OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Many Oklahoma delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia say Hillary Clinton’s speech culminated a week of activity that will help unite the party behind her, but not all of the state’s delegates are ready to support the party’s nominee.
Some Oklahoma delegates for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Friday they simply cannot support Clinton and will instead focus on helping other Democrats on the ballot in November.
Nadine Gallagher, an Oklahoma City Public Schools teacher and a Sanders delegate, said she felt alienated during the entire convention and doesn’t plan to vote for Clinton in November.
“It is very unlikely that I will vote for Hillary Clinton for a variety of reasons,” Gallagher said. “Some of it is what the (Democratic National Committee) did to rig this election. Plus, my vote in Oklahoma for Hillary Clinton doesn’t really matter.”
A Democratic candidate for president hasn’t won Oklahoma since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and President Barack Obama failed to win a single one of the state’s 77 counties in 2008 and 2012.
Gallagher said she’ll likely vote for Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in November. If Johnson gets 2.5 percent of the vote in Oklahoma, the Libertarian Party will remain a recognized party in the state, and Gallagher says that could benefit Democratic candidates down the road.
“If they get enough votes to remain on the ballot, the Libertarians typically will split the Republican vote,” Gallagher said.
But several Sanders delegates said that while they were disappointed their candidate didn’t win, they fully intend to support Clinton in November.
“I’m obviously attracted to Sen. Sanders for many reasons, but I’m not going to vote for Donald Trump,” said Tom Guild, a Sanders delegate and a Democratic candidate for Congress. “Of the other candidates on the ballot, even in other states, Secretary Clinton is going to be the closest to getting some of the balls I care about deeply down the field.”
Arturo Delgado, a Clinton delegate from Oklahoma City, said he believes about half of the Sanders delegates are fully prepared to back her in November, while some of the others may still need time to process Sanders’ loss.
“I think some were just so sold on Sanders it will take a little longer, maybe the next few months before the election,” said Delgado, a field representative for Laborers International Union of North America. “I think their vote is very important, and if they don’t come along, it’s very sad.”
Rep. George Young, another Clinton delegate, said Clinton delivered a solid speech Thursday night and that the entire convention did a lot to unite Democrats, especially powerful stories from First Lady Michelle Obama, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Pakistan-born Khizr Khan, a Muslim American whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
“All of those speakers were really good,” said Young, D-Oklahoma City. “I think the Democratic Party coming out of yesterday should feel pretty good as far as unity goes.”
This version corrects the story to say Arturo Delgado is from Oklahoma City, not Tulsa.
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