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OpinionColumnistsMark Chiusano

How many delegates for Bernie Sanders in New York?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks on the Senate

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks on the Senate floor at the Capitol in Washington on March 25. Credit: AP

The New York State Democratic party will officially appoint delegates to the presidential convention at an Aug. 4 meeting of the state committee, party chairman Jay Jacobs told The Point on Thursday. 

But Jacobs said he hasn’t been informed yet as to what the exact percentage will be of delegates for former Vice President Joe Biden vs. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

The Democratic National Committee’s delegate system is complex, and features changing rules and different caches of delegates. One group of delegates is allocated proportionally to high-performing primary candidates statewide, and Jacobs said that Sanders’ pre-primary withdrawal made him not technically eligible for that group. But the Sanders campaign has been vocal about wanting to gain delegates and influence the party platform ahead of the 2020 election. So in the spring, the campaigns agreed that Sanders would have some number of those delegates anyway — an expression of “unity,” Jacobs said. 

It’s a tricky dance but an important one for both campaigns, given the animosity between some Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters that still lingers from the 2016 DNC convention. This time around, Sanders’ influence is a bit more visible in Biden moves on issues like climate. 

But part of the delegate and influence fight is a bit more mathematical: another cache of delegates is awarded by congressional district, according to DNC rules, which stipulate that a candidate must clear at least a 15% threshold in a congressional district to earn a delegate there. 

The Point analyzed just-completed Nassau and Suffolk vote counts, and the only place where that appears to have happened on Long Island or in the Long Island portions of districts was in CD2, where Sanders cleared the 15% by just a fraction. 

The district, which straddles pieces of Nassau and Suffolk counties, is currently represented in Congress by Republican Pete King.