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It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a... Secretary of State?

Should superdelegates decide the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee?

Six short weeks ago journalists at OPB looked at the primary calendar and thought: with Oregon’s presidential primaries not happening until May 20, is there any chance that the state will matter at all? Most of us figured the answer was an obvious, “No way.”

But here we are in mid-February and the Democratic candidates are running so close that many project neither candidate will get the 2025 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination before the Party Convention in August.

Which brings up a few questions. First, what will happen with Michigan and Florida? And second, will superdelegates — who have received so much press lately — end up being the super-deciders come August?

But before we get to the rest of the questions (and there are many), lets roll out a couple of numbers, with a hat-tip to CNN’s delegate counts:

  • 2025: The Magic Number of delegates a Democratic candidate needs to get the nomination
  • 1253: Pledged and superdelegates for Obama (incl. 157 superdelegates)
  • 1211: Pledged and superdelegates for Clinton (incl. 234 superdelegates)
  • 796: Total number of superdelegates (that’s about 20% of all delegates)
  • 405: Unpledged superdelegates
  • 53: Pledged delegates at stake in Oregon’s Democratic primary
  • 12: Superdelegates in Oregon (1 for Obama; 2 for Clinton; 9 undecided)

And, as we have all heard, Obama won Washington State with 68% of the Democratic votes, but among their 17 superdelegates only 3 are for Obama, 5 are for Clinton, and the rest remain undecided.

So just how super are superdelegates, in your estimation? Do you favor the arguments that elected officials and high-ranking party members should be granted a special status in acknowledgement of their experience and expertise? Or would you abolish the whole two-tiered system?

If the final decision is left to the superdelegates — including Oregon’s Secretary of State Bill Bradbury — how should they vote? According to their conscience or the will of their respective states? (And a bonus question, if your head isn’t spinning yet: what should happen with Florida and Michigan?)

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks / Flickr / Creative Commons


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