Vermont Democratic super delegates want candidate chosen before convention

03/31/08 5:49PM By Bob Kinzel
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(Host) Vermont's Democratic super delegates have very different ideas about the factors they should consider in selecting their party's presidential nominee.

But they do agree that a candidate needs to be chosen well before the Democratic National Convention in late August.

VPR's Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Most political observers agree that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will be able secure their party's nomination by the time that Puerto Rico holds the last event of the primary season on June 7th.

One reason why is because 20% of the Party's overall delegates aren't elected, they're appointed. These are the so called "super delegates." Basically they're elected officials and party members from each state.

Congressman Peter Welch is a super delegate who supports Obama. Welch says it will be a big mistake if the super delegates try to override the will of voters:

(Welch) "If the vote of the people across this country was reversed by super delegates in back room dealing or muscling on the Michigan and Florida primary situation, it would create a lot of bitterness. So I think the best advice for the super delegates is pay the most attention to who got the most votes, who has the most elected delegates in the caucuses and primaries."

(Kinzel) Billi Gosh is a member of the Democratic National Committee and the only Vermont super delegate who supports Hillary Clinton.

She says she's intrigued by a new proposal to hold a mini convention of all the super delegates after the final primary in early June. She thinks it might be the best way to determine who should be the Party's presidential nominee.

(Gosh) "I do like the idea a lot and I am willing to travel to wherever this meeting will be to be part of that decision, because I want to hear all the arguments directly from the super delegates without pundits telling us what to think, without the media telling us what to think and what is the right thing to do. And I want it to be resolved before the convention."

(Kinzel) Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis thinks it will be a disaster for the Democrats if the super delegates select a candidate who didn't win the most elected delegates. Davis says the Democrats should reconsider the whole idea of even having super delegates.

(Davis) "So I think the Democrats need to think very carefully about the long term future of the party, not just in this fall's campaign but beyond the 2008 election in terms of the role of the super delegates and should the super delegates act as a body that trumps the wishes of the voters in the primaries and caucuses."

(Kinzel) The Democrats will hold ten more primaries and caucuses in the next two months. The first one will take place in Pennsylvania on April 22nd.

For Vermont Public Radio I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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