local economy from the influx of people that attend (in 2012 an estimated 45 000 people are expected to attend).[62]  The choice of site for the National Convention can be a politically strategic move. In 2012, the Democratic National Convention will be held in South Carolina, a choice that commentators mark as an indication by President Obama that the Democrats can win in South Carolina at the presidential election.[63]

Both conventions attract Federal government funding for security arrangements, as they are designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE) by the Department of Homeland Security. This means that the United States Secret Service will be responsible for security arrangements.[64]

The Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention will be held on 27–30 August 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The order of proceedings will follow that set out in the Call for Convention which covers rules including seating arrangements, voting rights and length of debates.[65]

After dealing with internal party matters, the National Convention will perform a roll call of states for the nomination of a candidate to contest the positions of the President and Vice-President of the United States. Each candidate nominated has the opportunity to present a nomination and seconder speech to the Convention. At the close of the roll call a vote is taken of all the delegates and if a candidate receives the majority of votes, that candidate is declared the nominee.

It is rare for the nominee not to be known prior to the Convention. If there is no clear majority a second or more ballots will be held until the candidate attains an absolute majority of votes.  After the first ballot, generally delegates are freed from their pledges and can vote for whomever they choose. Candidates will have the opportunity to sway delegates to vote for them by conducting negotiations at the convention.

Despite internal negotiations that may need to take place at the National Convention, the Republican nominees for President and Vice-President will receive the endorsement of the party who will support the candidates through the presidential election process.

The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 3–7 September 2012 and will follow the order of proceedings as set out by their Call to Convention.

The order of proceedings is quite similar to that of the Republican National Convention. After a Convention chair is elected and reports of various internal committees are presented and discussed, nominations will be received for the Democratic Candidate for President. Each nomination must be accompanied by a petition with a minimum amount of delegates. Each candidate nomination will have the opportunity to speak to the Convention as well as their seconder. After nominations are closed, a roll call for the Presidential candidate will be conducted where each State's delegates will vote. A candidate will need to obtain the majority of votes to be declared the nominee. After the Presidential nominee is selected, the nominee will give an acceptance speech.  The process to select the vice-presidential nominee will follow.[66]

If a candidate does not obtain a majority of vote, the Democratic Call for Convention provides for the party to nominate a candidate who did not participate in the primary and caucus stages of the nominating process.[67] This provision is one method to alleviate any party concerns over a deadlocked and lengthy convention process as it may result in media damage to the Democratic nominee.

In 2012, the Convention will largely be a venue for reinvigorating the Democratic base and endorsing President Obama as the party's nominee for presidential re-election.[68]


The US presidential nomination process varies State by State and by party. The presidential nominee will not only have managed to prove their financial and organisational capacity to take on each event, but also successfully predicted delegate allocations and assessed the benefits of putting efforts into caucus events or primary elections.

The length of the presidential nomination process has changed this year, as the trend towards front-loading has been reversed creating opportunities for upcoming candidates to challenge the front-runner candidate. Super PAC funds have also allowed challenger candidates to gain momentum in the race and stay in the race for a longer period as candidates no longer rely solely on individual funds. This year it is possible that no candidate will reach the Republican National Convention with a majority of delegates.

The US presidential nomination process is dynamic and one that will keep both candidates and commentators speculating particularly in 2012.

Appendix 1

2012 Primary/Caucus Schedule





January 3, 2012




January 10, 2012

New Hampshire



January 21, 2012

South Carolina



January 31, 2012




February 4, 2012




February 7, 2012










February 11, 2012




February 28, 2012







March 3, 2012




March 6, 2012
(Super Tuesday)













North Dakota


















March 10, 2012







U.S. Virgin Islands



Northern Mariana Islands






March 13, 2012










March 17, 2012




March 18, 2012

Puerto Rico



March 20, 2012




March 24, 2012




April 3, 2012

District of Columbia












April 24, 2012







New York






Rhode Island



May 8, 2012




North Carolina



West Virginia



May 15, 2012







May 22, 2012







June 5, 2012







New Jersey



New Mexico



South Dakota



June 26, 2012




Source: http://www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-republican-primary-schedule/


[1].       Federal Election Commission (FEC), '2012 Presidential Exploratory Committees', FEC website, viewed 13 February 2012, http://www.fec.gov/press/press2011/2012PresidentialExploratoryCommitteesnm.shtml

[2].       Ibid.

[3].       C Good, 'What's an Exploratory Committee?', The Atlantic, 14 April 2011, viewed 13 February 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/04/whats-an-exploratory-committee/237309/

[4].       FEC, '2012 Presidential Exploratory Committees', op. cit.

[5].       Federal Election Commission (FEC), '2012 Presidential Form 2 Filers', FEC website, viewed 13 February 2012, http://www.fec.gov/press/press2011/presidential_form2nm.shtml

[6].       It is not a compulsory requirement for prospective candidates to have an exploratory committee. It is possible that they could simply file their Statement of Candidacy with the FEC without having had an exploratory committee.

[7].       Republican Party, The Rules of the Republican Party as adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention September 1, 2008, GOP Policy Document, viewed 9 February 2012, http://www.gop.com/images/legal/2008_RULES_Adopted.pdf

[8].       Cable News Network (CNN), 'America's Choice 2012: Election Center', CNN Politics website, viewed 8 February 2012, http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/calculator/

[9].       The Green Papers, 'Presidential Primaries 2012: Democratic delegate vote allocation', Green Papers blog, viewed 7 March 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/D-Del.phtml

[10].      Republican Party, The Rules of the Republican Party, op. cit., p. 14.

[11].      R Danielson, 'GOP chairman issues official 'call to the convention' – in Tampa', Tampa Bay Times, 30 December 2011, viewed 8 February 2012, http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/gop-chairman-issues-official-call-convention-tampa

[12].      Republican Party, The Rules of the Republican Party, op. cit., pp. 14–16.

[13].      Ibid.

[14].      Democratic National Committee, Call for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party of the United States, 20 August 2010, viewed 9 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/2010-08-20-DRAFT_2012_Call_for_Convention_8_19_10.pdf and J Zeleny, 'Democrats pick Charlotte for 2012 Convention', The Caucus blog; The New York Times, 1 February 2011, viewed 9 February 2012, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/democrats-will-meet-in-charlotte-in-2012/

[15]. Charlotte in 2012 website, http://charlottein2012.com/

[16]. The formula is available in the '2012 Call for the Democratic National Convention', op. cit., Paragraph 1.B, p. 1.

[17]. The Green Papers, 'Presidential Primaries 2012’, op. cit.

[18].      State of New Hampshire, '653:9 Presidential Primary Election', New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) Index, 1 January 1979, viewed 13 February 2012, http://maisonbisson.com/nhrsa/rsa/653-9-presidential-primary-election/

[19].      Republican Party, The Rules of the Republican Party, op. cit., pp. 18–19.

[20].      The Green Papers, '2008 Presidential primaries, caucuses, and conventions: major events chronologically', Green Papers blog , viewed 28 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/events.phtml?s=c&f=m

[21].      The Green Papers, '2008 Chronological cumulative allocation of delegates', Green Papers blog, viewed 28 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/ccad.phtml

[22].      T N Ridout and B Rottinghaus, 'The importance of being early: Presidential primary front-loading and the impact of the proposed western regional primary', PS: Political Science and Politics, January 2008, pp.123–128, accessed http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/PSJan08RidoutRottinghaus.pdf

[23].      J Jacobs, 'Iowa GOP officials set date for the Republican caucuses: Jan 3', Des Moines Register, 17 October 2011, viewed 21 February 2012, http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/10/17/iowa-gop-officials-set-a-date-for-the-republican-caucuses-jan-3/

[24].      J Linkins, 'Florida Primary Election 2012: date of contest set for Jan 31', Huffington Post, 30 November 2011, viewed 13 February 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/30/florida-primary-election-2012-january-31_n_988942.html

[25].      Rule No. 15(1) of the Rules of the Republican Party outlines a penalty to States that hold a 'primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention'. Iowa does not select delegates to the Convention until 16 June 2012. J Lederman, 'RNC: Five states to lose half their delegates', Ballot Box: The Hill's campaign blog, 3 January 2012, viewed 14 February 2012, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-presidential-primary/202155-rnc-5-states-to-lose-half-of-gop-delegates

[26].      S McLaughlin, 'Florida GOP defies party with early primary date', The Washington Times, 30 September 2011, viewed 14 February 2012, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/30/florida-sets-primary-date-january-31/

[27].      M Coppins, 'The death of Super Tuesday?', The Daily Beast, 5 August 2011, viewed 1 March 2012, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/05/mitt-romney-sarah-palin-2012-presidential-race-death-of-super-tuesday.html

[28].      Ibid.

[29].      BarackObamadotcom, 'Barack Obama 2012 campaign launch video – 'It begins with us'', Youtube, 3 April 2011, viewed 20 February 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-VZLvVF1FQ and C Cillizza and E Kolawole, 'President Obama announces reelection bid', The Washington Post, 4 April 2011 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/president-obama-announces-re-election-bid/2011/04/03/AFyKRcaC_blog.html

[30].      The Green Papers, '2012 Presidential primaries, caucuses, and conventions: New Hampshire Democrat', Green Papers blog, viewed 7 March 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/NH-D

[31].      E. M. Appleman/Democracy in Action, Democratic National Committee's Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling, viewed 15 February 2012, http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2008/chrnothp08/dnccommission.html

[32].      The Green Papers, 'Republican delegate allocation', Green Papers blog, viewed 16 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/R-Del.phtml

[33].      The Green Papers, 'Voter eligibility', Green Papers blog, viewed 16 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Definitions.html#Prim

[34].      The Green Papers, 'Presidential primary types', Green Papers blog, viewed 9 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Definitions.html#Prim

[35].      Missouri Secretary of State, ‘2012 Presidential preference primary in Missouri’, Missouri State Government Website, viewed 20 February 2012, http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2012primary/2012ppp/

[36].      The Green Papers, ‘Delegate counting definitions’, Green Papers blog, viewed 20 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Definitions.html#Prim

[37].      D Praetorius, 'What is a caucus? How the Iowa caucus works', The Huffington Post, 3 January 2012, viewed 15 February 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/what-is-a-caucus-iowa-2012_n_1181069.html

[38].      E D. Hersh, 'A caucus-goer's community', Reuters, 3 January 2012, viewed 17 February 2012, http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/01/03/a-caucus-goers-community/

[39].      Drake University Iowa Caucus Resource Center, 'Republican caucuses', Drake University website, viewed 20 February 2012,

[40].      The Green Papers, 'Delegate counting definitions', op. cit.

[41].      Praetorius, 'What is a caucus?', op. cit.

[42].      See The Rules of the Republican Party, op. cit., pp. 18–19.

[43].      For a full list of States see The Green Papers, 'Republican Delegate Selection and Voter Eligibility', Green Papers blog, viewed 22 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/R-DSVE.phtml

[44].      J A. Center, '1972 Democratic Convention Reforms and Party Democracy', Political Science Quarterly, vol. 89, no. 2, June 1974, pp. 325–350, accessed http://www.jstor.org/stable/2149263?seq=1

[45].      The formula is available at The Green Papers, 'Computation of (intermediate) Base Votes for Jurisdictions with Electoral Votes', Green Papers blog, viewed 28 February 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/D-Alloc.phtml

[46].      Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), viewed 8 March 2012, accessed http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf and SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission F.3d 686 (D.C. Cir. 2010), viewed 13 March 2012, accessed http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation/speechnow.shtml

[47].      For a detailed explanation of super PACs and the manner in which they operate see R. S Garrett, '"Super PACs" in Federal elections: overview and issues for Congress', Congressional Research Service, 2 December 2011, viewed 8 March 2012, accessed http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/179564.pdf

[48].      M Scherer, 'Attack of the Super PACs!', Time Magazine, 23 January 2012, viewed 22 February 2012, accessed http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2104313,00.html

[49].      UNH Media Relations, 'History of NH presidential primary', University of New Hampshire website, viewed 29 February 2012, http://www.unh.edu/news/primary/history.html

[50].      State of New Hampshire, 'Title LXIII Elections, Chapter 653 Election of Officers and Delegates, Election Dates, Section 653:9 Presidential Primary Election', Revised Statutes Online, viewed 29 February 2012, http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/lxiii/653/653-9.htm

[51].      D Blanchflower, 'Gingrich lacks economic credibility. That's why I'm voting for him', New Statesman, 9 January 2012, http://www.newstatesman.com/economy/2012/01/obama-vote-republican-gingrich

[52].      New Hampshire Secretary of State, 'How to register to vote in New Hampshire', Secretary of State website, http://www.sos.nh.gov/HOW%20TO%20REGISTER%20TO%20VOTE2012.pdf

[53].      E Klein, 'Why Iowa gets to go first, and other facts about tonight's caucus', The Washington Post, 3 January 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-iowa-gets-to-go-first-and-other-facts-about-tonights-caucus/2011/08/25/gIQAJtygYP_blog.html

[54].      Iowa Publications Online, 'Elections: caucus results: Democrats, 1976', viewed 8 January 2012, http://publications.iowa.gov/135/1/elections/10-5.pdf

[55].      E Klein, 'Why Iowa gets to go first, and other facts about tonight's caucus', The Washington Post, 3 January 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-iowa-gets-to-go-first-and-other-facts-about-tonights-caucus/2011/08/25/gIQAJtygYP_blog.html

[56].      Iowa GOP, 'Convention dates', Iowa GOP website, viewed 29 February 2012, http://iowagop.org/

[57].      P2012, 'Nevada Caucuses', P2012 website, viewed 29 February 2012, http://www.p2012.org/chrn/neva12.html

[58].      K Rudin, 'South Carolina's role as GOP kingmaker', National Public Radio, 16 January 2008, viewed 29 February 2012, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18147641

[59].      M Scherer, 'Huckabee looks to South Carolina', Time Politics, 9 January 2008, viewed 29 February 2012, http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1701639,00.html

[60].      T Padgett, 'Courting the South's black vote', Time Politics, 17 January 2008, viewed 29 February 2012, http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1704568,00.html

[61].      Nevada Secretary of State, '2012 presidential caucus', Secretary of State website, viewed 29 February 2012, http://nvsos.gov/index.aspx?page=1017

[62].      Tampa Bay Host Committee 2012, 'Frequently asked questions', Tampa Bay Host Committee, p. 4, http://2012tampa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/1.23.12-FAQs.pdf

[63].      J Zeleny, 'Democrats pick Charlotte for 2012 Convention', New York Times, 1 February 2011, viewed 1 March 2012, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/democrats-will-meet-in-charlotte-in-2012/?partner=rss&emc=rss

[64].      United States Secret Service, 'National special security events', United States Secret Service website, viewed 5 March 2012, http://www.secretservice.gov/nsse.shtml

[65].      Republican Party, The Rules of the Republican Party, op. cit., pp. 33–8.

[66].      Democratic National Committee, Call for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party of the United States, 20 August 2010, pp. 13–16, viewed 5 March 2012, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/2010-08-20-DRAFT_2012_Call_for_Convention_8_19_10.pdf

[67].      Ibid., p. 16.

[68].      Charlotte in 2012, 'Nomination acceptance event', Charlotte in 2012 website, http://charlottein2012.com/events/special_celebration

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