Despite Nevada for the Republicans and South Carolina for the Democrats, the presidential campaigns are shifting their attention to Super Tuesday, the quadrennial event when several states all vote on the same day. Hundreds of delegates are at stake on both sides as Republicans have fourteen contests and Democrats thirteen. Some have even dubbed this year’s Super Tuesday, to be held March 1, the SEC Primary because many of the states involved are in the Southeastern Conference.
Several candidates will have home-field advantages on Super Tuesday. Senator Bernie Sander’s home state of Vermont and Senator Ted Cruz’s of Texas are voting that day. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s former home state, Arkansas, will be voting.
Super Tuesday is significant as the large amount of contests and delegates typically allows one candidate to begin pulling away. Super Tuesday is one of the major tests of a candidate’s campaign and infrastructure as there are simultaneous events and the candidate cannot focus all their time in one state as previous contests allow. In 2012, former Governor Mitt Romney won most of the states, pulling ahead as the frontrunner. In 2012, Romney won over 200 delegates while in 2008, Senator John McCain won over 500. However, the rising tide does lift all boats in the sense that almost all candidates get some sort of delegate boost.
Super Tuesday also makes a difference in terms of momentum. If Sanders loses South Carolina, as he is expected to do, he will need another win to show he can compete against Clinton. Cruz will also be looking for a win to regain momentum after a disappointing third place finish in South Carolina. For Governor John Kasich, it is an opportunity to remind people of his candidacy. Kasich placed second in New Hampshire, but then did not compete heavily in South Carolina.
Super Tuesday also represents Rubio’s best opportunity to secure a win after finishing third, fifth, and second, respectively. He has touted his Iowa and South Carolina finishes as relative victories, although pundits wonder when/if he will get an actual win. For the frontrunners, Super Tuesday is an opportunity to move forward in securing the nomination. Strong performances by Trump and/or Clinton would allow them to continue their dominance and weaken rivals. Trump has won two of the three contests and placed second in Iowa. Opponents wonder what state, if any, will he do poorly in.