January 10th, 2008
11:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Unexpected wrinkle for Clinton in Michigan

Clinton is the only major Democratic candidate on the ballot in Michigan.

Clinton is the only major Democratic candidate on the ballot in Michigan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic leaders in Michigan are urging supporters of John Edwards and Barack Obama, who are not on the ballot in the state, to vote “uncommitted” in the January 15 primary – a move that could create an unexpected headache for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton is the only major presidential candidate who did not pull her name from the Michigan ballot after the national party penalized the state for scheduling the vote in mid-January, rather than later in the cycle.

The national party voted to strip Michigan of delegates as a penalty, but party leaders in the electoral-vote rich state have expressed confidence that they will be seated at the convention.

None of the candidates, including Clinton, will be campaigning here, and none have authorized write-in campaigns – which means that, under state law, their supporters cannot cast write-in votes for any of them.

But if at least 15 percent of the voters in a congressional district opt for the “uncommitted” option rather than voting for Clinton, delegates not bound to any candidate could attend the national convention – a development that could allow Edwards or Obama supporters to play a role in candidate selection there.

In this cycle, more than in recent campaigns, the delegate count may prove important. Narrow losses – which still add to a candidate’s delegate total – could keep more than one presidential hopeful in contention. “For the first time since 1988, this is a delegate race,” Clinton aide Howard Wolfson told reporters Wednesday.

A new group, Detroiters for Uncommitted Voters, is launching a grassroots campaign to promote the “uncommitted” option. The Detroit News reported Thursday that Democratic Rep. John Conyers and his wife, Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, said they will launch ads calling for "uncommitted" votes if there is no other way to register support for Barack Obama.

The option is also being endorsed by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, and the state’s Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer as a way for Democrats who do not support Clinton to participate in the vote.

Neither man has endorsed a presidential candidate.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. laden

    hillery clinton and bill clinton are very pleasant,attractive people,highly intelligent-can voice/ comment/ answer questions/ conversations unscriped. all traits i have witnessed the scripted staff on cnn. minus a few,,,lack. is this why the snarling, vicious attacks on hillery. o'reilly- rush limbaugh and sone republicans have character enough to question these vicious attacks on her laughter, emotions, cleavage, clothing, and likeability. where are your comments , questions display on cnn. film,network of barac obama. his muslim background,, racial hatred groups,, does not pledge allegiance to the the flag of the u.s.a.,, shown on your network. democratic candidates, hand over heart reciting the pledge. barack oboama last in line stands rigid arm, hands at side, mouth closed, hand off bible when sworn into state and u.s. senate,,,.. why, ask him why. what bible does he prefer.. who does he plege his allegiance to . why has he been able to propell over highly experienced cadidates.open the door to barack obama to what he does not want to hear ,,, not what you and he and your manager want to hear.

    January 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. denise

    Lets see what happens in the Jeb Bush state...he moved his primary date up also ...it was moved up a few weeks ago. All of this seems pretty Republican to me.

    January 15, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Barbara

    I am an independent. If Obama or Edwards want to get my vote, they will have to explain to my satisfaction why they pulled their names off the ballot in the Michigan primary. How can I expect them to "change" anything in Washington when their actions show that will do whatever the party orders them to do.

    January 16, 2008 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  4. kiki

    i need help

    January 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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