DENVER | A coalition of Democrats who can’t get over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton losing the presidential nomination is trying to install her as the party’s majority leader in the Senate.
The groups are calling on Mrs. Clinton’s backers to withhold support for the party’s senatorial candidates across the country unless the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the chamber’s Democrats pledge to elect the former first lady as majority leader, a post currently held by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.
“The [Democratic National Committee] may have undermined 18,000,000 voters, but we can do our best to make sure that the DSCC and the Senate don’t do the same,” the Clinton backers said in an e-mail to supporters Friday, a day after Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party convention here.
Mrs. Clinton earned 18 million votes in the Democratic primaries, but lost a bruising and protracted battle with Mr. Obama, who earned more delegates overall from the primaries and caucuses.
“Please contact the DSCC and tell them that we will only support them (and their candidates) once it has been made clear to us that the Senate Democrats will elect Hillary Clinton as their leader in January,” said the e-mail, which was signed by two pro-Clinton groups, the PUMAs, an acronym for “Party Unity My Ass,” and the Just Say No Deal Coalition.
Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, has never endorsed the groups’ efforts.
“We have a majority leader, and Senator Clinton looks forward to continuing to work with leader Reid next year in support of President Obama,” Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said.
Mr. Reid and the DSCC did not immediately respond.
The coalition of angry Clintonites has accused the Democratic Party of stealing the presidential nomination from Mrs. Clinton and were further outraged when Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama passed over Mrs. Clinton as his running mate in favor of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.
Many of these renegade Democrats vow to back likely Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain or sit out the election, despite Mrs. Clinton’s wholehearted endorsement of Mr. Obama and her speech Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in which she made a plea for party unity.
They buttressed the argument for Mrs. Clinton’s promotion by pointing to the example of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who served as Senate majority leader before becoming President Kennedy’s vice president.
“Like LBJ in the late 1950s, Hillary Clinton can lead this country from that seat of power and we 18,000,000 will have our voices better served and respected,” they said in the e-mail.