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Bernie Sanders hopes latest win sways superdelegates

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles during a campaign rally at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

With his major win in Wisconsin Tuesday night, Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is hoping to ride that win streak to overtake Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's home state of New York, and convince some of the so-called Democratic superdelegates to consider backing him.

"I think that a lot of these superdelegates are going to be looking around and saying which candidate has the momentum," Sanders said in his victory speech, after various news networks called the vote in his favor.

RELATED |Superdelegates face tough choices if Sanders winning streak continues

When you look at the superdelegate count so far, the numbers overwhelmingly favor Clinton over Sanders at 469 to 31, according to the Associated Press. Superdelegates from states that Sanders has won handily -- like Washington State -- have decided to throw their support to Clinton. That has prompted some political headlines and Sanders supporters to call the Democrats' process "Un-Democratic."

"It's not meant to be democratic. It's meant to allow political leaders to have electoral interests and judgement to have some influence on the process," says David Lublin, Professor of Government at Washington, DC's American University.

Democratic Superdelegates are usually part of one of three categories: elected officials - such as members of Congress or governors, notable party figures - such as former presidents, or leaders in Democratic Party affiliated organizations. There are 712 in the 2016 cycle and they control 15% of the nominating process. They are also able to change their minds between now and this summer's convention Philadelphia.

According to the Associated Press, Clinton holds a commanding delegate count right now at 1,748 versus 1,058 delegates for Sanders. But remove the superdelegates, and her lead shrinks at 1, 279 versus 1,027. Democrats need 2,383 delegates in all to secure the nomination. There are 1,977 delegates - including superdelegates - still up for grabs for the remainder of the primary election cycle.

Experts like David Lublin point out, however, that any perception on the part of the voters of superdelegates throwing the election one way or the other, away from the voting numbers, could cause a lack of voter support for the eventual nominee in the general election.

But he also notes, "Just as in any sport this is the way the rules of the game have been set up and gets to get played."

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the race, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) bested Businessman Donald Trump in Wisconsin's GOP Primary contest Tuesday, and the delegate count game has been a focal point throughout that race.

So far, Donald Trump is in the lead with 743 delegates. Cruz is second at 517 and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) a distant third at 143. There are still 769 delegates at stake for the remainder of the Republican primary process. Some of them are so-called "uncommitted delegates" - party establishment leaders whose roles mimic that of Democratic superdelegates. They are fewer in number, but they could play a bigger role in choosing the GOP's nominee should no nominate make it past the 1,237 delegate threshold before their convention this summer in Cleveland.

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