Superdelegates and the fight for the nomination

Before I start writing about my new obsession of superdelegates I want to introduce my blog 2008 Democratic Convention Watch. DemConWatch was started in 2005 by Matt on the day Howard Dean announced that the 2008 convention would be held in late August.

From that point on he built the blog into the place to go for information on the convention. Living in Denver I was an avid reader before joining as a contributer last month.

Matt and I would like to thank Jerome for inviting us and look forward to following the race to the convention with everybody here.

If you had asked me about superdelegates a couple months ago I probably would have looked at you with a blank stare. After a solid month of living with my 796 best new friends I feel like I should have some kind of degree in superdelegatology.

A superdelegate has the ability to vote for any candidate whereas regular delegates are selected in support of a candidate. There are 796 superdelegates in this cycle (Michigan and Florida not included).

Superdelegates as of late haven't been much of a factor in deciding the nominee. With the primary season we're seeing this might change. If we're still looking at a close race after Super Tuesday the importance of superdelegate endorsements will increase dramatically.

As of today superdelegates are made up of the following people:
DNC members, all Democratic members of Congress, all Democratic Governors, all former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee. The official list won't be finalized until March 1st. - Democratic Convention Website

Now for our bread and butter. Matt and I thought it would be good to know exactly who the superdelegates are and have a list of their endorsements. After searching for a couple hours I was only able to find a list of congressional endorsements on The Hill.

We created our Superdelegate Endorsement List and shortly followed up with our list of Superdelegates who haven't made an endorsement.

Unlike the "major media" we don't just throw out numbers without backing them up. We will only show an endorsement if we can find a press release or news article that backs it up.

Even with this rule in place we are still managing to stay close and even exceed some of the big media. We are tracking how our superdelegate endorsements compare as well as having two delegate trackers (which aren't nearly as nice looking as the ones here). The first shows delegate and superdelegate tallies without including Florida and Michigan. Our second tracker includes Florida and Michigan. This gives the reader the choice whether to count Michigan and Florida or not. You know, "We Report, You Decide"? Except in this case, we mean it.

We'll be posting updates and more information on how the delegates and superdelegates work in the coming weeks.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention, Hllary Clinton, John Edwards, superdelegates (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Re: Superdelegates and the fight for the nominatio

There is also the matter of election of national committee members. At each state's Democratic convention, those DNC members will be up for election. In the unlikely event of a brokered convention or prolonged nomination fight, the support of state chairs and other DNC members could be crucial.

But I don't think it will come to that.

by Dave Sund 2008-01-18 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Superdelegates and the fight for the nominatio

Correct.

There are still 76 add-on superdelegates that have not been named yet.

by Oreo 2008-01-18 09:35AM | 0 recs
thanks for your work

but do you really think these endorsements are meaningful? Won't all the superdelegates jump on the bandwagon of whoever ends up winning most of the February 5 states?

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-18 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: thanks for your work
Probably.
But if it's not a blowout and it's still close there will still be a couple of bandwagons to jump on.
by Oreo 2008-01-18 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Superdelegates and the fight for the nominatio

I hope the Obama supporters are okay with you posting two scenarios, one with FL/MI and one without.  They sure thought it was the outrage of the century when Jerome did the same with the delegate counter.

by Steve M 2008-01-18 09:45AM | 0 recs
What happened to Obama's campaign promise?

After blowing a huge lead in New Hampshire the Obama campaign was very cocky in their claim the next day that they would very soon cut into Clinton lead among superdelegates.

David Plouffe offered:

"We expect to see a great deal of movement to Obama from superdelegates in the coming days, seriously eroding the Clintons' existing advantage in this universe."

At the time the superdelegate count stood at 163 for Clinton, and 64 for Obama.   As of yesterday that count stood at 168 for Clinton to 75 for Obama.

Now what do you call a great deal of movement?   I think it was Jerome who wondered here on the front page if that meant camp Obama would cut the lead in half herhaps.

So was the Obama campaign just speaking out its ass?   I doubt that.  Or did some who they were confident they had on the hook say "lets wait and see" after Obama blew New Hampshire?

At any rate I think it is hard to argue that there has been any large movement to Obama, or serious eroding of Clinton's lead.

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-18 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: What happened to Obama's campaign promise?

I think they've done a really good job of rolling these out and extracting the maximum amount of momentum at the right time, notwithstanding that it's actually not that many endorsements.  But yeah, that promise was definitely overblown, even though there was some diary a couple days later demanding that Jerome eat crow.

by Steve M 2008-01-18 01:23PM | 0 recs
Obama needs to eat crow

My guess is before New Hamshpire they though theyhad a lot more on the sidelines that they could announce and a lot of those probably said, "lets wait a while."

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-19 04:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Superdelegates

Hillary has a 100 super d lead at the moment according to AP. That is not small potatoes.

by robert ethan 2008-01-18 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Superdelegates

Its also far from being a huge deal when you consider how many Super Delegates have not cast their lot in with any candidate yet. It is also important to point out that they CAN change their minds.

by JDF 2008-01-18 11:39AM | 0 recs
Russ Feingold filets John Edwards.

This is what Feingold thinks of Edwards. Talk about a man who has gotten a free ride:

http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dl l/article?AID=20080117/APC06/801170560 1036

"The one that is the most problematic is (John) Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war ... He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.

When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn't, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you're playing the game in Washington and another way when you're running for president, there's some of that going on."

by markg8 2008-01-18 01:04PM | 0 recs
All these primaries and caucuses only make up

61% of the total delegates, IIRC.  

That means 39% are superdelegates.  That seems reallt unfair to me.  It means, mostly, that anyone but Hillary needs to beat Hillary by a LARGER margin than she needs to beat her opponents because everyone assumes that she will suredly get a large amount of these supers no matter what.

Am I correct, Oreo???

by jgarcia 2008-01-18 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: All these primaries and caucuses only make up

Well, it's certainly not very democratic.  But if you keep it in historical perspective, it really hasn't been that long since people like you and me would have had NO say in the process.  So I mean, opening up the party's selection process to regular voters at all was a pretty big step.  It's understandable that the party insiders weren't going to give up ALL their power, and as time goes by they'll probably be forced to give up more and more of it.

by Steve M 2008-01-18 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Not correct

796/4049 (without MI and FL) is 19.6%. They are ~39% of the delegates needed to nominate, but I think that's a misleading number, as it assumes that they will all vote the same way.

by msn1 2008-01-18 01:27PM | 0 recs

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