- Associated Press - Saturday, November 14, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Most Democratic Party leaders in Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa don’t know or don’t want to say which Republican candidate would be the most formidable opponent for their own party’s presidential nominee.

But of superdelegates from the region who answered the question, most thought U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida would make the strongest.

Therese Hunkin of American Samoa said the “worst” candidate for Democrats would be Marco Rubio, as he’s “youthful, telegenic, slick and a formidable debater.”

“He’s able to stand on his feet and communicate well,” said Guam Legislature Sen. Nerissa Underwood of Rubio.

Superdelegates may support the candidate of their choice at the convention, regardless of what happens in the primaries and caucuses. They’re members of Congress, party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee.

Many delegates said they were watching the Republican contest with interest but didn’t know what the outcome would be.

“I have a pretty good pulse on Democratic politics but I’ve learned not to predict Republican politics because I never would have expected Donald Trump to be in the lead and maintain it. So I stay out of the prediction business,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

The Associated Press contacted all 712 superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention next summer, and asked them which Republican they thought would be their party’s strongest opponent in the general election.

Of the 176 superdelegates who answered the question, 65 said Rubio, the first-term senator from Florida, would be the Democrats’ strongest opponent. Forty-five said Ohio Gov. John Kasich would be the strongest, while 36 said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Hawaii has nine superdelegates, while Guam has five and American Samoa four. Four of the 18 Pacific island superdelegates said Rubio would make the strongest opponent. One answered Trump and one said Bush. The others didn’t answer or didn’t know.

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