The Green Papers
2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions
Copyright Iowa Democrat
Presidential Nominating Process
Caucus: Tuesday 3 January 20121
County Conventions: Saturday 10 March 2012
District Conventions: Saturday 28 April 2012
State Convention: Saturday 16 June 2012
Delegate Votes
Hard TotalFloor Vote
Obama, Barack Hussein7,666  94.04%54.0  83.08%62.0  95.38%
Not Announced405   4.97% 3.0   4.62%
Others81   0.99%  
Uncommitted 11.0  16.92% 
Total8,152 100.00%65.0 100.00%65.0 100.00%

States Chronologically   States Alphabetically     Democratic Convention     Iowa Republican    
Iowa Primaries for Statewide offices and Congress
Iowa State and Local Government


The delegate selection processes herein was updated 2 January 2012 per the 2012 Delegate Selection Plan as of November 2011.

Iowa can schedule its first tier caucuses on Monday 6 February 2012. [Reference: 2012 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention: Rule 11.A.]


Tuesday 3 January 2012: Democratic Party Caucuses meet in each precinct at 6:30 PM CST. The caucus begins at 7p. Each Precinct Caucus chooses the precinct's delegates to County Conventions based on presidential preference (which, despite the media circus that quadrennially surrounds this event, is all that will be actually decided at these Iowa caucuses!).

NOTE: Estimates will, of course, be made by media outlets as well as by the campaigns of the presidential contenders themselves as to how many of Iowa's 65 National Convention delegates each presidential contender is likely to be ultimately be receiving as a result of the Iowa caucuses but, of course, since no National Convention delegates are actually being chosen by these caucuses, all such estimates will almost certainly, come the State Convention in June, be wrong!!

  • At each caucus, each presidential contender who fails to get at least 15 percent support among the participants in the initial balloting after a period of discussion will be considered "non-viable" and all supporters of such "non-viable" presidential contenders will then be required to join in the support of presidential contenders who have remained "viable". To determine the viability of a presidential contender, multiply the number of eligible caucus attendees by the percentages below and round to the nearest whole number. This is the minimum number of delegates needed for the contender to remain viable.
    • 50% (majority vote) for caucuses electing 1 delegate.
    • 25% (one quarter) for caucuses electing 2 delegates.
    • 16.66...% (one sixth) for caucuses electing 3 delegates.
    • 15% for caucuses electing 4 or more delegates.

Example. 57 people attend a caucus electing 3 delegates. The viability is 1/6th of 57 = 9.5 rounded which is 10. Say 29 people support candidate A, 19 support candidate B, and 9 support candidate C. Candidates A and B are viable since they have support of 10 or more of the attendees. Because candidate C did not receive the support of 10 attendees, those supporting candidate C must realign to another candidate. At this point, the attendees realign themselves so 34 support candidate A and 23 support candidate B.

The caucus will next choose the precinct's delegates to the Democratic Convention of the County in which the precinct is located (which is all, despite all the media hoopla, that will be actually decided at the Iowa caucuses!) who will be allocated in proportion to the percentage of the support each "viable" presidential contender received in the second round of balloting at the precinct caucus as of the time of its adjournment. (Estimates will, of course, be made by media outlets as well as the contenders themselves as to how many of Iowa's 65 National Convention delegates each contender will ultimately be receiving but, of course, since NO National Convention delegates are actually being chosen by these caucuses, all such estimates will almost certainly, in the end, be WRONG!!!)."

Continuing the example from above: For Candidate A: 3 (total precinct delegates) × 34 (supporters) ÷ 57 (total attendees) = 1.789 which rounds to 2 precinct delegates. Candidate B receives 3 × 23 ÷ 57 = 1.211 which rounds to 1 precinct delegate. Note: Due to rounding, the sum of precinct delegates may exceed the total number of precinct delegates allocated to the caucus. If this happens, round down the candidate with the smallest fraction. Candidates receiving 1 precinct delegate are not subject to this rule, that is, candidates cannot loose their only precinct delegate during this adjustment.

3 January 2012: "Statement from IDP Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky on tonight's Iowa Democratic Caucuses: Tonight's caucus successfully brought our supporters together, and we’re overwhelmed that more than 25,000 Iowans turned out to talk about the President's record .... We not only saw how excited Iowans are to support President Obama, but to also work for his reelection."

Based on the above statement, we are assigning all pledged delegates to President Obama.

President Obama received 98.46% of the delegates to the County Conventions while Other received 1.54%. 97.18% of the precincts reporting. Reference: Iowa Democratic Party

Here's how we estimate the delegate count on 3 January 2012 (Based on the number of delegates elected to the County Conventions at the Precinct Conventions. Note that zero national convention delegates are allocated during the Precinct Conventions - national convention delegates are first elected in April.):

  1. A candidate must receive 15% or more of the total State Delegates elected to qualify for National Convention Delegates. Discard State Delegates elected for those candidates who do not qualify.
  2. Allocate Congressional District delegates from the qualified State Delegates elected in each district. Allocate Pledged PLEO and At-Large delegates using the state-wide qualified vote.
  3. In each jurisdiction (CD and statewide):
    1. Total qualified State Delegates elected = total State Delegates elected for the qualifying candidates in the jurisdiction.
    2. Allocation = (delegates for the jurisdiction) × (candidate's State Delegates elected) ÷ (total qualified State Delegates elected).
    3. Assign each candidate the WHOLE NUMBER of National Convention Delegates.
    4. If National Convention Delegates remain, allocate each of the remaining delegates to those candidates with the LARGEST REMAINDERS.
Delegates  54  54   
Source: Iowa Democratic Party

Saturday 10 March 2012: Democratic Party County Conventions convene in each county. Each County Convention chooses the county's delegates to both Congressional District Conventions and the Iowa State Convention based on presidential preference. A mandatory 15 percent threshold is required in order for a presidential contender to be viable. Delegates assigned to a non-viable candidate will realign themselves to another candidate. Delegates are not required to align with the presidential preference that elected them at the caucuses.

  • County Conventions choose both the county's delegates to the Democratic Party Convention of the Congressional District of which the county is a part as well as the county's delegates the Iowa State Democratic Convention; each presidential contender receives a number of the county's delegates to each respective Convention (District or State) in proportion to the number of county convention delegates supporting said candidate.

Saturday 28 April 2012: Democratic Party District Conventions convene in each congressional district to choose the district's delegates to the Democratic National Convention. A mandatory 15 percent threshold is required in order for a presidential contender to be allocated National Convention delegates at the district level.

  • 35 district delegates are to be pledged proportionally to the number of district convention delegates supporting said candidate in each Congressional District:
    • CD 1: 10
    • CD 2: 9
    • CD 3: 8
    • CD 4: 8

The National Convention District Delegates are elected at the District Conventions.

Therefore, the very first time Democratic National Convention delegates from Iowa will be pledged to presidential contenders officially will be at these Saturday 28 April 2012 District Conventions!!


Saturday 16 June 2012: The Iowa State Democratic Convention convenes. The State Convention chooses 19 of the Iowa's Pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. A mandatory 15 percent threshold is required in order for a presidential contender to be allocated National Convention delegates at the statewide level.

19 delegates are to be pledged to presidential contenders based the support for the presidential contenders in the State Convention as a whole.

  • 12 at-large National Convention delegates
  • 7 Pledged PLEOs

The Pledged PLEO and At-Large National Convention Delegates are elected at the State Convention.

The remaining 11 National Convention delegates consist of

  • 11 Unpledged PLEO delegates:
    • 7 Democratic National Committee members.
    • 4 Members of Congress (1 Senator and 3 Representatives).
    • 0 Governors.
    • 0 Distinguished Party Leaders.

These 11 delegates and will go to the Democratic National Convention officially "Unpledged".

Only as of Saturday 16 June 2012 will ALL of Iowa's 65 Democratic National Convention delegates have been allocated: the estimates made re: delegate allocation as a result of the Iowa caucuses will likely not match the presidential preferences and pledges of the National Convention delegates as actually chosen because it is rather probable that the field of Democratic presidential contenders on Saturday 16 June 2012 will very well be quite different from the way that same field looked at the time the Iowa Precinct Caucuses had taken place way back in January!

Media reports indicate 588 delegates attended the convention.


On 20 October 2011, the State Central Committee of the Iowa Democratic Party unanimously voted to hold their 2012 Presidential Caucuses on 3 January 2012 at 7:00 pm local time. This is the same day as the Iowa Republican Caucuses. The previous date for the Democratic Caucuses was 6 February 2012.

Delegation to the National Convention

Iowa Delegation (as posted at, 20 August 2012)

Evan D AndersonCedar Rapids
Jan M BauerAmes
Carter BellWaukee
Elizabeth BennettMarion
Christina Blackcloud-GarciaTama
Marrita T BloughDavenport
Andrew P BockAmes
Kimberley K BoggusDes Moines
Leonard BoswellDes Moines
Alice C BoydDes Moines
Bruce L BraleyWaterloo
William BrauchDes Moines
Scott M BrennanDes Moines
Kai BrostClarksville
Bonnie BrownAnkeny
Sheilia L BurrageDavenport
Emma Lee ByrdWaterloo
Bob M CarrDubuque
Frank CownieDes Moines
Catherine Deshaies CristCedar Rapids
Chet CulverDes Moines
Robert E DvorskyCoralville
Susan M DvorskyCoralville
Mike Lee FitzgeraldWaukee
Dean A GenthMason City
Amanda A GlaserNew Hampton
Araceli GoodeNorwalk
Samuel GrayMarion
Michael E GronstalCouncil Bluffs
Ann K GuhinBettendorf
LaNore L GuilloryClinton
Devin GuilloryClinton
Steven R HaeckerDavenport
Thomas HarkinCumming
Jon E HeitlandIowa Falls
Donny HomanWindsor Heights
John R IvensDewitt
Patty JudgeWest Des Moines
Michael J KiernanDes Moines
Riley J KilburgBellevue
Linda LangstonCedar Rapids
John M LesterDavenport
Dave LoebsackIowa City
Mary Lee MadisonWest Des Moines
Paula MartinezCarlisle
Quiana M McKenzieAmes
Tom MillerDes Moines
Antonio MontoyaClive
Andrea M NemecekCedar Rapids
Michael T NewellUrbandale
Tyler OlsonCedar Rapids
Sandy OpstvedtStony City
Robert L ParksWest Des Moines
Marty ParrishClive
Sally PedersonDes Moines
Kevin PerkinsDavenport
Chris C PetersenClear Lake
James PetersonDes Moines
Carline PhillipsWaukee
Roy C PorterfieldCedar Rapids
Sara L RileyCedar Rapids
Nancy RileyMarion
Patricia E RitchieWestside
Andrea M RiveraDes Moines
Dennis M RosemanIowa City
Jen L RowrayNewhall
Margreet J RyanDubuque
Harley A SchiefferAltoona
Robin L SchwartzAmes
Kathy SparksUrbandale
Lila P.M StarrClive
Sharon S SteckmanMason City
Alan L SteckmanMason City
R.R.S. StewartDubuque
Dillon ThinerGraettinger
Jorge ValenciaW. Des Moines
Tammy WawroDes Moines
Kim A WeaverSheldon
Susan E WebsterDes Moines
Peggy WhitworthCedar Rapids
Jamie P WoodsDavenport

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1 Democratic Party's "First Determining Step" of the delegate selection process.


  Election 2012 - Presidential Primary, Caucus, and Convention Home  
  Presidential Candidates  
Rule Making and Process
  30 December 2009 - Democratic Change Commission's Recommendations for the 2012 Presidential Nominating Process  
  20 August 2010 - Democratic National Committee approves 2012 Call To Convention and Delegate Selection Rules  
  6 August 2010 - Republican Temporary Delegate Selection Committee's Recommendations for the 2012 Presidential Nominating Process  
  States Alphabetically  
  Events Chronologically  
  Major Events Chronologically  
  Democratic "First Determining Step" Chronologically  
  Chronological Cumulative Allocation of Delegates  
  Weekly Delegate Distribution and Availability  
  Democratic Pledged and Unpledged Summary   --   Republican Pledged and Unpledged Summary  
  Democratic Hard and Floor Summary   --   Republican Hard and Floor Summary  
Delegate Allocation
  Democratic Quick Reference   --   Republican Quick Reference  
  Democratic Detailed Delegate Allocation   --   Republican Detailed Delegate Allocation  
  Democratic Delegate Selection and Voter Eligibility   --   Republican Delegate Selection and Voter Eligibility  
  Primaries at a Glance  
  Historical Analysis of the Presidential Nominating Process  
  Historical Analysis of the apportionment of delegate votes at the National Conventions of the two major parties  
  Primary/Caucus/Convention Glossary  
  Statutory Election Information of the Several states / Presidential Primary  
  Dates of PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES re: selection and/or allocation/distribution of Delegates to Major Party National Conventions  
  Major Third Party (Constitution, Green, Libertarian) Presidential Nomination Process  
  Straw Polls