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. Numb Butt

    1. LOL it is wonderful to see the Dems create and eat their own dead.

    2. Who could or wouls vot for Billery Clinton any way. All the unresolved criminal activity, ethics grey area behavior and she blew her universal health coverage plan under Bill's folly.

    January 10, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Nita

    Dont worry about the headlines – don't worry about the endoresements. What they are really scared about is the women. And, yes we hear some women saying they would never vote for clinton. Those are few and far between.

    "A woman is a woman regardless of color." Clinton doesn't have our vote because of her gender. It doesn't hurt. She has our support because she can lead.

    This country is such a sexist place. The men and probably some pathetic women who write about her weight, her hair, her smile and her pantsuits are just a bunch of low-self esteem losers.

    Say what you want – Clinton is the true leader of the pack.

    January 10, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. joe garcia

    it is pretty evident that the media don't like the clintons just like the republican's unrelentless pounding of the clintons. get over it and get use to it y'all, Hillary is the next president of this great nation.

    January 10, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Gordon

    Question: Of the Hillary voting caucus and primary election participants, how many are fond of and pleased with Bill Clinton's presidency? Quote: "I'm looking you in the eye, I have not had......." Wow, now that's honesty, character, and trust!. Are Hillary supporters suffering from Alzheimer's? But Bill is not on the ballot, right? Wrong!

    The greatest gift the Democrats could deliver to the Republicans would be a Clinton candidacy. A Clinton presidency would also cause the greatest damage to the ability and desire of the people and our congress to compromise and build a consensus to solve our problems.

    An independent voter.

    January 10, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. James

    I love how it's okay to say "women, let's stick together..." but if a guy were to say that, it would be sexest. "Men let's stick together and not vote for HIllary" – boy that would sure go over well wouldn't it.

    January 10, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Seam, Philly PA

    Hmmm January 10, 2008 12:51 pm ET

    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.

    Hmmm, do you have a name? if you don't know the details about the story, why make a dumb comment? It serves you wrong.

    January 10, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Jack, Greenville, SC


    I am sorry that the organizers decided to move the primary without consulting the people it would affect. Please, even though I know it is a hassle for what seem like diminished returns, if you do not back Clinton vote Uncommitted. That will send a significant message about the shape of the race, and you will have an influence on what comes after. Thank you.

    January 10, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Rob

    You Obama supporters, supporters of "Change," are whining about Michigan and Hillary staying the course. What hypocrites!!! Michigan and several other states took a stand for change. Knowing how screwed up the system is, took a stance and steps to "MAKE CHANGE" and now you whine about those states that took a stand... Give me a break!

    January 10, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Maggie

    New Hampshire broke the DNC's rules, as well. Did they get penalized? I dont think so. I wonder why?

    January 10, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Jack K.

    You mean besides those unsightly crinkles around her mouth, eyes, and neck?

    The wrinkle is–most DEM's aren't too satisfied with either Hillary or Obama.

    The wrinkle is–John Edwards (whose platform of change Hillary and Obama have attempted to hijack!! He is the only true "reformist" candiate in the line-up. Most of America knows it (his poll standings re: the best GOP candidate), and it's clear both the DEM and GOP candidates are attempting to steal his agenda after observing his "nation-wide" and "party-wide" popolarity.

    Frankly–the only candidate who has flip-flopped on the issue of American labor (particularly hourly workers)unemployment, the War in Iraq, and the War on Terror (which should be a law enforcement issue–not a national defense issue)–is John Edwards.

    Like Coca-Cola, John Edwards is the real thing. Not a puffed up, pomped up, made up–poll junky!!

    January 10, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Tyler in Raleigh, NC

    Good job Hillary, breaking the rules is your kind of "change" I see. Glad to know you will uphold only the rules you feel apply to you if you win.

    We need real change, this sounds like typical political BS. Mrs. Rodham-Clinton, you are not above the law or the rules. Do the honorable thing instead of crying.

    January 10, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. tewhitetewhite

    This is no one's fault, so stop blaming the media. Stop blaming CNN, and if I hear something bad about Wolf B it's on!

    I like Hillary , and I am not blaming her for this, but the only answer is for Hillary to pull her name off of the ballot.

    January 10, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Eric

    Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are better than any used car salesman I have ever met. Neither one of these two care anything about the people of this country. Romney comes off as arrogant and pompous, trying to out spend and buy everyone's vote. If I have to hear Hillary play the poor me card again I am going to loose it. The last thing we need is a president who is more, Dr. Phil or Oprah, than a leader and a president. There is no CRYING in running for President. I doubt your poor me card is going to go over well with the likes of Putin and other world leaders. A vote for Hillary is a vote for change in a terrible direction. We need a uniter in the White House come Nov and Hillary and Romney are just telling you what you want to here. Neither one can unite this nation for the better. Obama, Huckabee or McCain are better options for this country. I am a registered Independent and I am doing my homework. My suggestion to everyone else is please do yours. A vote for Hillary or Mitt is a vote for the status quo.

    January 10, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. GM

    Mark Brewer behavior could be interpreted to be clearly supporting Edwards...he arranged to have Edwards speak at the party's Jeff-jack dinner, and some believe he purposely screwed things up in Michigan to make sure Edwards would win the caucus but got got caught up in the race for the earliest primary and then screwed that up.

    I believe he secretly wants Clinton to get 60 or more percent so he can plead for reinstatement of Michigan's delegates, especially since . the National Democratic Party stripped us of our delegates and even canceled all the lodging being held for our state's delegates

    His incompetence dis-enfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters, and particulary
    African American voters in Detroit, who would not have voted for Edwards. They would have voted for Obama.

    Change needs to occur at the top of the Michigan democratic party as well!

    January 10, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Angela

    Hillary said taking her name off the ballot is not necessary because the DNC said her votes won't count anyway.
    She said it was irrelevant – she was right. Waste of time and no perceivable benefit.
    It's not her fault that Michigan and Florida moved their Primaries.

    The States should be sued and fined by the DNC and RNC for screwing the with Democratic process of picking our President. They are the bad guys in this not Hillary.

    She just had the forsight to capitalize off their stupid choices.
    She is one step ahead of them. She's the kind of person we need in the White House, not someone who is too timid to thumb their noses at outdated party rules or states who want to subvert the voting process.

    Good Job Hillary, You'll take Michigan by storm.

    January 10, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Carrie

    BS! For the past 4 years, the media has been promoting "Hillary for President."

    Obama/Edwards 08!!!

    YES WE CAN!!

    January 10, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Biggdawg

    Ryan, New York

    Thank you, but I know why the others took their names off the ballot. They could have opted not to. In fact, Florida did the same thing and is similarly being penalized, and the Democrats similarly agreed not to campaign there. But none of them has taken their name off the ballot. So those who criticize Hillary leaving name on the ballot in Michigan should for the same reason criticize Edwards and Obama for leaving theirs on in Florida along with Hillary.

    And yes. Some positive coverage for Hillary would be a welcome change from the constant unwarranted, biased bashing she's been getting.

    January 10, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Rob

    Clinton is playing by the rules... That she hear the people everywhere. She has no control over when the Primary is to be held. Pulling out is there own fault and there doing so is the reason your voices are not going to be heard. If they were serious about their stances by pulling out, then why haven't they pulled out of other states faced with the same sanctions such as Florida.

    January 10, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Jennifer in Michigan

    Everyone in Michigan PLEASE vote uncommited.

    Why would you want to elect these tired old politicians? We need someone young and full of life. Someone who can unite this country, empower the people. Why elect old school politicians who have old school ideas? That has been the pattern of our past elections and it doesn't work for us. Youth of America ask yourself this question.....Do your grandparents understand the issues of today's society? Do they understand the issues the young and middle age population face? The answer is no, they do not. They think in terms of how things were handled 40, 50 years ago when they were young. Most of these candidates are old enough to be our grandparents, how can they possibly relate to us as a young society today? They don't know what its like to be us, just like we don't know what its like to have lived when they were young. Times have changed, and its time for politics to change. VOTE for Barack Obama!!!

    January 10, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Ronald

    Hmmm....Change is what seems to be in the air. Michigan wanted change but the national parties want the status quo. It looks like the old guard is getting battered by the forces that are stirring to throw the old unworkable ways out... It's going to be a mighty battle and I hope "change" wins.

    It's interesting how even the "neutral" media is mucking about in the process. It seems reporting the new is taking a back seat to making the news.

    Finally, it would be so refreshing to see the political parties working for the citizens instead of their own interest.

    January 10, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Karen, NYC

    Broom Hillary is flying to her next target huh? Well... we'll see about that. Watch how Americans will stand up and VOICE their outrage.

    January 10, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Jennifer in Michigan

    Former Obama Girl

    Please visit Obama's website, or try actually watching a debate if you care to know his plan for change.

    January 10, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Justin, Houston, TX

    Hills been quiet for the past few days....That only means big things are about to come. Let Obama have his day with another losing flip-flopper and wait for the big Hill news.

    Hillary '08 – Because change is more than just a word and a speech.

    January 10, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Pat Sexton

    To whomever,
    It does seem that Edwards may be the only remaining choice for us to consider. Obama is either a preacher or a cheerleader and Clinton is playing the same game in this Carnival of events. We need to hear what each candidate will do for us. I change my hair color and I change my nail polish but that is not the change I want from my President

    January 10, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. irma

    First of all, the Democratic party does not ask anyone to withdraw their names. MI is penalized, fine. The fact is, she would have the most votes there than any of the others, everyone knows that. She isn't doing anything underhanded because she has a right to stay on the ballot. Why are Obama supporters so vicious? Your insulting manner is offensive and is part of the reason undecided people do not find him appealing as a candidate. You can't bully your way into people's thinking.

    January 10, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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