PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Ten of the 13 “superdelegates” that Oregon will send to next year’s Democratic National Convention are so far remaining uncommitted to any of the presidential candidates.
Three, however, say they’ll support Hillary Rodham Clinton. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Kurt Schrader have thrown their support to the former secretary of state.
“I met her in 1988 when she was the chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and was very impressed with her then,” Rosenblum wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “I continue to be. Of course, it would be great to have our first female president! (And, about time.)”
Superdelegates are delegates to the Democratic National Convention who can support the candidate of their choice, regardless of what happens in the primaries and caucuses. They are members of Congress and other elected officials, party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee.
With 712 votes at the convention next summer, superdelegates make up about 30 percent of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.
AP reporters reached out to all 712 superdelegates during the past two weeks, and heard back from more than 80 percent of them, including all 13 from Oregon. The delegates were asked which candidate they plan to support at the convention next summer.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: 8.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: 2.
Oregon will send 74 delegates and four alternates to the Democratic convention next July in Philadelphia. Most of them will be bound to support the winner of the May 17 primary, but the 13 superdelegates can support the candidate of their choice.
The superdelegates are Oregon’s six Democratic members of Congress, Rosenblum, Gov. Kate Brown and members of the Democratic National Committee. Most said they’re still making up their minds, will keep their thoughts to themselves until after the primary or will support the candidate chosen by voters.
Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio did not commit. A spokeswoman for DeFazio said he rarely makes endorsements in presidential primaries and doesn’t plan to this year.
Likewise, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are on the sidelines for now.
“(Merkley) thinks it is valuable for the candidates to lay out their visions and ideas for the country and would like to see that process play out,” said Mike Zamore, Merkley’s chief of staff.
Last week, Merkley teamed with Sanders for a high-profile announcement that they’d introduced a bill to fight climate change.
Lupita Maurer, a member of the Democratic National Committee, said she’s struggling to decide. She said she’s doing a lot of listening to other Democrats, because she represents them on the DNC.
“They both have pros and cons,” Maurer said of Clinton and Sanders. “I’m going to have a really hard time deciding.”
Oregon’s primary comes late in the nominating season, when both parties have generally coalesced around one candidate. In 2008, however, Clinton and Barack Obama were locked in a tight race and battled fiercely for Oregon’s delegates.
Obama won handily, 59 percent to 41 percent.
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