March 4, 2008 / 2:59 PM / 12 years ago

FACTBOX: Presidential political terms

(Reuters) - Presidential politics has a language all its own. Here are some words that crop up regularly in the campaign:

NOMINATING CONVENTION - The party’s candidate for the November election is selected at a gathering of party representatives. The person who gets the majority of their votes is considered the nominee to face the other party in the general election. The Democratic convention will be held in Denver on August 25-28 and Republicans gather in Minneapolis-St. Paul on September 1-4.

DELEGATES - They are the ones who attend the conventions and select the winner. They are selected to represent all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

PLEDGED DELEGATES - Delegates who are committed to voting for a certain candidate at least through the first ballot at the nominating convention. Their numbers are based on how many votes that candidate got in a primary or caucus.

SUPER DELEGATES - A certain number of delegates at the conventions are set aside to be members of Congress, elected state officers and other leading party officials. They are not picked by primary or caucus and are not committed to any particular candidate, so they can back anyone they like.

PRIMARY - The manner in which many of the delegates are selected state by state. Voters cast ballots for their favorite candidate at polling places. Each state has different rules. Many primaries allocate delegates based on the percentage of the vote that the candidate gets, although some give all the state’s delegates to the person who ends up on top. Some primaries are limited to political party members; others are open to independents and sometimes the other party.

CAUCUS - Another way to pick delegates. This selection process involves the party faithful gathering at sites around the state to negotiate and divide the allotted number of convention delegates. The process varies from state to state and can be a tiny meeting of party insiders or big events like those in Iowa, which attract media coverage from around the world.

PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE - Often a party’s nominee is clear well before the conventions. But the process has to be formalized with a vote, so until they are, candidates are called the presumptive nominees. In the case of the Democrats, the winning candidate has to secure a simple majority of 2,025 votes by delegates and super delegates at the convention; the Republican candidate has to secure 1,191 votes.

Writing by David Wiessler; editing by Patricia Zengerle

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