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. Another Steve

    It's interesting when Clinton advocates the change bandwagon yet didn't pull her name as other candidates did in support of the party. Is this a demonstration of how she works together with others? I expect as the date draws nearer this will become a much bigger issue.

    January 10, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Jack K.

    John Edwards is the only clear alternative to the Republican morons.

    He intends–convincingly–to represent all America.

    Even the organizations/companies who sponsor lobbyist's must be happy about this–mabye they can save a little on on "off-account" political expenses in Washington for a few years.

    Because truly–when they come knockin–with Edwards they 'll get the same reception and response as everybody else.

    Wish I could say they same about ALL of the other candidates for President.

    January 10, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Ray, Collingswood NJ

    More Female bashing with in our own party.

    January 10, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Biggdawg

    And the CNN "make sure we report at least one negative story concerning Hillary per news cycle" campaign continues.

    The others dropped their names from the ballots because they knew their chances of carrying the state were slim.

    Michigan, vote for Hillary!

    January 10, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Chris- Ohio

    Losing to "uncommitted" would be devastating

    January 10, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    I'm confused why michigan would move their primary date up KNOWING that there would be reprocautions for this? Both parties were penalized and lost delegates (DNC seemed to penalize more the the RNC), it just doesn't seem to make sense.

    It almost seems like it will be a one sided race there since Republicans can openly campaign, but not Democrats. I wonder if republican voter turnout will be greater.

    January 10, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. TB

    I guess people REALLY do want change!!! I don't blame them!

    January 10, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. GoVoters

    Kerry, Brewer and Levin have decided? Who cares? The Democratic Party has told voters what to do? Get over it.

    Real Hope? Let's hope the voters in Michigan do what the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have done and rebel against media control again. In my state we have a write in line. I hope this state does too. Please vote for who you want and ignore the manipulation of those in office (and the media). Truly end the status quo and REFUSE to let the POLITICIANS pick our President ever again. GO VOTERS GO!!!!!!!

    January 10, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Hmmm

    I don't know all the details about this story, and the article above does not supply all the information... But it serves Edwards and Obama right. If they were dumb enough to pull their names off the slate–they deserve to lose those votes. Idiots.

    And as far as the Michigan as a state goes, you should have just listened to the Democratic national party. It's so lame this year that every state is fighting to be "first" in the calendar year. Michigan didn't listen, and just had to schedule early, and now may lose their voice. Serves them right too.

    January 10, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. MC

    It appears media has been taking side on reporting the election. Please keep your nuetrual ground. Remember how they reported about IRAQ and how it turned out? Let's not make more mistakes for the nation.

    January 10, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Uncommitted 2008.

    Please Michigan do us proud by un-voting for "her".

    We need to see her cry again and this time it will be "real".

    You sheep that are saying she didn't cry, what did her eyes "well up" with?

    Or are we expected to re-define what tears are, like re-defining "is"?

    Those stating a double standard here, If "she" were are man, just like Edmund Muskie, she would be toast.

    The double standard is that men catch MORE heat for showing emotion.

    What was the heart wrenching question again, "How do you do it and who does your hair".

    This was simply the final ACT of her campaigns STATED GOAL to make her APPEAR softer and gentler.

    I don't hate Democrats, except this one and as for strong women, I would take Liz Dole or Condi Rice over all the Republicans running.

    I hope one of them picks one of them as VP.

    January 10, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. EE

    Hilary is the her own undoings. She wants to defy even party rules to get delegates

    January 10, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Ada

    Hillary, you are not yet the president, but you are already causing so much division among people. Even African Americans are starting to have different negative views about you. How can you win against the republicans if minorities are diverting away from you? Rigging elections is like taking something away that does not belong to you. This can have negative effects in the long run.

    January 10, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. David, Dallas Tx

    I like this development. I understand the DNC's decision as an effort to preserve the rights of early-voting states to maintain their historic importance. But the DNC's decision robs Michigan voters of their say.

    If the "uncommitted" movement gains sufficient traction, Michigan voters' voices will be returned to them. That's the way it should be.

    January 10, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA


    Having an affair is totaly different thaen starting a war FOR NO GOOD REASON.


    The Clintons, although a little dodgy, are nothing compared to the corruption of SO MANY REPUBLICANS.

    January 10, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. TB

    I find it amazing how everyone can "cry" and complain about the positive press coverage Obama is getting, all the while forgetting that Clinton got all the positive press coverage up until her loss in Iowa. Remember it was great when everyone was reporting she was the "inevitable" candidate and questioned why Obama even ran; even if you don't like or support Obama, you have to respect the hard work he has done to make a name for himself. I remember one event particularly well when Bill said the "boys are being hard on her" and by her own admission during the debate she said and I quote..."I know they are NOT attacking me because I am a woman, it's because I am winning". So what is it Hil??? Is it because you are a woman now??? Get over yourself. She acts like she is ENTITLED to be the next president and shouldn't have to work for it and how dare this 2 term junior Senator try and steal the position she is entitled to have! Well honey newsflash...its not yours to be given, but rather earned...

    January 10, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Sarah

    Neutral ground? Sadly the media has yet to set foot on it.

    And believe me I am NO Hillary supporter. But I am a supporter of the American people and their right to make up their mind THEMSELVES. What the media has provided thus far in the election season is filtered, biased, and manipulative information and not the cold hard facts.

    I challenge all Americans to vote based on which candidate best fits their belief systems and not based on the calculated views provided by the increasingly arrogant media outlets.

    January 10, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Mrs. America

    This sounds as fair as it possibly can be, which isn't very fair at all. It's unfortunate that the Michigan people's voices probably aren't going to be heard correctly because of the greed of their state. Oh, my.

    January 10, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. WHATEVER U name it.

    I support Obama.

    AND CNN... and other news tv stations, please do not make this a mess again.. and no more drama ... stay out of politics,

    CNN.. u r messing with our heads! FOOLS.. STOP IT.

    January 10, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Xavier, Washington, DC

    The reason Edwards and Obama took their names off the ballot was because the national Democratic party prohibitted candidates from campaigning in Michigan due to the unauthorized date of the primary. Since Obama and Edwards could not get their messages to the people, they figured Clinton would win on pure name recognition and try and claim it was a real victory. To avoid losing, they took their names off the ballot. In hindsight, they probably should have kept them on. With the high African American population, Obama might have won.

    January 10, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. kelley

    we need to rethink the whole primary system. For the last several elections, the canidate was decided by the time my vote came around giving me no voice in the representative. At least this year, my vote will count!!! Go Obama.

    January 10, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Ryan, New York, NY

    Biggdawg January 10, 2008 12:46 pm ET

    And the CNN "make sure we report at least one negative story concerning Hillary per news cycle" campaign continues.

    The others dropped their names from the ballots because they knew their chances of carrying the state were slim.

    Michigan, vote for Hillary!

    God you Hillary supporters are an awfully whiny bunch. This isn't even a negative story. Would you like CNN to only report the positive stories about her, as they have were doing for the past year? Or how about hire more former Clinton staffers to offer political commentary, because half of the of them isn't enough?

    Also, the reason everyone else isn't on the ballot is because Michigan subverted the national Democratic Party's directive not to schedule primaries so early. Hillary obviously doesn't care that they're not abiding by the rules because when have rules ever mattered when you can obtain an edge. While you complain of a prejudiced media, this is an instance where they should be railing her for even participating.

    January 10, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. bob mcfree

    Hey- or Howdy as we say here-

    I totally disagree with the first poster from Arkansas. She probably goes to Huckabee's church. Her post was a bit non-secular.

    I was very proud of the Clinton's handling of Arkansas State Government.
    He would have been one of our best Presidents if the publicans hadn't been so bent on destroying him. Bill didn't shut down the government.
    It was the republican congress.

    The Clinton's are good people who care about others.
    Hillary would make a great President. If she can hold it together during weeniegate- Just think what she would do to Iran.

    And Bill sure would be a fetching first lady.

    Women- if you stand together- you can have a female chief executive.
    Make the men raise babies !!!!!!

    This is a very important election. It is already historical because a lady senator and an african-american senator ( who has a real chance to win). A clinton / obama ticket would be hard for the huckabee / colbert ticket to beat.

    January 10, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Ron, TX

    Do you favor Anyone But Clinton? It's as easy as ABC! Vote UNCOMMITTED in Michigan!

    January 10, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. BD

    All of the other candidates took their names off the Michigan ballot to support the DNC, except for Mrs. Clinton. What does that say about her?

    January 10, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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