March 10th, 2008
01:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: How superdelegates are making up their minds

Candidates suggest the race will continue beyond March 4th.

Candidates suggest the race will continue beyond March 4th.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s now clear that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough elected or pledged delegates to guarantee the presidential nomination.

Even if you add Michigan and Florida makeover primaries to the equation, neither is going to reach the magic number required for the Democratic nomination - which would increase with the addition of both states - with strictly pledged delegates. They will require superdelegates to put them over the top.

Undecided superdelegates will have to make a critical decision. Even decided superdelegates are in play – they are, of course, also allowed to change their minds. We have seen some high-profile switches in recent weeks. They, too, could be in play.

How should the superdelegates make their decision? What factors should they consider?

Some will naturally tend to go along with the candidate who has won the most pledged delegates. Right now, that looks like Obama.

Others will go with the candidate who has won the most popular votes across the country. Right now, that’s Obama but it could become Clinton after all the upcoming ballots are counted, especially if there are makeover contests in Florida and Michigan.

Some superdelegates will be inclined to support the candidate that carried his or her congressional district or state.

Yet other super delegates will look to the specific states that the two candidates have won and ask which candidate has the best chance of beating Republican John McCain in the fall. Clinton’s advisers point out that she has won the biggest states with the most Electoral College votes, including New York and California. That, they say, would bode well for her against McCain.

I have spoken with several undecided superdelegates in recent days, and most of them tell me they will eventually pick the candidate they believe has the best chance of beating McCain and helping other Democrats increase their majorities in the House and Senate.

What do you think? Do you agree with them?

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: superdelegates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Nunya

    The job of the superdelegates is to support the candidate whom they think is best able to win in November. Any of them who think that the person who comes out behind in popular vote and delegates is the choice for that are complete morons – regardless of which one that ends up being. To go against the results of the primaries so squarely would cause a backlash the likes of which they've never seen before.

    March 10, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Monique

    Why fight it – it was said by men many years ago "A womans place is in the house"


    March 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. CB

    Hillary Rodham Clinton rolled her campaign to her stronghold state of Pennsylvania today, sidestepping a direct presence in Mississippi ahead of its primary Tuesday. I hope the so-called little state superdelegates are paying attention that Hillary only has a taste for directly campaigning in BIG STATES. Senator Obama has shown that all states are worthy of his attention as a presidential candidate. "Change You Can Believe In-OBAMA 08!"

    March 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Vern Schulze

    The reason for the entire operation and the convention is to pick the best candidate to beat the Republican nominee. I have no doubt that Barack Obama is the candidate most likely to be McCain. First, the arguments about who has the most experience is a crock. None of them has the experience as a executive, much less, the Chief Executive. Second, a better measure of who should be president is who makes the best decisions. Looking back on the terms of both Hillary and J. McCain it is hard to find dozens of votes/decisions that turned into disasters. At least Sen. Obama can say he didn't support the Iraq invasion. Third, Sen. Obama, has shown he can bring independents and even some republicans to vote for him. Sen. Clintons supporters appear to be largely long term Dem. party voters who are not likely to vote for the Elephants no matter who runs. So, I think it is pretty clear who has the best chance of rescuing the country from incompentent incumbent.

    March 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Stop Teaching

    Wolf, it is simple: 2025 OR Super Delegates

    You want to use CNN to teach the Super Delegates what they should do, and now?

    You want to say no Super Delegates and now?

    March 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |

    For what Spitzer did Hillary Clinton should not be able to use him as a Superdelegate.

    March 10, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Brandon

    There are competing arguements as to who is more electable. I beleive Obama's is stronger, but thats not what Im arguing this post. Im arguing that he only need to convince 1/3 of the remaining superdelegates of this. Seems to me an easy task considering all the excitement he has created and the consequences of disenfranshising his supporters (of which is the most loyal democrat voting block, blacks). I don't think she has a chance.

    March 10, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. lee

    The sure way to get me to vote Republican is nominate Hillary Clinton!

    March 10, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Paul

    What would the delegate count look like if the superdelegates, as you suggested, followed the voting of their states or districts? Who would benefit more?

    March 10, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Danny

    Hey Wolf,,,Maybe they should just start counting papaer ballots ,,,remember those!!! Im really listening to all the canidates ,but does my vote really count,,,Danny

    March 10, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. LIz in ATL

    Wolf, Obama has the proverbial 'coat tails' that other Democrats can ride to office...he has the momentum; clarity; brings in new voters and raises the most money – he is the 'superstar' of choice – Hillary has peaked in the party.

    March 10, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Rick

    These s are misleading works about the superdelegates, skirting the reality of what is going on. And that is why CNN is ; Not the most trusted name anymore, and it used to be. And not the best political team on tv. And here is why;

    CNN has to be deliberately distorting the SD facts -or- has become absurdly shoddy in its work. Obama's scored a delegate victory this past week despite Clinton's wins last Tuesday. Not only did he win Texas in total delagates, but much more than that, and still has the momentum. Those are the mathematical facts. Please check this Wolf, Cafferty and all:

    All the super delegates who announced the last six days their endorsements:


    1. DNC Carol Fowler (SC), 3-4-08
    2. Mary Long (GA), 3-4-08
    3. Roy LaVerne Brooks (TX), 3-4-08
    4. Rhine McLin (OH), 3-5-08
    5. DNC Jane Kidd (GA), 3-5-08
    6. DNC Darlena Williams-Burnett (IL), 3-5-08
    7. DNC Connie Thurman (IN), 3-6-08
    8. Rep. Nick Rahall (WV), 3-6-08
    9. DNC Teresa Benitez-Thompson (NV), 3-6-08
    10. DNC Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker (CA), 3-7-08
    11. Rep. Bill Foster (IL), 3-9-08
    12. DNC Mary Jo Neville (OH), 3-9-08


    1. Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), 3-6-08
    2. DNC Mona Mohib (DC), 3-6-08
    3. DNC Aleita Huguenin (CA), 3-7-08
    4. DNC Mary Lou Winters (LA), 3-8-08

    So that's an 8-delegate advantage for Obama.

    As for the elections:

    Obama Clinton
    OH 66 75
    RI 8 13
    VT 9 6
    TX 99 94
    WY 7 5

    Total 189 193

    That gives Obama a four-delegate victory since last Tuesday. Add the four delegate gain out of California after that state's vote was certified, and we're up to 8 delegates for Obama. Throw in the four delegates Clinton lost in California, and that's 12 delegates for Obama. Today we had DNC member and super delegate Everett Sanders of Mississippi endorsing Obama, so make that 13 delegates for Obama.

    So officially, Obama has a 13-delegate advantage for the week even before Mississippi votes tomorrow. Throw in the unpledged delegate in Wyoming who will certainly be an Obama delegate, and unofficially, Obama notched a 14-delegate gain in this "week from hell" for him.

    Please tell the truth on your broadcasts – it is important. And you might regain the trust of those who used to feel that way. Rick Mc

    March 10, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Pat M Canada

    Well you know as someone from the outside looking in – none of these three candidates do Americans justice! None of them have the qualities or experience to the lead a Nation.

    So I really feel Americans choice is one that must pick the less of the evils among the three. And that is very sad as that won't elect the Best Candidate for the Position.

    March 10, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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