WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have won their parties’ Iowa caucuses.
But their victories have little tangible value in the delegate race — which will ultimately determine which two candidates will face off in November.
While a win in Iowa can help craft a narrative of momentum as the nomination process takes its winding turns across the country, the state offers precious few of the thousands of delegates who will pick the nominees at party conventions this summer.
On the GOP side, Iowa offered up 30 of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. On the Democratic side, Iowa accounts for 44 of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the party’s nomination.
And with the complicated way delegates are divvied up based on caucus results in both parties, neither caucus winner came away with a commanding number of delegates.
The 28% of the caucus vote Cruz captured earned him eight delegates. That’s just one delegate more than the seven delegates both second-place finisher Donald Trump and third-place finisher Marco Rubio received.
And Clinton’s slim victory earned her 22 delegates to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 21.
Clinton also starts with a big leg up on Sanders in the delegate race, thanks to a group of people called “superdelegates.”
Superdelegates include President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, Democratic National Committee members and prominent former Democratic leaders.
With endorsements from nearly every Democratic member of the House and Senate, along with almost every Democratic governor, Clinton begins with more than 350 superdelegates, according to a CBS News estimate.
And given Sanders has been an independent, not a Democrat, for the entirety of his more than 25 years in elected office, he’s unlikely to win over a large portion of those Democratic officials, who have longstanding relationships with Clinton.
After Iowa, the race now heads to New Hampshire for the Granite State’s Feb. 9 primary — which offers 20 delegates for Republicans and 24 for Democrats.