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The delegate math in Colorado continues to evolve after the exit of Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday and new voting numbers in the Democratic primary, but Bernie Sanders still claims the largest share.

MORE: Bernie Sanders wins Colorado’s Democratic presidential primary, but late ballot surge may tighten race

The latest projections from The Colorado Sun — through 10 a.m. Wednesday — show Sanders’ double-digit win, with 36% support statewide, allowed him to claim the most delegates. The current projection shows the Vermont senator receiving 27 delegates.

Vice President Joe Biden is behind him with 17 delegates, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 13. 

Before he dropped out, Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, looked poised to claim the second most delegates at 15 — a tribute to his campaign’s district-by-district strategy and deep pockets in Colorado.

But he forfeits his initial five statewide delegates, and they are reassigned proportionally to other candidates. Sanders gained three delegates, Biden picked up one and Warren remained unchanged, The Sun’s projections show.

The Democratic Party’s rules stipulate that a candidate who exits the race after the vote but before the state convention is no longer eligible to receive statewide delegates. However, party rules also say Bloomberg will keep the 10 delegates he won at the congressional district level.

Those delegates can continue to back the candidate; align with Biden, whom Bloomberg endorsed; or support another candidate.

MORE: How Colorado will award Democratic delegates from the Super Tuesday primary, explained

In reality, Democratic rules allow all delegates to change their preference and no longer follow the Colorado vote totals. But the rules say they “shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments (of those) who elected them,” according to party Chairwoman Morgan Carroll, and if they break ranks, they could be replaced by an alternate to preserve the state’s preference.

In Colorado, Democrats assign 23 at-large delegates to candidates based on the statewide popular vote, but the bulk — 44 more — are apportioned in the state’s seven congressional districts. The fractured race — and the possibility of no candidate reaching a clear majority of delegates and a brokered convention — makes the spread of Colorado’s delegates that much more important.

To qualify for delegates at either level, a candidate must reach 15% support. And the congressional districts with greater concentrations of Democratic votes, such as those based in Denver and Boulder, will award the most delegates.

The Sun is projecting how many delegates each viable candidate will win based on preliminary results from state election officials. The numbers are more updated more frequently than other national projections, and the figures may differ from those released by the Colorado Democratic Party because of the timing of when the party’s numbers were updated.

This delegate counter is updated as new results are available. The projections below reflect results through 11 a.m. Wednesday.


Sandra Fish

Special to The Colorado Sun Twitter: @fishnette

Eric Lubbers

Eric Lubbers is the Chief Technology Officer and one of the co-founders of The Colorado Sun. A native of Yuma, Colorado, he writes The Sunriser newsletter in addition to handling most of the behind-the-scenes tech stuff. Email: eric@coloradosun.com...

John Frank

John Frank is a former Colorado Sun staff writer. He left the publication in January 2021.