What Is Super Tuesday?

List of States That Vote on Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday Voting
Super Tuesday 2020 was held on March 3, 2020.

Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images News

Super Tuesday is the day on which a large number of states, many of them in the South, hold their primaries in the presidential race. Super Tuesday is important because a large number of delegates are at stake and the outcome of the primaries can elevate or end a candidate's chances at winning their party's presidential nomination later in the spring.

Super Tuesday 2020 was held on March 3, 2020. Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden emerged with the most number of delegates on Super Tuesday 2020, thrusting both toward their eventual nominations at that year's conventions in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The number of states participating in Super Tuesday varies the year of each presidential election, but the results of this voting tend to be significant in the general election.

Why Super Tuesday Is a Big Deal

The votes that are cast on Super Tuesday determine how many delegates are sent to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to represent their respective candidates for the presidential nominations.

More than a quarter of the Republican Party's delegates were up for grabs on Super Tuesday 2020, including the top prize of 155 delegates in Texas. More than a fifth of the Democratic Party's delegates were up for grabs that day.

In other words, more than 800 of the 2,551 total Republican delegates to the party's national convention were awarded on Super Tuesday. That's half the amount necessary for the nomination—1,276—up for grabs in a single day.

In the Democratic primaries and caucuses, more than 1,500 of the 4,750 Democratic delegates to the party's national convention in Milwaukee were at stake on Super Tuesday. That's nearly half of the 2,375.5 needed for the nomination.

Super Tuesday Origins

Super Tuesday originated as an attempt by southern states to win greater influence in the Democratic Party's primaries. The first Super Tuesday was held in March 1988. 

List of States Voting on Super Tuesday

The number of states holding primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday 2020, 14, was larger than in the previous presidential election year. Twelve states held nominating primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday in 2016. 

Here are the states that held primaries on Super Tuesday 2020, followed by the number of delegates at stake for each party:

  • Alabama: 50 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 61 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Arkansas: 40 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 36 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • California: 172 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 494 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Colorado: 37 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 80 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Maine: 22 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 32 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Massachusetts: 41 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 114 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Minnesota: 39 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 91 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • North Carolina: 71 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 122 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Oklahoma: 43 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 42 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Tennessee: 58 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 73 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Texas: 155 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 261 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Utah: 40 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 35 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Vermont: 17 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 24 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary
  • Virginia: 48 delegates at stake in the Republican primary, 124 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary

Democrats Abroad

In 2020, the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary began on Super Tuesday and went to March 10. There were 17 delegates at stake in this Democratic primary for U.S. citizens living abroad.

View Article Sources
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  2. Hadley, Charles D., and Harold W. Stanley. "Super Tuesday 1988: Regional Results and National Implications." The State of American Federalism, vol. 19, no. 3, summer 1989, pp.19-37.

  3. "Who's Winning the Presidential Delegate Count?" Bloomberg Politics, 25 July 2016.

  4. "Democratic Delegate Rules, 2020." Ballotpedia.

  5. "2020 Republican Presidential Nomination." 270toWin.