Influence, money, delegates: Here’s what’s so super about Super Tuesday

What makes Super Tuesday so special?  After all, presidential candidates will have heard from four states by the time March 3 rolls around.

For starters, Democratic presidential hopefuls need 1,991 delegates to secure the party’s nomination. Nearly 70% of them are up for grabs on Super Tuesday.

With 14 states, one territory and Democrats Abroad voting on March 3 and 1,357 delegates at stake, it’s the closest thing Democrats have to a national primary. It paints the clearest picture of which candidate is appealing to a diverse audience, not just a particular wing of the party.

In half of the early-voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire, voters tend to be less diverse and more rural.

With a mix of white and non-white voters, Nevada offers the first true glimpse into the minds of minority voters.

And South Carolina’s Democratic Party is bolstered by its large number of black voters, who aren’t traditionally as liberal as other voting groups.

About three quarters of the 50 states in the east and center of the country were already voting as polls began opening at 6:00 am (1100 GMT) for the day-long ballot. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images)

But on Super Tuesday, many southern states, who share the same ethnic makeup of South Carolina, are in play. Texas and its large number of black and Latino voters is the grandest southern prize with 228 delegates.

More liberal states like California and Colorado will also hit the polls.

The four early-voting states are extremely protective of their status as early voters. The Democratic Party reinforces their claims by preventing other states from scheduling their primaries or caucuses in February.

Ideally, the earlier a state votes, the more influence it wields in the nomination process. And candidates are more likely to visit those states and spend more on ads there.

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By the time Californians headed to the polls in June 2016, the nomination process was nearly over. Despite offering the largest number of delegates, Golden State voters could only affirm what the rest of the country had already decided, not set the tone themselves.

This year, California has opted to move its primary voting to Super Tuesday and 415 delegates are in play.

Super Tuesday serves as a make-or-break moment for a lot of candidates. If they fail to gain a significant number of delegates, their path to the nomination becomes more difficult.

Donors will likely start supporting stronger candidates. And struggling candidates may feel pressured to drop out, endorse a front-runner and start the process of unifying the party.

Three candidates are vying for delegates in their home states this go-round: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).

Here’s a breakdown of how many delegates each state, the American Samoa and Democrats Abroad are bringing to the table on March 3:

Alabama - 52 pledged delegates

Alabama holds an open primary. Fifty-two pledged delegates will be awarded on a proportional basis. The state has nine unpledged delegates (superdelegates).

Arkansas - 31 pledged delegates

Arkansas has an open primary with 31 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has five unpledged delegates.

California - 415 pledged delegates

California holds a semi-closed primary. Only Democrats and unaffiliated voters are allowed to cast a ballot to determine the proportional allocation of its 415 pledged delegates. The state has 79 unpledged delegates.

Colorado - 67 pledged delegates

Colorado’s semi-closed primary will award 67 pledged delegates on a proportional basis. Only registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters can cast ballots. The state has 13 unpledged delegates.

Maine - 24 pledged delegates

Maine holds a semi-closed primary that awards 24 pledged delegates on a proportional basis. Only registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters can cast ballots. The state has eight unpledged delegates.

Massachusetts - 91 pledged delegates

Massachusetts holds a semi-closed primary that awards 91 pledged delegates on a proportional basis. Only registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters can cast ballots. The state has 23 unpledged delegates.

Minnesota - 75 pledged delegates

Minnesota holds an open primary, with 75 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has 16 unpledged delegates.

North Carolina - 110 pledged delegates

North Carolina holds a semi-closed primary that awards 110 pledged delegates on a proportional basis. Only registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters can cast ballots. The state has 12 unpledged delegates.

Oklahoma - 37 pledged delegates

Oklahoma holds a semi-closed primary that awards 37 pledged delegates on a proportional basis. Only registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters can cast ballots. The state has five unpledged delegates.

Tennessee - 64 pledged delegates

Tennessee holds an open primary, with 64 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has nine unpledged delegates.

Texas - 228 pledged delegates

Texas holds an open primary, with 228 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has 33 unpledged delegates.

Utah - 16 pledged delegates

Utah holds an open primary, with 16 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has six unpledged delegates.

Vermont - 16 pledged delegates

Vermont holds an open primary, with 16 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has eight unpledged delegates.

Virginia - 99 pledged delegates

Virginia holds an open primary, with 99 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. The state has 25 unpledged delegates.

American Samoa - 6 pledged delegates

American Samoa holds an open caucus. Six pledged delegates will be allocated proportionally to the results of the caucus. The territory has five unpledged delegates.

Democrats Abroad - 13

This is an open primary in which any U.S. citizen living abroad who is a member of Democrats Abroad can participate, with the 13 pledged delegates being awarded on a proportional basis. This program offers four unpledged delegates.

FOX News contributed to this report. This story was reported from Atlanta.