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The 2012 Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses were the process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Ar ...
in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. President
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American presi ...

Barack Obama
won the Democratic Party nomination by securing more than the required 2,383 delegates on April 3, 2012 after a series of
primary election Primary elections, often abbreviated to primaries, are a process by which voters can indicate their preference for their party's candidate, or a candidate in general, in an upcoming general election, local election, or by-election. Depending on t ...
s and
caucus A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement. The exact definition varies between different countries and political cultures. The term originated in the United States, where it can refer to a meeting of m ...
es. He was formally nominated by the
2012 Democratic National Convention The 2012 Democratic National Convention was a gathering, held from September 3–6, 2012, at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which delegates of the Democratic Party nominated President Barack Obama and Vice Presiden ...
on September 5, 2012, in
Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte () is the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont region, it is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population was 885,708, making it the 15th-mos ...
.


Primary race overview

The general expectation was that, with President
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American presi ...

Barack Obama
having the advantage of
incumbency The incumbent is the current holder of an office or position, usually in relation to an election. For example, in an election for president, the incumbent is the person holding or acting in the office of president before the election, whether s ...
and being the only viable candidate running, the race would be merely
pro forma The term ''pro forma'' (Latin for "as a matter of form" or "for the sake of form") is most often used to describe a practice or document that is provided as a courtesy or satisfies minimum requirements, conforms to a norm or doctrine, tends to be p ...
. Vermont senator
Bernie Sanders Bernard Sanders (born September8, 1941) is an American politician who has served as the junior United States senator from Vermont since 2007 and as U.S. Representative for the state's at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007. He is ...

Bernie Sanders
reportedly considered challenging Obama in the primaries but decided not to run after then-Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid Harry Mason Reid (; born December 2, 1939) is a retired American attorney and politician who served as a United States Senator from Nevada from 1987 to 2017. He led the Senate's Democratic Conference from 2005 to 2017 and was the Senate Majority ...
talked him out of it. Several of the lesser-known candidates made efforts to raise visibility. Some
Occupy movement The Occupy movement was an international progressive socio-political movement that expresses opposition to social and economic inequality and to the lack of "real democracy" around the world. It aims primarily to advance social and economic justice ...
activists made an attempt to take over the Iowa caucuses, and got about 2% of the vote for Uncommitted. With nine minor candidates on the ballot in New Hampshire, there was a debate at
Saint Anselm College Saint Anselm College is a private Benedictine liberal arts college in Goffstown, New Hampshire. Founded in 1889, it is the third-oldest Catholic college in New England. Named for Saint Anselm of Canterbury (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 11 ...
in
Goffstown, New Hampshire Goffstown is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 17,651 at the 2010 census.United States Census BureauU.S. Census website 2010 Census figures. Retrieved March 23, 2011. The compact center of town, where ...
on December 19, 2011, in which seven candidates participated.
Pro-life Anti-abortion movements, also referred to as pro-life movements, are involved in the abortion debate advocating against the practice of abortion and its legality. Many anti-abortion movements began as countermovements in response to the legaliza ...
activist
Randall Terry Randall Allen Terry (born 1959) is an American activist and political candidate. Terry founded the anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue, which he later abandoned. The group became particularly prominent beginning in 1987 for blockading the ...
bought time on television in order to show graphic commercials denouncing
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or "spontaneous abortion" and occurs in approximately 30% to 40% of pregnancies. Whe ...
. Three candidates – other than Obama – who had been on the ballot in New Hampshire were also on the ballot in Missouri. One such candidate, Randall Terry, attempted to air graphic TV commercials during
Super Bowl XLIV Super Bowl XLIV was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champions New Orleans Saints and the American Football Conference (AFC) champions Indianapolis Colts to decide the National Football League (NFL) champ ...
, but was met with resistance from various TV stations in some locations. The
Democratic National Committee The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the governing body of the United States Democratic Party. The committee coordinates strategy to support Democratic Party candidates throughout the country for local, state, and national office, as well as ...
also tried to stop the ads by claiming that Terry was not a legitimate Democratic candidate even though he was legally on the ballot. A number of partisans of
Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories In response to the conspiracy theories, the White House released copies of the President's long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011, and posted an image of it to the White House website, reaffirming that he was born on August 4, 1961, in ...
, challenging the legitimacy of Obama's
birthright citizenship ''Jus soli'' ( , , ; meaning "right of soil"), commonly referred to as birthright citizenship, is the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship. ''Jus soli'' was part of the English common law, in contrast to ...
, attempted to have the President's name removed from the Georgia primary ballot. A state administrative judge upheld a
subpoena A subpoena (; also subpœna, supenna or subpena) or witness summons is a writ issued by a government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of s ...
, which was ignored by the President and his staff. In February 2012, the activists' legal challenge was rejected by a Georgia state law judge and by the
Secretary of State of Georgia The Secretary of State of the U.S. state of Georgia is an elected official with a wide variety of responsibilities, including supervising elections and maintaining public records. The office has had a four-year term since 1946. Before 1880, the s ...
, and Obama remained listed on the primary ballot. On May 8, 2012,
Keith Russell Judd Keith Russell Judd (born May 23, 1958) is an American convicted criminal and perennial candidate for political office. His nicknames include "Dark Priest"Dana MilbankRichard Mourdock and Keith Judd vs. Washington ''The Washington Post'', May 11, 20 ...
, an inmate serving a 17.5-year sentence, won 41% of the primary vote in West Virginia against incumbent
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American presi ...

Barack Obama
, a higher percentage of the vote in one state than any other primary opponent of Obama had hitherto achieved in 2012. Shortly thereafter, attorney John Wolfe, Jr. won 42% of the primary vote in Arkansas after widespread speculation that Wolfe could possibly pull off an upset of the state. Challengers to President Obama only qualified for the ballot in eight states – New Hampshire, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Alaska – while a ninth (Ohio) was going to have Randall Terry on the ballot, but removed his name before the ballots were printed. Randall Terry also attempted to contest the Kansas caucus, but was denied a spot on the caucus ballot after the state's Democratic Party determined that he didn't meet the requirements. Darcy Richardson suspended his bid for the nomination on April 28, 2012. He still appeared on the ballot in Texas and was an eligible write-in candidate in California after suspending his campaign. Four states canceled their respective Democratic primaries altogether, citing Obama being the only candidate to qualify on their respective ballot: Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Virginia. Despite the limited opposition and ultimately receiving 100% of the pledged delegates, Obama's total percentage of the national popular primary vote was the lowest of any incumbent since the contested Republican Party presidential primaries, 1992, 1992 election when George H. W. Bush was challenged by Pat Buchanan.


Candidates

Obama was on the ballot in all states, where he ran mostly unopposed. In addition to Obama, the following table lists those candidates that attained ballot status in at least one state, as well as those states that listed "Uncommitted" or "No Preference" as an option:


Counties carried

       
     


Candidates gallery

File:President Barack Obama, 2012 portrait crop.jpg, President of the United States, President
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American presi ...

Barack Obama
(Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2012, campaign) File:No image.svg, Perennial candidate and prisoner
Keith Russell Judd Keith Russell Judd (born May 23, 1958) is an American convicted criminal and perennial candidate for political office. His nicknames include "Dark Priest"Dana MilbankRichard Mourdock and Keith Judd vs. Washington ''The Washington Post'', May 11, 20 ...
of Texas File:Randall Terry 2.jpg,
Pro-life Anti-abortion movements, also referred to as pro-life movements, are involved in the abortion debate advocating against the practice of abortion and its legality. Many anti-abortion movements began as countermovements in response to the legaliza ...
activist
Randall Terry Randall Allen Terry (born 1959) is an American activist and political candidate. Terry founded the anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue, which he later abandoned. The group became particularly prominent beginning in 1987 for blockading the ...
of West Virginia

website
File:LG PICs 2 002.JPG, Author Darcy Richardson of Florida
website
File:No image.svg, Perennial candidate and 2010 Democratic US Senate nominee Jim Rogers (Oklahoma politician), Jim Rogers of Oklahoma File:Vermin Supreme 2012.jpg, Performance artist Vermin Supreme of New Hampshire
website
File:John Wolfe, Jr.jpg, Attorney and perennial candidate John Wolfe Jr. of Tennessee
website


Delegate allocation

The number of pledged delegates allocated to each of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. is based on two main factors: (1) the proportion of votes each state gave to the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential elections, and (2) the number of electoral votes each state has in the United States Electoral College. In addition, fixed numbers of delegates are allocated to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Democrats Abroad under the party's delegate selection rules. Depending on each state's law and each state's party rules, when voters cast ballots for a candidate in a presidential caucus or primary, they may be voting to actually award delegates bound to vote for a particular candidate at the state or national convention (''binding'' primary or caucus), or they may simply be expressing an opinion that the state party is not bound to follow in selecting delegates to the national convention (''non-binding'' primary or caucus). States are awarded bonus pledged delegates if they schedule their primary or caucus later in the primary season. Those states with April dates are awarded a 10 percent increase, while those who schedule from May 1 to June 12 get a 20 percent increase. And starting on March 20, a 15 percent bonus is awarded when clusters of three or more neighboring states begin on the same day. The unpledged superdelegates included members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, Senate, state and territorial List of current United States Governors, governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, and other party leaders. Because of possible deaths, resignations, or the results of intervening or special elections, the final number of these superdelegates was not known until the week of the convention. Some delegates committed to candidates other than the President were not permitted to be elected in contested primaries for administrative reasons.


Calendar


Primary schedule

The date for the first determining step for election of pledged delegates, is listed for each of the 56 constituencies. Northern Mariana Islands caucuses were only organized for 2012 Northern Mariana Islands Republican caucuses, Republicans and not for Democrats in 2012. * - Unopposed # - Primary Canceled ; Notes # Florida's legislature set the date for its primary on January 31, violating the scheduling guidelines of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DNC has since declared Florida's primary as nonbinding, and therefore an alternate delegate selection system consisting of county caucuses will now take place on May 5, followed by a state convention in June. # Randall Terry collected 18% of the votes, winning twelve counties, in the Oklahoma primary, qualifying him for seven delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Jim Rogers collected 13% of the votes, winning three counties, qualifying him for three delegates (one from each of three congressional districts where he collected over 15%).


State results

;New Hampshire A Democratic presidential candidates debate, held at
Saint Anselm College Saint Anselm College is a private Benedictine liberal arts college in Goffstown, New Hampshire. Founded in 1889, it is the third-oldest Catholic college in New England. Named for Saint Anselm of Canterbury (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 11 ...
in December 2011, was attended by seven candidates; Obama did not participate. A total of 60,659 votes were cast in the primary. Obama won with 49,080 votes. The total votes cast were more than 30 percent fewer than in 1996, the last time that a Democratic president ran for re-election without significant opposition. As is typical in New Hampshire primaries, there were a number of write in votes for politicians from the other party. ;Oklahoma ;Louisiana ;Missouri ;Arkansas


See also

*United States presidential election *
2012 Democratic National Convention The 2012 Democratic National Convention was a gathering, held from September 3–6, 2012, at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which delegates of the Democratic Party nominated President Barack Obama and Vice Presiden ...
*Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012


References

{{Barack Obama 2012 United States Democratic presidential primaries, Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign