From the complicated rules it looks to me like the Iowa story isn't going to be completely over anytime soon because

  • There's "redistribution" of the non-viable votes (below the 15% threshold) at the district conventions as well, to be held on April 25, 2020. So for example, Kobluchar who looks below 15% SDEs presently, but still winning some SDEs will send precinct delegates to these district conventions, but these will have to decide on that day (April 25) with whom they realign with. (see pages 25-27 in the rules)

  • A similar thing happens with the state-level (aka "at-large") delegates but on June 13, 2020. (pages 35-36).

(There are 27 district-level and 9 "at-large" delegates.)

So while SDEs are (or were) used to announced a/some winner(s), the actual delegates aren't fully decided based on the events (precinct caucuses) from February 3. Is this correct basically? I'm skeptical that I understood this correctly because I can find no media articles discussing the process beyond the precinct caucuses.

1 Answer 1


Yes, you're right. Actually it looks to me like there's a 15% threshold and realignment at every stage.

So we have

A. Iowa Caucuses on Feb 3rd. Each precinct uses a 15% viability threshold followed by realignment.

B. County Conventions on March 21st. Each county uses a 15% threshold followed by realignment. p.15. I assume the delegates selected here are called State-Delegate-Equivalents (SDE's)

C. District conventions on April 25th. 15% threshold followed by realignment. p.27. I assume the 27 district-level delegates are chosen here.

D. State convention on June 30. 15% threshold followed by realignment. p. 36. I assume this is for the 9 at large delegates, plus 5 PLEO (party leaders and elected officials) delegates.

I agree, the media never talks about all this.

  • 1
    Does this really mean that no candidate can "really" claim to be victor with X number of delegates until ** after ** June 30th?
    – BobE
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 5:28
  • Yeah, I missed the county conventions. Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 15:43
  • 1
    @BobE: Not really, because unless you have lots and lots of precinct delegates who, at the county level, end up below 15%, and realign to a single viable candidate - the overall picture will not change much. So the potential for changes from the aggregation of the precinct delegates to the final state-level delegates should not be very large.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 15:44

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