February 19th, 2008
03:21 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Some superdelegates may be shut out

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/19/iowacaucusnight2008.jpg caption="Florida and Michigan’s superdelegates have been penalized, too."] (CNN) - The superdelegates going to the Democratic convention in Denver at the end of the summer include all the elected Democratic governors, senators, and representatives. Right? Wrong.

Michigan’s Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, is not a superdelegate. Neither are Sen. Carl Levin or congressmen John Conyers and John Dingell. The same is the case for Florida’s Democratic senator, Bill Nelson. He won’t be a superdelegate. Neither will representatives Robert Wexler or Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

That’s because Michigan and Florida moved up their primaries into January, before the February 5 Super Tuesday schedule. That broke party rules, and as a result, the Democratic Party stripped them of their pledged and unpledged delegates. The superdelegates are unpledged - meaning they can support any candidate they want.

Thus, the 795 superdelegates at the Democratic convention do not include the 28 who would have come from Michigan and the 22 who would have come from Florida. That could change only if party leaders reconsider their decision.

There is talk of organizing caucuses in both states if the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains deadlocked going into May and June. Organizing full-scale primaries is much more difficult and much more expensive. Hillary Clinton hasn’t done well in caucuses so far.

At the same time, however, she and her supporters believe they can still win those big states. They did “win” the most votes during the January primaries even though none of the candidates could campaign there and Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan.

I suspect we will see caucuses in Michigan and Florida if this race remains unresolved. That is possible. The Democratic Party big shots would prefer that to a brokered convention on the floor in Denver.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: superdelegates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The superdelegates for Florida and Michigan bear responsibity for this fiasco and should not be allowed to vote. It doesn't sound like the voters in these two States were informed by their representatives(delegates) what would result in moving their primary dates up. They should be sued for misrepresenting their voters and not make it the responsibility of others to fix their mess.

    February 19, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. bob

    Why cant anyone understand that the primary in florida was set by repulication legislature and governor. we were uncounted in 2000and will be uncounted again.

    February 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Laurel Brooks

    Dear Mr. Blitzer,

    You spend a lot of time talking about super delegates and that may never be an issue. Wouldn't the electorate be better served by a critical discussion of the differences in platforms and what each would mean to our democracy. I have been ill and watching more TV news than usual and am concerned that there is not equal unbiased coverage of the candidates. Why does this happen. Is it just that Obama offers such a good story, as did George Bush in 2000, or is it gender discrimination against strong women, or is there a more sinister reason for this. The press has such a tremendous responsibility for helping inform the electorate. The results of the coming election will eventually have as much effect on you as it will on me. Can you try a little harder to balance your network coverage and actually be the best network news on television? And come on, give Huckabee a break. He has as much right right to continue his candidacy as any of the others and though I'm not voting for him I appreciate his input. Thank you for your time.

    Laurel Brooks

    February 19, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. gary


    February 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Here in Britain

    No way should there be caucuses – they are corruption and bullying of the worst kind.

    February 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. jim franck

    Hey Wolf!
    Good job as always. Having caucuses at the end of the primary season wouldn't do much to sort the situation out as obviously the the candidate that is in the lead with pledged delegates would have the advantage of using the momentum to get the upper hand in the caucuses. Isn't it better to stick with the rules and just let it go at that? Both states screwed up and lost the revenue and the prestige of what would have been an, all eyes on them competition, if they had left well alone? Most of us don't get the benefit of second chances and if Michigan and Florida are going to get second bite at the apple then its like me getting my money back at the casino and getting to bet again? That's what this is all about! The states wanted to have their say first because they thought it would all be over by February and did not loose out on chance to call the White House and call in the chips when they need them.

    February 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Patrick Lee

    "Barrack The Magic Steamroller" will sweep Hillary away and he'll be the next Pre-si-dent that'll push the "War Ma-chine aside..............

    February 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Don

    Caucuses are inherently un-democratic. Only 2-10 percent of all voters have 3-4 hours to give to a caucus. Not to mention the pressure of having to vote publicly. They should all be primaries, secret ballot, one- person, one vote. Having said that, Florida had a primary and Clinton won. The Republican legislature and Governor Bush of Florida purposely moved the primary against the wishes of local Dems in order to cause this problem. They should not be rewarded. Seat Florida. As for Mich. Obama voluntarily removed his name. Clinton should not be punished by his stupid actions.

    February 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. Bob - MA

    It was established ahead of time that Michigan and Florida would not count for any delegates. As a result, no campaigning was done tose states. Since there was no contest in either state, the vote that was done was unfair. Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. Besides, Hillary is only trying to get those delegates seated because she is behind Obama without them. She doesn't care about peoples' voices being heard, she only cares about winning. She can't just change the rules in the middle of the game simply because she is losing. I hope people see what she is trying to get away with here.

    February 19, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Prince Obama08!

    okay this is news.

    February 19, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. ohio Republican voter

    You have got to be kidding me I cannot believe anyone would think that it is fair to count these two states the way they stand. If there is to be a count from there there must be a FAIR vote. To say one thing and do another is in no way fair. Obama pulled his name from one of the ballots according to the rules. Let both names be on the ballot or you cannot fairly count the vote as real!!!!!

    February 19, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Jesse

    Or, maybe it has more to do with the fact; that this time super delegates are actually an issue. I am for neither candidate, but this race being close is good for the United States. It is exposing flaws in the system that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. It is a real problem. I do know that Obama will likely win the pledged delegate vote. Clinton's only chance then is to win under super delegate votes. That is bad for democracy, and bad for the people of the U.S. It is not a media bias, it is just the fact that Barrack Obama is on the right side of the argument. Elitists should not trump the people's vote. If Hillary Clinton was on the other side of the argument, it would be no different.

    February 19, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. JoeySky18

    Caucus is wrong. It's a quick fix band aide to a bigger problem.

    I'll lost all my respect to Democrat Party if this happen. I will tell the DNC that they don't have to be bother calling for my donation anymore. I'll be registered as independent or perhaps repug.!

    February 19, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Mariann Pepitone

    Kathleen: That's what the problem is people like you are sucked into his fake speeches that were copied from Patrick, JFK, RFK & MLK. Get to know him? I could read him like a book without the cover. This young generation can't read between the lines and screen him while he is campaigning because he's got them buffaloed with his talk. How did they ever get thru college if they are that dumb. I had him figured from the first speech. But after all I am not from this generation that'w why we are smarter. Obama would bring this country into a disaster worse than what Bush did. He lacks the experience and knowledge to become the president of this country. It takes a person with integrity and he doesn't have that. Maybe four years from now he will.

    February 19, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Kevin in PA

    Here's the issue I have in seating any delegates for MI and FL.....

    What's to prevent any state from moving up their primaries if there are no consequences? If they end up seating these delegates in any meaningful way then they either A) need to come up with a better way to prevent "premature primary voting" or B) just let the states hold their primaries whenever they like.

    As a parent the whole idea of turning around and letting MI and FL to seat their delegates makes no sense. What respect would my kids have for my rules if I didn't follow through with punishments?

    February 19, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Joe NJ






    February 19, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. Jon Cruz

    I highly doubt CNN would put "win" in quotation marks if its choice candidate, Barack Obama, had emerged with the most votes. In fact, I am sure of it. Shame on you.

    February 19, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. Rafique

    superdelegates should respect the people decision of his or her states. If Clinton won a state or Obama won a state in populer vote
    superdelegates should be voted whoever won the state.

    February 19, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. aware

    No more caucuses! I will caucus tonight in Hawaii but do not look forward to this very unrepresentative process. Caucuses are a sham! 🙁

    Take it to the convention if necessary. No deals – no more caucuses! This is America not Russia. Enjoy the challenge and the competition!

    February 19, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. big d

    If Fla and Mich voters arent gonna count then they should not vote come November to protest.

    every vote needs to count
    Go Hilary

    February 19, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. Al, Sacramento Ca

    Superdelegates has always been the backup plan for anything to happen just what may happen now.

    Why is it such an issue, it will be Democrats deciding for Democrats. Silly, the media is putting a negative spin to it to sabotage the process.

    I wonder who they are rooting for!

    February 19, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. Jean Withers

    Let us remember what Wolf does not point out: Obama TOOK his name off the Michigan voluntarily.

    February 19, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Gary

    With the DNC you are simply dealing with a 'corporation' that can and will do anything they want to bring who they want o the front of the election. Same goes for the Republicans. It's no mystery, nor a control issue. If the coporation called DNC want Obama they will move him to the podium. If they want Clinton, they will present her. They (DNC) call the shots and set the rules. You simply do not. I'm not saying that's wrong or bad. It simply is what it is. No one has a better solution so, yes maybe your candidate doesn't become the front runner. Oh well.... It does seem to work better than anarchy.
    Microsoft could do the same. Call themselves a party and with enough numbers, proffer up their candidate of choice- Mr. Gates.

    February 19, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Theresa Markham

    The Dem candidates asking the Dem Party to change its rules & its decisions because they don't like the consequences, and the fact that it's actually being considered, is a perfect example of the problem with the Dem Party in general. That's the "victim" nature that the Dem candidates appeal to, after all – "Oh, I made a decision, but I don't like the problems that that decision caused, so can you make the consequences go away?"

    It's similar to the school kid that doesn't study for a test, and then wants a make-up test.

    If either of the Dem Candidates had the a small fraction of the character of most Republicans, who value personal responsibility, then they would have the guts to stand up and say, "We understand why the original decision was made, and we'll abide by that decision."

    This whole Dem Michigan/Florida party penalty thing isn't news – it's just Hillary crying in her soup – which usually garners attention, which, again, isn't news – it's ENABLING!

    February 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  25. SharonR

    with everyone watching this race how can they not count Fl.and Mi. at first everyone was saying they would probably be seated at the convention what happened to that.. whar happens if the Fl resident get mad and don't vote or cross over then no dem. will get in you need fl and mi.

    February 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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