Joe Biden won at least 117 delegates in last week’s New Jersey Democratic primary, with Bernie Sanders in line to win four district delegates and six more contests too close to call.
Biden currently leads Sanders statewide by an 85.86% to 13.72% margin, giving the former vice president and presumptive nominee a sweep of New Jersey’s 28 At-Large and 15 Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) delegates.
In contests for 84 district delegate seats in 20 delegate districts, Biden has won 74 of the seats.
Sanders needed to win 15% of the vote in a delegate district to claim at least one delegate, and looks to have done so in four of the state’s 20 delegate districts.
Delegate districts are the combination of two legislative districts.
Sanders is at 18.9% in delegate district 11 (LD-23 and LD-24), 17.6% in delegate district 16 (LD-31 and LD-33), 16.8% in delegate district 16 (LD-33 and LD-36), and 16.4% in delegate district 14 (LD-25 and LD-26). Those should give him four delegates.
He is also narrowly ahead in a bid for two additional delegates: Sanders is at 15.4% in delegate district (LD-10 and LD-30); and 14.2% in delegate district 10 (LD-18 and LD-19).
There are four other delegate districts where Sanders could possibly win one delegate each, depending on the counting of provisional and curable ballots: he’s at 14.4% in delegate district 20 (LD-39 and LD-40); 14.2% in delegate district 7 (LD-11 and LD-13); 14.0% in delegate district 9 (LD-16 and LD-17); and 14.0% in delegate district 19 (LD-37 and LD-38).
Still, the hurdle to pick up enough votes to hold Biden under 85% in those race may be an extraordinarily tough hurdle.
The New Jersey Democratic State Committee will select which of the Sanders delegate slate gets seated, according to state party spokesman Phil Swibinski.
“Preference will be given to ensuring gender balance within the state’s delegation and to meeting diversity goals in the areas of race, age, sexual identity and other identity factors,” Swibinski said.
The Democratic State Committee will meet remotely on July 23 to elect the At-Large and PLEO delegates, before some election results are certified.
“If the results of district delegate primary elections are altered due to vote by mail ballot defects being cured, we will make any necessary adjustments to delegate selections to reflect the certified results of the primary election,” Swibinski said.
The state party could take the preferences of the Sanders campaign into consideration, although delegate selection rules don’t require them to do so.
In delegate district 11, for example, where Sanders appears entitled to one of three delegates, it’s possible that the seat will go to Patricia Campos-Medina, Sanders’ New Jersey campaign co-chair.
That means the state party will need to decide which members of the Biden delegate slate will get cut.
But if the state party instead picks Sanders candidate Aaron Hyndman as the delegate, then Regrut would be out.
The delegate selection process is particularly complicated. Read the New Jersey Globe’s guide to how N.J. Democrats pick their national convention delegates for a primer.
District delegate candidates who ran on the Biden slate and were displaced by Sanders receiving enough delegates to be viable remain eligible to seek an At-Large or possible PLEO seat next week.
It’s not immediately clear if some of the delegate candidates who filed in March, before the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, no longer have an interest in serving.
Harrison W. Lavelle is a New Jersey Globe Summer Fellow for 2020.