Clinton, Obama wooing super delegates

February 15, 2008 7:18:07 PM PST
This week's Potomac primaries made Barack Obama the Democratic frontrunner. According to the latest Associated Press estimate, Obama has 1,276 delegates and Hillary Clinton has 1,220 -- 2,025 are needed for the nomination.

The race may well be decided by the 800 super delegates at the Denver convention this summer, although one local super delegate is hoping it won't come down to that.

"I am uncommitted," says State Senator Carole Migden, a super delegate.

Senator Migden is one of nearly 800 super delegates. She has been for years. But this year is different. The candidates are not just courting these delegates, they're courting them aggressively.

"I have heard from the candidates on both sides. They're very diligent, they're doing their job, they're doing what they ought to do," says Sen. Migden.

That means phone calls from both Clinton and Obama camps.

It's not against the rules to offer perks or promises to woo a super delegate. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the candidates have already spent $900,000 on political contributions for super delegates. The majority came from Barack Obama.

The money went into the delegates' general fund. Still, Obama trails Clinton's super delegate numbers -- 163 to 242.

"Close to half of them have not made a commitment at all and the ones that have made a commitment can easily change their minds," says ABC7 political consultant Bruce Cain.

Cain says most super delegates hope there's a clear nominee come convention time.

"I think it would be problematic if either Senator Clinton or myself came in with having won the most support from voters and that was somehow overturned by party insiders," said Barack Obama.

While Obama insists voters should be the deciding factor, both candidates are still taking precautions, just in case.

"The campaign called me on Sunday night and said 'hey would you be interested in going to breakfast with Chelsea in the morning?,'" says super delegate Jason Rae.

The 21-year-old super delegate from Wisconsin of course accepted. Though no one has offered to break bread with Migden just yet, as a super delegate, she says that is unimportant.

"We're also, by design, there to try and hone and shape the best national party ticket we can," says Migden.

A ticket the senator is sure will ultimately be shaped by the voters.

LINK: Read the e-mail the Obama campaign sent to supporters
LINK: Money given to super delegates by candidate
LINK: Super delegates public endorsement of candidates
LINK: Read the complete list of California's Super Delegates for 2008