March 20th, 2008
08:30 AM ET
15 years ago

Tennessee governor proposes 'superdelegate primary'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Bredesen wants a Superdelegate primary."](CNN) - Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen is proposing a superdelegate “primary” to settle the Democratic presidential race before the party's convention in August.

Neither Sens. Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton are likely to win the 2,024 delegates needed to capture the presidential nomination outright when primary voting ends in early June, making it likely that the superdelegates – party and elected officials who have the right to vote at the national convention – will likely decide which candidate will become the Democratic nominee.

Obama currently leads Clinton in the delegate count 1,621 to 1,479, CNN estimates.

In a proposal first made public in the New York Times Wednesday, Bredesen - who has not backed either candidate - suggested that superdelegates meet for two days in June to vote in order to bring an earlier end to the race and begin the process of uniting the party.

"It seems to me if we have a nominee come Labor Day with a very deeply divided party and morally exhausted party, I think we have a problem,” Bredesen told CNN. “We've got to resolve this in some way before the end of August.”

Other superdelegates have floated similar proposals, but the idea has received mixed reviews, Democratic National Committee officials told the Associated Press.

But Bredesen said it's critical that the party begin the process of rallying behind a nominee because the Republicans have already settled on their candidate, Sen. John McCain.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Obama said Bredesen's proposal was an "interesting" one that "would probably be the best way to insure that at least there's a couple of months before the convention" for the party to unite.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean has not endorsed Bredesen's superdelegate plan, proposed in Wednesday's New York Times, and so far it has not gained much traction. But clearly, Obama is trying to breathe a little life into it.

But on a conference call with reporters, Clinton senior adviser Harold Ickes said the idea was a good one that will "never happen."

– Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson

Filed under: superdelegates
soundoff (One Response)
  1. NIC

    A little down time is always nice for the candidates during this long and difficult primary. But if I was Barack, I wont take too much down time, because he will have all the down time he wants after the convention when he finds out he isnt the Democratic Presidental nomination. I see he has let his staffers and aids out to hault and stop MI and FL revotes. Looks like Hillary campaign is trying to do everything they can to make sure American voters are heard and the Barack campaign is doing everything they can to stall and run out the clock so they dont lose. I guess the Barack campaign doesnt care about the voices of every American!
    If the Barack campaign stops the revotes, they will have a cloud over their head. MI and FL are two very important states for November, they are both big swing states. Way to go Barack, tell your staffers and aids to agree to a revote, or else you and sadly, the Democratic party will pay dearly for it in November.

    March 20, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |