DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Dennis Kucinich urged supporters Tuesday to make Barack Obama their second choice in the Iowa caucuses, an unexpected boost in the closing days of this wide open race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Kucinich told backers to vote for him on the first ballot Thursday, but instructed them to support Obama if he did not reach the 15 percent threshold needed to be viable in the caucuses.
“I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his campaign. “This is an opportunity for people to stand up for themselves. But in those caucus locations where my support doesn't reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change.”
With Obama competing with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for every vote, Kucinich’s support could potentially be critical in Thursday night’s caucuses.
Kucinich did not fully endorse Obama, and said this statement only pertains to the Iowa caucuses, and only if he does not reach viability on the first ballot Thursday.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston