What is a super or automatic delegate?
They are uncommitted delegates usually made up of current or former party officials that are not committed to any particular candidate. Each state and American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands all have three super delegates (by my count, 56 x 3 =168 total Automatic delegates). All other delegates are awarded by states to candidates based on who wins a particular states primary or caucus.
Why could these delegates be important?
If it is a long and drawn out primary, where candidates are fairly close on the delegate count of delegates they have won in primaries and caucuses, these automatic delegates could play an important roll because they vote for who ever they want.
According to the site Democratic Convention Watch, Romney already has 10, Perry and Santorum have 1 each.
Here is the list at this point. These automatic delegates have been informally awarded based on their official endorsement of a particular candidate. So I guess it is assumed, come the convention, they will vote for that person
Richard Bennett ME
Jan Staples ME
Louis Pope MD
Joyce Terhes MD
Ron Kaufman MA
Holly Hughes MI
Saul Anuzis MI
Zori Fonalledas PR
Joseph Trillo RI
Betsy Werronen DC
Henry Barbour MS
Kim Lehman IA
You can see the super delegate by state HERE.
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