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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary Hangs Tough - DFA Begins Super-Delegate Fight

George Wenschhof

Final delegate numbers take a little while to figure out due to the complicated and questionable manner the Democratic party awards delegates to the candidates. The current totals as listed by are Obama - 1272, Clinton - 1231
The numbers indicated by state in the above are still 10 delegates short in Maryland and 2 short in D.C. and will be added when they are known.

Although Senator Clinton has now lost 8 primaries/caucuses in a row she is still neck and neck with Senator Obama with only 41 delegates separating them and 2025 needed in order to win the nomination. One of the ways she has done this is she is leading in the super delegates allocated by state with 242 to 156 for Obama.

In addition to the two-step proportional way (congressional district and total vote) in which delegates are won by Democratic candidates, approximately 797 delegates are super delegates. As everyone is now beginning to understand, these delegates are elected officials, party officials and party activists in each state and are "won" by the candidate and their staff securing their commitment.

There are still about 400 super delegates up for grabs and campaign officials are busy working the phones talking to the party elite in the remaining states. Reportedly, former President Bill Clinton has been extremely effective in securing commitments of these super delegates on behalf of his wife Hillary.

Democracy For America (DFA) has now joined in the discussion surrounding super delegates and today they sent out the following email to their membership:

This is an unprecedented year. Thirty-seven states and U.S. territories have already voted and we don't have a clear nominee. Senators Clinton and Obama are in a delegate race to the nomination.

There are a lot of ways that delegates get assigned to a specific candidate, but almost all of the allocated delegates are directly tied and bound by the actual votes in each primary or caucus -- all of them that is, except super-delegates.

Super-delegates are a contingent of almost 900 elected officials, party insiders, and current DNC members and they aren't required to follow the voters. In fact, after every Democrat has voted and the last allocated delegates are assigned, super-delegates have the power to overturn the popular vote and crown a different winner.

That's right, if super-delegates don't like who you choose to be our nominee, they can overturn your vote. We can't let that happen. Our nominee must be chosen by Democratic voters, not by back room deals of the party elite. Sign our petition now to let the voters decide:

We must respect the 20 million Democrats who have already voted and the millions more who will vote before the convention. It's up to us to make sure the almost 900 super-delegates do the right thing.

Sign the petition today and we'll deliver all of the signatures directly to super-delegates.

And this is just the beginning of our campaign to let the voters decide. The longer it takes to win, the more we'll escalate the campaign. We'll write letters, make calls, and hold media events. Because when it comes to protecting the will of Democratic primary voters, DFA members know exactly where we stand.

Thank you for taking action today.


Charles Chamberlain
Political Director

This is an influential organization with a very large membership. Their decision to weigh in on this process will have an impact. The Democratic National Committee chaired by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is also coming under increased heat pertaining to their decision to sanction both Michigan and Florida. The stripping of the votes from these states for failing to abide to their primary schedule has in effect, disenfranchised the voters in these two states the democrats must win in November. As long as the delegate count stays close between Obama and Clinton, look to see the pressure get ratcheted up for do-over primaries in these states.

Now it's on to Hawaii - 29 delegates and Wisconsin - 92 delegates next Tuesday February 19th where Obama is expected to do well. Then there is a short break until March 4th when Ohio - 161, Texas - 228, Vermont -23, and Rhode Island - 32 hold their primaries. Here is where Clinton is planning to do well and halt the momentum Obama has gained. Stay Tuned!


Anonymous said...

RCP includes Michigan and Florida. Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, and therefore gets no delegates from it. Florida, there was no campaign. While I believe that delegations from those states will eventually be seated, I believe that it won't be in current form. I believe that Michigan will hold a caucus in May to allocate delegates (which is what the DNC wants) and that Florida's delegates will be allocated based on the national popular vote.

So you can't really count those two states. Without Michigan and Florida, Obama has about a 115 vote lead--which is slim but significant. It'll be extremely difficult for Hillary to overtake Obama in elected delegates.

Anonymous said...

If you click on the link to in the post you will see that while they list both states, Michigan and Florida, they do not show any delegate count from them for either candidate. The total delegate count indicated is by RCP is similiar to what CNN and AP is reporting.

Anonymous said...

While neither Clinton nor Obama campaigned in Florida I think it is interesting that even knowing the votes "would not count" people still opted to go to the polls. Both Clinton and Obama were on the ballot. Clinton came way out ahead for people who made the effort to vote in a show of support.

And as far as I can tell the Obama campaign in MN did not encourage people to go to the caucus and participate in the caucus process and all that it entails. People were told to just go and vote and leave. Many people showed up and actually "voted the presidential preference" but did not do anything else to participate. Something just doesn't set well with me on that count.

Fred in Minnesota