The race for the 2020 Democratic nomination is officially in full swing. Following Iowa and New Hampshire, candidates continue their race to the convention with the Nevada caucuses on February 22. 
Between February and June 2020, all 50 US states and seven US territories will hold a Democratic primary election or caucus to allocate delegates to the candidates, which began with the Iowa caucuses on February 3. 
The Democratic nomination isn’t decided by who wins the most votes, but by which candidates receive the most delegates — people selected by each campaign from every state or district — to represent them at the Democratic National Convention, taking place July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
Here’s where the candidates stand right now:
Projected national delegate estimates from the February 11 New Hampshire primaries.
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
So far, only Iowa has announced tentative pledged national delegates to the convention, with the 24 pledged delegates from the February 11 New Hampshire set to be officially allocated soon, too. 
Decision Desk HQ in partnership with the University of Virginia Center for Politics estimates that Sanders and Buttigieg will win nine national pledged delegates each from New Hampshire compared to six for Klobuchar, with Biden and Warren picking up zero delegates from the state. 
The DNC has four states who vote early in every election cycle: Iowa on February 3, New Hampshire on February 11, Nevada on February 22, and South Carolina on February 29. While these primaries hold disproportionate importance in the process by going first, they only account for 4% of the total pledged delegates.
Democrats allocate most of their pledged delegates proportionally by legislative district, in addition to allocating at-large and PLEO (party leader and elected official) delegates based on the statewide vote breakdown. 
Most states allocate their delegates by congressional districts, but some, like Texas and New Jersey, use state legislative districts instead. 
While delegates are allocated proportionally, in nearly every state the minimum threshold to earn delegates is 15% of the vote. This means candidates must break 15% of the vote either at the district or state level to earn any delegates at all. 
Every state has a certain number of delegates to allocate, which is determined by a number of factors including how big the state is, how Democratic they lean, when they vote, and if they vote with their neighbors.
At the convention, a candidate will be nominated when a simple majority of 1,991 out of 3,979 total pledged delegates support a given candidate.
Fifteen states, the territory of American Samoa, and Democrats who live abroad are holding Democratic primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday, which takes place on March 3, allocating 35% of the total delegates on that date alone.
After Super Tuesday, primary dates get tactical, since states receive a delegate bonus for scheduling their primaries later in the cycle and holding their primaries on the same day as neighboring states. 
In general, states want to balance their role in narrowing the size of the field with having the final say on who wins by having the most possible delegates at the convention.
Some states — the ones on Super Tuesday — are willing to leave all the extra delegates on the table in order to get the first bite at the apple. Other states will wait until the last possible vote — smaller states like New Jersey and New Mexico — to gain outsized representation at the convention and potentially a shot at playing kingmaker.  
Sixty percent of delegates will be decided after the March 17 primaries, and after the April 28 “Acela primaries,” 90% of the total delegates to the convention will have been allocated, meaning we’ll have a pretty good idea of who is favored to win the nomination by that point. 
Read more:
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