The battle for Democratic delegates

May 29, 2008 8:20:30 PM PDT
In a matter of days the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could be over.

The Democratic Party's Rules and By Laws Committee is set to meet in Washington Saturday. That committee will rule on whether to allow delegates from Florida and Michigan to vote for the nominee.

In case anyone has forgotten, the primaries in Michigan and Florida were thrown out by the Democratic Party because those two states broke the rules and voted early.

Hillary Clinton said at the time it didn't matter. But since she's been trailing Barack Obama, it's mattered more and more.

Hillary Clinton has been pushing for months to get the votes in Florida and Michigan.

"Democrats in those two states cast 2.3 million votes and they deserve to have those votes counted," said Clinton on May 20th.

She knows she needs those two states to even come close to Barack Obama. On Saturday, the Democratic Party's rules and bylaws committee will decide whether to count Florida and Michigan.

Mona Pasquil of Walnut Grove is one of three Californians on the Rules Committee.

"I've been a Hillary supporter for a long time. I've learned from my grandparents and my parents that you always remember those who brought you to the dance," said Pasquil.

Pasquil was Bill Clinton's Western States Political Director in both of his successful campaigns for the White House.

"I would love to see her win at the same time you know the numbers have to add up," said Pasquil.

By numbers, Pasquil is talking about delegates, and even if you count Florida and Michigan Barack Obama will still be in the lead.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says that's enough.

"I think that someone will have the votes to lock it up. This will not go to the convention, we will have a nominee in the month of June," said Pelosi.

Pasquil agrees.

"I think that most of the uncommitted will follow as the speaker said the will and the direction that the pledges are going," said Pasquil.

But that is not good news for the Clinton campaign, which has been contacting Pasquil to make sure she and other Clinton supporters on the rules committee are at the meeting on Saturday.

"A couple of phone calls, but mostly emails and a lot of them," said Pasquil.

It appears the committee is headed for some kind of compromise that will give Clinton some of the delegates from Michigan and Florida, but not enough to affect the outcome.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told KGO radio's Ronn Owens the race has energized the Democratic Party. He told ABC7 News, it'll be decided by the middle of next week.

"Unless something really unusual happens, Obama will likely have the nomination by Tuesday," said Reid.

Senator Reed and Pasquil point out that enthusiasm over this nomination process has resulted in record registration and turnout for the Democratic Party across the country.

That could translate into more votes in November; not only for president but for Democratic candidates running for Congress.

To illustrate how much interest has been generated, the DNC made 500 tickets available for Saturday's committee meeting. They were snapped up in three minutes.


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