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. Chuck

    I had to swallow hard to vote for Kerry. His endorsement means nothing to me. His gaffes after his loss are an indication of his presidency. As for all you HIllary bashers – you just don't get it. She's running to win and so are the others. They want it just as bad. If they pull the uncommitted play; she should pull a play on them.

    January 10, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Chuck

    For the person who wants to switch to MSNBC: they run two negative stories to every one CNN runs.

    January 10, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. David

    I read this and though people should know
    "Multiple indications of vote fraud are beginning to pop up regarding the New Hampshire primary elections. Roughly 80% of New Hampshire precincts use Diebold machines, while the remaining 20% are hand counted. A Black Box Voting contributor has compiled a chart of results from hand counted precincts vs. results from machine counted precincts. In machine counted precincts, Clinton beat Obama by almost 5%. In hand counted precincts, Obama beat Clinton by over 4%, which closely matches the scientific polls that were conducted leading up to the election. Another issue is the Republican results from Sutton precinct. The final results showed Ron Paul with 0 votes in Sutton. The next day a Ron Paul supporter came forward claiming that both she and several of her family members had voted for Ron Paul in Sutton. Black Box Voting reports that after being asked about the discrepancy Sutton officials decided that Ron Paul actually received 31 votes in Sutton, but they were left off of the tally sheet due to 'human error.'"

    January 10, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. jp/michigan

    Obama and Edwards voluntarily disenfranchised millions of Michigan voters by their actions. Backroom politics have taken priority over our constitutional right to vote. Iam even more dumbfounded that no seems to be angry about this. Then Carl Levin and John Conyers want voters to vote non commital instead because their boys aren't on the ballot. Michigan democrats should and must vote Hillary. Obama and Edwards want change alright they took themselves off the ballot. The changed the way of voting in Michigan primary. Voting non committal gives those losers a pat on the back.

    January 10, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. D

    This smells like something the REPUBLICANS thought up ...Is ROVE advising all the males now .. Democrat and Republican ??? Males will obviously do anything to prevent a woman from becoming PRESIDENT ... Including selling their souls to the DEVIL (Rove and the Republicans)

    January 10, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. cold_man

    You folks need to grow up. Whomever is voted President will not be able to make legislation...Congress and Senate do that. Also what does anyone know about Barack Obama...all you know is change...change to what? You have no idea. Some people are morons.

    January 10, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. David California Republican


    I think you put it best.....this will be this election's Hanging Chad

    But the real powderkeg will come at the convention, Michigan still thinks that the DNC will cave and allow their delegates to be seated and vote. Part of me is kind of enjoying seeing the Democrats squirm under their own bungling (its been so long), there is no way that they can be allowed to vote at the convention without it becoming an even uglier mess than it is now...

    January 10, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. kate

    HILLARY DOES NOT REPRESENT WOMEN!!! .. How many women in your neighbourhood do you know who are like Hillary? Hillary has always lived the good life ... what does he know about the average person's life? .. and if you think Washington is divided ... you might as well close the place when she becomes president ...

    January 10, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Dale

    The situation in Michigan is very bleak! We are still tied to the automobile, have high unemployment, and jobs leaaving the state in droves. Our Democratic US senators and democratic governor have done next to nothing to slow down this exodus. Now we wish to have a bigger role in the presidential election process because we are really hurting, and all the major players are ignoring us. Even the republican candidates flew here for one day and are now gone! Thnks to both parties for ALL the SUPPORT!

    January 10, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. Angela

    I suggested earlier that the States should be penalized for moving their elections in direct violation to the Party rules. I have to admit that the DNC and RNC should penalized not the States.
    Dean brought up a very good point. The DNC/RNC are unelected officials screwing with the voting and they are, in fact, at fault not the States,
    As he said, the States have every right to set their own Primaries.
    Florida actually said they moved the Primaries because there was already a vote scheduled in January for statewide issues and it would be too hard to get the voters out to the polls again in February so they decided to consolidate the two for better voter turnout.
    That's their story and they're sticking to it.

    January 10, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Michigan Voter

    I am all for Mrs Clinton, and sincerely hope that when she wins she will tell us like her husband did that the two of them are one package. When we elect one of them we get both of them. That is what Bill Clinton told us in 1992. I pray that will be also true in 2008 and on 20Jan2009.
    Also, the unmitigated chutzpah of political parties telling the sovereign voters of the sovereign state of Michigan just how and when we should vote. And especially the pernicious idea concommittant and following this with mathematical certainty that we in Michigan should by following these so called unelected and self appointed national arbiters we will passively and pathetically accept the leavings of others when choosing our national leadership. We in Michigan have the absolute right from the Articles of the Constitution of the United States of conducting our own elections. And other states having the same rights are precluded from interfering with us as we are from interfering with them.
    Never should we give our rights away and our choice away by giving in to these manipulators telling us to vote 'uncommitted'. To do so is to allow virtually ANY candidate to be selected by shadowy unseen hands in and for our name.You might not even like or even have ever heard of some of these people.

    January 10, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. Karsen Rumpf, Iowa City, IA

    Michigan Help Barack Obama. Hilary Clinton is not going to change anything. She will probably just start crying again.

    January 10, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. lynn

    more Hillary bashing!!! I think people are affraid that she will show up the men! If Edwards and Obama took their names off the ballet thats their choice. Hillary is the only one that can beat the Republicans..... LETS NOT BLOW IT AGAIN Democrates!!!!!!!

    CNN needs to get off the Hillary Bashing also!!! Lets hear about the others!!! Are you guys looking for the country to pick who you want To be president?


    January 10, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. Prayu

    CNN runs negative stories about Hillary because she does lots of negative things. Like what happened in this situation.

    Is it Obama's fault that he's getting big name endorsements left and right, and that his positive and uplifting campaign is still rolling along? No, it's not. Stop blaming the media for every little thing that goes against your candidate, I'm sure none of you said anything when Hillary was touted as the obvious winner a few months ago, or when CNN writers sympathized with her fake emotional showings.

    Oh and actually, the Republican candidates have all but stated that they are ready for Hillary; but that Obama is far more of an unknown and worrisome opponent because of his ability to galvanize the youth and get Republican voters to cross over. He's far more electable than she is at this point, because she is divisive and polarizing. Many Independents like myself will simply not vote Democratic if she gets the nomination.

    January 10, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. Reine

    The Democratic Party did not want Michigan to move up their primary date and is angry as Clinton chose to be on the ballot anyway, unlike her candiate rivals who play "nice" with the Democratic Party rather than Michigan Voters. By voting uncommitted voters reinforce that candidates must do as their party dictates. NO THANKS!

    January 10, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. Jeff

    The supporters of the other candidates willing to stay by their party and not putting themselves above the party which gives them support should vote uncommitted, don't implicitly support Hillary Clinton because she wants the race more then the health of the process and her own party.

    January 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Ginny Ca

    To Bob, Flint MI & Bob W: It seems to me it would be prudent for Obama to contact his local or national headquarters to find out what his plans are so that he, in turn, will be able to explain them to the voters.

    January 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. Mario

    Hitlery wishes she could run for president all by hersel, now her dream has come through this time, enjoy it because it will be the only time.

    She stands for change alright, change your life for her style to keep you in favor to get goverment involved in every day living. Tax the crap out of you, scare you into thinking the government will be there in case of a hurricane, remember Katrina anyone.

    She isn't going to change anything for the better she and her sick husband are in this race for one thing and one thing only...for themselves.

    What experience does she have, none Obuma has been a senator longer than her, she hasn't changed or done anything to change things in 35 years like she wants you to believe she has...show me one thing. that is what I thought, nothing.

    Go Obuma!

    January 10, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Stephen Taylor, Macon, GA

    I thought "uncommitted" WAS Hillary!

    January 10, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. CitizenUSA

    New game show...Guess the Imposter !

    America...think long and hard before voting for a self professed drug user. An addicted chain smoker who hasn't the willpower to quit like millions of other average citizens have accomplished. An individual who spent at least part of his/her youth as a student studying Islam and Muslim teachings.

    He/she belongs to a church that is a separist organization.
    He/she doesn't even support his/her own supporters...just ask the minister of the church that this candidate states is their place of worship.

    Nor does he/she come from a poor family as claimed. His/her Father was a wealthy landowner. That makes liar a part of his/her personna as well.

    Presidential or Impostor...please do your research of all candidates before pressing that game button and you will have "Guessed the Impostor"!

    January 10, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |

    Libs cant see Hellary is a liar and a cheat. She be and say whatever she needs at that very moment. Hellary is NOT PRESIDENTIAL!! Neither was Slick Willie! Enough with the hillbilly clintons. Isnt two familys controling AMERICAS direction scary to anyone? Give someone else a chance......its in all our best intrest!!

    January 10, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. There's No Crying In Politics

    I do not vote for someone who gets teary eyed, has an near-emotional breakdown and says "it's not easy" about the election. If she feels that way about the election, then I definitely don't want to see what she would feel like in the Oval Office, if things got too tough for her. If she can't get it together for the election, I don't her running our country, and has a breakdown when she finds out she cant handle the pressure of the presidency. The people of N.H. are very nieve and should have re-considered this before they voted!!! I feel she is not ready for the presidency and would feel much beter with Obama in the office.
    OBAMA FOR '08.

    January 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Carrie


    100% agree with you.

    Hillary is a weak woman for "standing by her man." Always the victim! I would love a woman to become president. I just don't think that Hillary deserves "the first woman president title." I want a strong woman for president.

    January 10, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Kristina

    Since Michigan was probably the state that suffered the most under the Bush regime, they really should have gotten to vote first. I'm so tired of Iowa & New Hampshire voting first. Out of all the states in the country they are probably the most out of touch with the rest of us.
    As for Hillary, I think she did the right thing by leaving her name on the ballot. Taking your name off is the same as denying voters the right to vote for you. If
    I were running I could care more about peoples right to vote than about DNC rules. Edwards & Obama basically indicated that they would rather follow a rule that was unethical and wrong than support the voters. I'm undecided, but not happy with either of them for their inability to do the right thing. If following the rules means disenfranchising voters then they should break the rules. I have until
    Super Tues to decide, but I'm leaning towards Hillary. In the past 35 years she has done a lot for women & childrens health & welfare. In addition, when Bill was pres, I lived quite well & I wasn't constantly hearing about the danger I was in. I'm tired of a govt that tries to rule thru fear and greed. Why is it that the poor in this country now pay a higher % in taxes than the wealthy? thank you George!

    January 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. charlee

    Can someone please answer these questions with specifics?

    1. Health Care, Senator Obama will require Children to have Health Care but not Adults. So how about their parents, the ones that most often cannot afford insurance, but need it to stay healthy to care for their children?

    2. The National Deficit, How does he plan to fix that and explain how it will work?

    3. Social Security, Again, How does he plan to fix that and explain how it will work?

    4. Education?

    5. Immigration?

    6. Bi-Partisan across the Country and in Party lines?

    If he's already laid them out, I some how missed it.


    January 10, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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