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. Mr. B.

    It shows the "content of the charactor" of the Clinton campaign.

    It was clear watching the returns on T.V. that night. They explained why Florida & Michigan would not count.

    Now that Hilliary is loosing, they think it should count ?

    I know people in these states and I have been told; many people did not vote because they knew it wouldn't count. So, what about these people Hilliary ?

    February 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Nancy S -Long Beach, CA

    I don't think the DNC can change the rules in the middle of the game and maintain credibility through the November general election. It is truly unfortunate that Michigan and Florida won't have delegates at the convention, but we need to be mindful of how this will effect us in general election come November and do what it best for the Democrats as a whole. If this issue goes on and on we will not be able to come together this fall and defeat the Republicans. God help us if the Republicans get 4 more years........

    February 19, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Jody

    The people of Michigan and Florida should be outraged that their leaders decided to break the rules and move their primaries ahead of time. Their leaders have put the voters of MI and FL in a terrible position, and have disenfranchised them. People say, "rules are rules." Why didn't the decision makers in MI and FL play by the rules in the first place? Then we wouldn't be in this bad of a mess. Shame on them!

    February 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Keith Tozier

    Yeah right. I hope mIchelle Obama runs for office one day. I will definitely ask her why she is not proud of the country she is born and raised until now. Is she so self centered that she is proud now because she and her husband are in the center of this important election? asked for hope and gotplagiarism and now we hear she was proud for the first time. Shame on Obama and Michelle.

    February 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. Amy, Kazoo

    Joe NJ,

    that is very much on my mind and a big reason why I back the candidate I do.,

    February 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. Mick

    If things turn around for Hillary in which it could (people of Ohio,Texas and Penn. are smart people more then average), the Obama people will be crying for the super delegates.Hillary kept her name on the ballot because she is for all the people and she did not campain in either state just kept her name there like they all should have,who are you people to say other states don't count

    February 19, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Cathy

    Caucus should not be allowed. They are not the american way. Primaries should be done everywhere. Fl and Michigan should be counted.

    February 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. TheLeftNut


    Let's have a REAL DEMOCRACY

    One person=One Vote
    NOT One Dollar=One Vote

    February 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Ismael

    You are all missing the big picture here. Threatening not to vote at all or vote for a republican just because your state was stripped of delegates. That sounds like a child throwing a tantrum, because they did not get their way. We are supposed to be more concerned with what’s best for the nation. If we talk like this we run the risk of putting our party politics ahead of the greater good. I understand your frustration, but that is not the answer. I feel the only way to fix this is to either re-run an election in those states or stick to the stripping of the delegates. It is not fair to just give the delegates to Hillary sense no one really got a chance to campaign there. I would be disappointed if Obama does not win due to the super delegates. However I would not decide to vote Republican. Even though I feel the people should decide who represents the democrats, rules are rules. This Super Delegate issue might be one to take a look at after this election is all wrapped up. Let’s stick together and make sure the United States gets a fresh start. Remember if Hillary is your gal, or Obama is your guy they are both better solutions than McCain.

    February 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Clyde/Atlanta, GA

    It appears that the real culprits in the uncertain role of superdelegates for Florida and M ichigan is the state leadership for those two states. Both states knew in advance what the DNC rules were and still chose to play maverick and disenfranchied the voters of their respective states. As painful as it may be for the voters of those two states, the real shame and disgrace of this situation lies not with the presidential candidates or the DNC, but the irresponsible and self-serving local political leadership. Shame..Shame..Shame.

    February 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. maragret keaton

    I am a 73 year old black woman and likd Michele Obama I too am more proud to be an American. People from all ethnic groups crossed lines and voted for a black man for the highest position in the workd. Change happened because of Faith and Hope.

    At long last, America accepts all of her citizens as equals. You would have had to walk a mile in our shoes to understand her statement. This holds true for Cindy McCain also.

    This has nothing to do with patriotism but everything to do with equal rights lon denied us

    Margaret D. Keaton
    New Haven, CT

    February 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Jim, American in Paris

    The elections have taken place in these states and can't be done twice without turning the whole process into some type of circus and lose all credibility as a democratic process!

    Florida and Michigan electors as well as its elected officials must demand that all delegates from their states be seated at the convention. Every state in the Union must support Florida and Michigan in insisting that their delegates be seated with the other 48 states' delegates.

    Not allowing some states to participate fully in our presidential election process is unconsitutional and undemocratic!

    All of the candidates were on the ballot in Florida and none of them campaigned there. In Michigan Barak Obama took his name off the ballot list but the DNC didn't ask him to do that, nor the other candidates.

    The DNC must rectify their error and the only way is to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan chosen from their respective primaries in January.

    February 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. David

    The News Media very critical of Hillary Clinton- Obama is lucky on many aspects

    Folks like Chris Mathews, MSNBC and others chronicled overwhelmingly negative on Clinton . Some of them are so enthusiastic about Barack Obama's – I believe that’s how this dirty media and some (….what ever you call it) journalist works- Yes its some sort of free ride or not momentum

    February 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Bob

    How simple can this possibly get? The rules are easy to understand. If Florida and Michigan want delegates they simply have to hold a primary or caucus on or after Feb. 5. If they'd like to change the rules for the future, there's a mechanism for doing that. I for one will not vote for any candidate who cheats the rules to be nominated, no matter who it is, no matter what party they belong to.

    February 19, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. GH

    rules are rules, not to be broken. As sorry as I am for fellow Michiganders and Floridians, your state legislatures took a chance and lost. No delegates from those 2 States should be seated.

    February 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. jackw

    So the powers that be want to make the voters in Florida and Michigan do it all again. They voted once, use those results. To not use them appears to be a way to get more delegates to Obama and ensure he is the chosen one. As far as not having Obamas name on the Michigan ballot, give him a proportional amount of votes based on prior voting to Michigan. I.e. Give him the average of all Caucuses and Primaries prior to the Michigan vote based on votes not cast for Clinton.
    To make them Caucus again is a definite advantage to Obama. Of that there is no doubt, so it appears Howard Dean and Friends want to get rid of Clinton.
    If the Florida and Michigan votes do not count, then the Democrats in those states should exercise their right to vote in the general election and write in Hillary's name on the ballots as a protest vote. This way they still vote, albeit not for the Democrats. I thought this party was supposed to be Democratic? Doesn't appear that way to me!

    February 19, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. Mary

    The candidates whose name was not on the ballot choose it to be that way. So why should Hillary Clinton's supporters not be counted toward the delegates. Just another political "stupidity" by the Obama supporters.

    February 19, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Jennfizz

    So, where is the flap? Michelle and Cindy and proud of America...statement of fact. Am I missing something?

    February 19, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. sk

    It is not fair to those people who had no choice in when they voted. I think the DNC should count the delegates as is. If they revote there was no purpose in moving the vote up. It is not fair to the rest of the country that 2 states get to set the tone of the primaries or caucuses.
    Look at what happened in WV, that was not fair to WV Repulicans or the candidates. How can we say bartering for delegate votes is democracy. We should all get to vote in the primaries (not caucuses, which do not accurately represent what voters want) at the same time.

    For all of the people who are going to argue that it would not be fair to Obama, remember he chose to take his name off the MI ballot, and he did run TV ads in FL (the only Dem to do so).

    February 19, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. NW Independent

    Bottom line, the Democrats are in a pickle and unless he or she quits, this will likely cost them the general in November.

    February 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. Dr. K.

    Please don’t let us change the rules of the game in the middle of the game – if super delegate will end up giving Hillary the nomination – so be. It is too late to change the concept of super delegate now. After all, Hillary has more experience and has been in politics longer than Obama. She has the right to rely on those whom she has built stronger political relationship with for years. Hillary has no control over the younger folks supporting Obama due to his (young look appeal and speeches he gave) then Obama should worry less about Hillary capitalizing on her experienced colleagues. I hope the more experience one prevails.

    February 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. cb

    I understand that Obama did run adds in Florida. And Hillary attended a fundraiser.

    February 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. anne

    1. According to my brother who lives in Ft. Myers, Florida has another Statewide election, on a property tax amendement, that is already scheduled.
    2. All canidates names were on the ballots in Florida.
    3. The DNC decision was made last summer. The canidates had organizations in place, nobody disbanded.
    4. Obama, and only Obama, had a lot of his national TV commercials "slip through" in Florida.
    5. If the Democrats ignore Florida, they will lose, regardless of the contrived importance of NH and Iowa.
    6. The party can nominate whomever they want. They don't have to have a single election or caucus. This is not the same thing as a real election. Nobody has any "right" to vote here. That is why it seems unfair. Educate the people, Wolfe.

    February 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. Ken Lyon

    As a registered Democrat in Miami Beach Florida, I urge you to hear what Dan Gelber (the Minority Leader in the Florida House of Representatives) is suggesting as a solution to the delegate problem in Florida.

    In a nut shell, he is suggesting that the DNC pay for a run-off style mail-in vote. Not too expensive, realistically evenhanded for both candidates and a real solution that allows Florida voters voices to be heard.

    Perhaps this can be a similar stradegy in Michigan as well.

    February 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. matt hardeman

    CNN blocks comments that don't favour obama. Consistently, systematically, unashamedly. Are they really so stupid as to think they can get away with it, and come away with a reputation any better than that of FOX?

    I've watched and relied on CNN my whole life.

    What happened to you over there?


    February 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
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