February 19th, 2008
03:21 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: Some superdelegates may be shut out

Florida and Michigan’s superdelegates have been penalized, too.
Florida and Michigan’s superdelegates have been penalized, too.

(CNN) - The superdelegates going to the Democratic convention in Denver at the end of the summer include all the elected Democratic governors, senators, and representatives. Right? Wrong.

Michigan’s Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, is not a superdelegate. Neither are Sen. Carl Levin or congressmen John Conyers and John Dingell. The same is the case for Florida’s Democratic senator, Bill Nelson. He won’t be a superdelegate. Neither will representatives Robert Wexler or Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

That’s because Michigan and Florida moved up their primaries into January, before the February 5 Super Tuesday schedule. That broke party rules, and as a result, the Democratic Party stripped them of their pledged and unpledged delegates. The superdelegates are unpledged - meaning they can support any candidate they want.

Thus, the 795 superdelegates at the Democratic convention do not include the 28 who would have come from Michigan and the 22 who would have come from Florida. That could change only if party leaders reconsider their decision.

There is talk of organizing caucuses in both states if the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains deadlocked going into May and June. Organizing full-scale primaries is much more difficult and much more expensive. Hillary Clinton hasn’t done well in caucuses so far.

At the same time, however, she and her supporters believe they can still win those big states. They did “win” the most votes during the January primaries even though none of the candidates could campaign there and Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan.

I suspect we will see caucuses in Michigan and Florida if this race remains unresolved. That is possible. The Democratic Party big shots would prefer that to a brokered convention on the floor in Denver.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: superdelegates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Ron

    Sorry Wolf...

    Hillary did not "win" any votes in MI and FL because there wasn't an election. More SLEAZY Clinton politics....

    Only a "redo" will set the record straight.

    GO OBAMA

    February 19, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. Robert Lee

    It is absurd to think that allowing Super Delegates paradigm to exist is going to increase the chances that one man one vote democracy ever become a reality in national elections. This concept is more along the lines of the vote early, vote often oligarchy concept.

    February 19, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Gillis

    LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY FOR THOSE HILLARIANS AMONG US.
    IF OBAMA IS LEADING WITHOUT MI AND FL, AND IF COUNTING THEIR VOTES AS IS WILL NOT GIVE IT TO HILLARY, THEN WE WILL ACCEPT THEM. AUTHERWISE, HILLARY MUST BE LEADING FOR THOSE STATES TO BE ACCEPTED AS IS. So go out there and campain to win fair. The game is still on. If you win fair, we will all join you in the general elections. If not fair, then wait for the Macain democrats. we are here millions strong.

    MI and FL. DID THIS TO THEMSELVES BY MOVING UP THEIR PRIMARY. THE RULE IS THE RULE.

    February 19, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Mike J

    Where was all of this outrage when the decision was first made. Why didn't the citizens go to their state govenrment and ask that they move the primary back to Super Tuesday when it would count.

    People in Fla and MI had plenty of time to try an force a change before the days came to vote. People are just made now because the person they want to win isn't winning.

    If people would have showed the anger and outrage back then, maybe their votes would count now.

    February 19, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Gin

    Come on, CNN, can't you just report fair and balanced news? Everything you report is so biased in favor of Obama. Everything you say about Hillary is negative. Even Jack Cafferty no longer is worth listening to...he used to have original thoughts...now he just panders to the Obama hype. So sad.

    February 19, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Suki

    I cannot believe that Lisa Caputo can sit there and answer your questions with a straight face – talk about spin for Hillary – last week she had the nerve to say Hillary won both Florida and Michigan and therefore should get the delegates even though it was the state democratic parties that bucked the national democratic party to move up their primaries – face you move up the primaries – you lose the delegates – now she says Hillary is not forgetting some states in order to concentrate on the big ones of Texas and Ohio – please – she represents why this Democrat who would love to see a woman in the White House is not buying into the Clinton machine and will vote Obama

    February 19, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Republican

    Guess the democrats still haven't figured out democracy.

    February 19, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. AutoDude

    So first Obama says he'll seat the delegates if he's the nominee, then he advertises here even though he's not supposed to. Then he gets creamed in the Florida primary by Hillary who didn't spend a dime in the state. Now he's complaining Hillary wants to seat the delegates.

    Why is he such a whiner?

    February 19, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. David

    Break the rules lose your rights. Rules and regulations are there for a purpose, both states took a chance and gambled and lost, now they pay the price of not behaving.

    Superdelegates have been aroun forever but it don't make right and probably should have never been set up. It's the vote of the people that win not the "good old boys" politics.

    It sure shows you what Clinton is all about thou doesn't it ? She's losing and only wants the delegates to count because there in her favor! What next if she don't get her way, is she then going to take her marbles and quit or just whine and cry some more? I bet she sits there stomping her feet saying, "But but but it's not fair".

    February 19, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Roz, IL

    i do think that something should be done to count the votes in MI and FL, but the hillbilly and her supporters way of just handing them over is not the answer. hold another primary,caucus or mail-in i don't care, but make it fair. the talk of disenfranchizing voters is fair game but what about the voters that didn't vote bc they knew the votes wouldn't count. yeah, every vote needs to count but not by lying,cheating and/or stealing them.

    February 19, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. Concerned Voter

    This mess in Florida amazes me.

    In 2000, the Democrats went to court in Florida demanding that every vote was counted fairly with each vote being properly recorded after the Presidential election.

    Now in 2008, those same Democrats are disenfranchising the Democrat voters of Florida and saying that their votes won't count towards determining the Democrat Candidate for President.

    Those Democrats sure are hypocritical. They say and do whatever they feel is necessary to move their socialist agenda forward.

    February 19, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Bill from Florida

    Wolf

    If the votes will not count for the election for Democratic delegates in Florida and Michigan-then the number of delegates allotted for these two states should NOT be included in the total number of 2025 that are needed for nomination. If these numbers are NOT included–either Obama or Clinton should reach the magic number before the Democratic convention in August.

    February 19, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Binod

    You are wonderful as always.

    February 19, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. dick, WI

    On Fox News Sunday gov. Strickland of Ohio, a Hillary supporter said the Rules Committe in FL and MI would fix this. That the "rules" of the Rules committee is that they can now change the "rules".
    Boggles the mind.

    February 19, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. Y. TAYLOR

    THOSE STATES SHOULD REMAIN AS THEY ARE NOT COUNTED UNLESS THERE IS A WAY TO ACTUALLY LET THE STATES VOTE ( OR REVOTE) KNOWINGTHAT THEIR VOTES WILL ACTUALLY BE COUNTED. I HAVE HEARD OF AND KNOW OF INDIVIDUALS WHO SIMPLE DID NOT VOTE FEELING THAT THERE WAS NO POINT TO DOING SO IF THEIR VOTE WAS NOT EVEN GOING TO BE CONSIDERED LET ALONE COUNT. NO HILLARY CLINTON DID NOT TRUELY WIN THESE STATES. HOW COULD SHE HAVE? NO CAMPAIGNING WAS DONE IN THESE STATES AND ONE OF THEM Michigan )DID NOT HAVE ANY OTHER CANDIDATE ON THE BALLOT BUT HER NAME . THER WAS NO CHOICE.

    February 19, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Teresa

    Hi Jack,

    I thnk when someone is punished for misbehaving, they should
    bear the consequences. If children were left off so easily as they
    grow and learn, it would take them a long time to follow rules and
    regulations.

    Besides, it may be Florida's first feeling of what it feels like to not have their vote count. Washington State is like that in every election. Last to vote and not enough delegates to make a huge difference.

    The only fair way to count Florida is to split their delegates to help
    either Hillary of Barack reach the 2, 025 goal. This is not just because I am a Sen. Obama fan, but because as a parent, I have three sons
    who abide the law and know that if they do something wrong they
    have to face the consequences.

    Teresa King
    Washington State

    February 19, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. joe

    WOLF,

    I AM A FLORIDIAN....AGAIN, OUR VOTES ARE NOT BEING COUNTED

    AND THIS TIME FROM OUR OWN PARTY!!!!!

    IF OUR VOTES ARE NOT COUNTED, MANY OF US WILL START

    DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    WE HAD ONE OF THE LARGEST VOTER TURNOUTS IN FLORIDA

    OUR VOTES SHOULD COUNTED OR DNC WILL BE SORRY

    IN GENERAL ELECTION

    February 19, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. Julz, Grand Haven, Michigan

    I'm a Michigander and feel let down by both the State legislature (for getting us in this mess without asking the opinion of the people) and the DNC for deciding that millions of people won't have their voices heard.

    At least in Florida, all candidates were on the ballot. But in Michigan, the Democratic ballot was a joke.

    We have open primaries in MI, so many people who would normally have voted Democrat decided to vote in the Republican primary instead because there were more options (not to mention, that their votes would actually count, albeit less than they normally would).

    Saying that Clinton 'won' Michigan is very misleading. Would Clinton really have 'won' Michigan if Obama's name was on the ballot? Maybe, maybe not. We'll never know.

    Either do something so our votes will count or don't seat any of our delegates (including superdelegates). Don't seat delegates without really knowing who the people would have chosen.

    My greatest fear: MI and FL will, either by addition or omission, decide who's on the ballot come November. Either way, the losing candidate will have a valid reason to gripe for years to come.

    But the end result is that the DNC has alienated a heck of a lot of voters and we won't forget that any time soon.

    February 19, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Mariann Pepitone

    A.Macaulay: I don't think you understand the concepts of this election. What did Obama ever do for America. He was born in Hawaii, went to Indonesia and live with his relatives in Kenya until he was about 12. Came to America, went to college, became a drug addict and a boozer, and an attorney for a crooked businessman, campaigned for senator but play some dirty pool on the lady that was running against him so he could win. Now what do you call that doing? Get real and face realtiy about this candidate. He is a liar, fake and can't create a speech of his own. How would he ever run the country. With the help of Kennedy and Kerry who probably are looking for favors because he doesn't have the integrity.

    February 19, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. bea

    So Happy had a point about disenfranchised voters in two state. But, only Hillary was on the ballot in FL. If there was a 'do over' in Florida, it would be interesting to see the results with both names on the ballot.

    I don't like even considering that the DNC might change their minds 'after the signature is on the paper'. That would be a breach of contract to the Florida voters.

    Would you accept a contract where the information you signed for was changed 'after the fact'. I don't think so

    February 19, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. Bryan Stewart

    I just want to know why. WHY did Florida and Michigan feel it was so necessary to move up their primary dates???? Super Tuesday is early enough!!!! Personally, I think Super Tuesday should include ALL the states in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. Look at all the DRAMA that has ensued since...was it so important to be a couple of weeks ahead of 22 other states? I believe in holding the states accountable for breaking party rules. I just hope voters don't feel that their vote in the general election doesn't count, just because their state legislature wanted to glorify the importance of their own state. I've seen comments from the people of Michigan and Florida that say they feel disenfranchised because the D party won't count their votes...DON'T BLAME THE PARTY! BLAME YOUR STATE CONGRESS!

    February 19, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. bea

    PS...didn't the individual 'super delegates' have their individual vote counted in their home state? If so, how come they get two votes?

    February 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Amy

    I am from Michigan, and it is my firm belief that the outcome of our primary does not in any way reflect the true intentions of our voters. I voted "uncommitted" in the primary to show my support for Senator Obama, whose name was not on the ballot. Most voters I know chose to stay at home, knowing full well that not only was Senator Obama's name not on the ballot, but also that our delegates would not be seated. To call this a "win" for Clinton is ridiculous, as would be seating our delegates. I would love for our voices to be heard, through another primary or caucus. In the future, the Democratic National Party should find another way to punish state party officials, and not the voter.

    February 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. arie

    I envision that the whole issue of non-pledged delegates will be revamped after the election, but its too late for this period. People may not like but the rules are very clear eventhough it seems very authocratic and undemocratic – these 'super-delegates' can vote as they see fit, even to those who have dropped out. Like in tight race 1984 mondale vs hart almost all superdelegates went to mondale. The issue of exclusion of florida/michigan is to say the least strange-whats in a date? and no compromising position of committee-but think this can't be reversed in any way; a caucus is only a halve hearted approach/ time line issue another. Its very unfortunate but for the 2 candidates the only approach is hoping that the superdelegates vote for one of them. In a way not ideal, but gives a great suspense; in a tight race sometimes a jury have to decide the outcome.

    February 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. Mike

    Sure Obama would love to caucus in Florida for he does well in caucuses. If there is a debate however he tends to have problems; unless however he speaks anothers words. Give Hillary her delegates, she earned them! Florida has spoken!

    Go Hillary!!

    February 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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