EDITOR’S NOTE: The 8th Congressional District presidential caucus reported the incorrect name of the first female delegate for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The story has been updated with the corrected information.
Democrats in the 8th Congressional District turned out in record numbers to choose delegates who could represent any one of four presidential candidates at this summer’s national convention.
The 100-plus Democrats from Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, Mercer and Preble counties represent an “unprecedented grassroots energy in the Democratic Party throughout Ohio, and here in the 8th Congressional District,” said Brian Hester, caucus coordinator and chairman of the Butler County Democratic Party.
Ohio’s 16 Democratic Party caucus events Tuesday, including one at the Wilks Center at Miami University Regionals Campus in Hamilton, are an early step for Democrats to name a presidential nominee at the convention in Milwaukee, Wisc. Who will actually attend the convention from July 13 to 16, won’t be known until after the March 17 primary.
The Democrats’ delegate-voting process is a complex mathematical formula as it includes 89 congressional district-level delegates and 47 other types of pledged delegates. It also includes 17 automatic delegates, commonly referenced as superdelegates.
But Democrats say their proportional delegate process is fairer and more representative over the Republican Party’s “winner takes all” process. After the March 17 primary, the winning Democratic candidate in each congressional district will earn delegates, but so can candidates who receive at least 15 percent of the district-level vote.
So if the winning candidate earns 50 percent primary vote within the 8th Congressional District, he or she will receive two district-level delegates. The top-elected male and female delegates for that candidate will go to Wisconsin. Any other candidate who receives at least 15 percent of the vote is eligible to receive at least one of their 8th Congressional District delegates.
If only one candidate receives more than 15 percent, then they will earn all four of their congressional district-level delegates.
Only four presidential candidate campaigns participated in the 8th Congressional District’s caucuses Tuesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden had by far the most people caucusing for his candidacy over Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Each caucus elected two men and two women to potentially represent their candidate.
If a non-participating candidate wins the 8th Congressional District vote, or a candidate eligible to receive a delegate did not participate Tuesday, a post-primary caucus will be held.
Congressional district-level delegates are part of the 136 pledged delegates that will cast first-round votes at the Democratic National Convention this summer. The other 47 pledged delegates, who are party leaders, elected officials and other political insiders, will be selected and cast votes based on statewide totals.
Ohio will also have 17 superdelegates, who are Ohio’s members of Congress, current and former national politicians, and political insiders. They are free to support whichever candidate they wish, but can only vote if there’s not a nominee named after the first round of voting.
Pledged delegates are released from commitments if a nominee isn’t selected after the first round of voting.
Brittany Maloney, of West Chester Twp., was one of the two female delegates for Biden.
“This is important for me because we need young people representing our party, and we need the young voices at the table,” she said.
Middletown business owner Steven Hightower said it’s “important this year, more than ever, we pull our forces together to bring this country back to where it should be, and where it always has been — a great country, once again.”
Hightower, the owner of Hightowers Petroleum, has been active in politics for decades, and while he’s not a politician, or even political, he said there’s a correlation between business and politics. He said President Donald Trump’s economic policies are negatively impacting his business.
“I think the entire economy is being affected entirely and I think we have to do something about it,” he said. “I’m not an activist, I’m a businessman … and being active and knowledgeable is much more important because then you know where the future of your business is going if you understand the political environment that you live in.”
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