Saturday, February 16, 2008

DC's Elected Superdelegates - First Add-on Named

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

DC's elected official superdelegates have been the source for some confusion, so let's go through the list:

Eleanor Holmes Norton is DC's Delegate to the House of Representatives, and is considered by the DNC to be a Representative for superdelegate purposes.

Michael Brown and Paul Strauss are DC's Shadow Senators, and are considered by the DNC to be Senators for superdelegate purposes.

DC's Mayor is Adrian Fenty, and he is considered by the DNC to be a Governor for superdelegate purposes.

Which leads us to Mike Panetta, who is the elected U.S. Statehood Representative, or Shadow Representative, for the District of Columbia. He is not a normal superdelegate. However, the Call for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, section I(I), Footnote 5, states:

The District of Columbia shall select its Statehood Representative, if a Democrat, as one of its two (2) unpledged add-on delegates.
So Mike Panetta is the first known add-on superdelegate to the convention. He has endorsed Obama, and we have added him to our list of superdelegate endorsements.

Update 3/22: Looks like Panetta is not (yet) a superdelegate.


davescholnick said...

So then what is a Statehood Representative? Your link to Wikipedia doesn't explain it. Is it the same as a shadow representative?

Unknown said...

Hm. It appears so. I assume the wikipedia author confused "Statehood Rep" and "Shadow Senator", calling Mike Panetta a "Shadow Rep".

The voters of the District of Columbia elect one Shadow Representative who is recognized as equivalent to U.S. Representatives by the District of Columbia, but is not recognized by the U.S. government as an actual member of the House of Representatives. A shadow representative was first elected in 1990. The current shadow representative is Mike Panetta.

Unknown said...

Ah. The offical term that the DNC uses is Statehood Senator and Statehood Rep, but they are more commonly referred to as 'shadow' congressmen. Here is an interesting Washington Post article about what being a shadow Senator is like:

Travis said...

whats the difference between a "Shadow Congressman" and a delegate?

I always thought the DC Delegate, currently Eleanor Holmes Norton was basically a congressman for DC.

KCinDC said...

Eleanor Holmes Norton is DC's delegate to the House. It's a federal position, and she gets a salary and office and staff paid for by the federal government. She's like a representative except she can't vote (except in committee).

Mike Panetta is DC's shadow representative, or statehood representative. Like some territories did before they became states, DC has elected a "shadow" congressional delegation made up of two senators and a representative. His position is unpaid, and it's created by DC and has no federal standing at all. All he can do is try to educate people and lobby Congress about DC's lack of voting rights.

bendygirl said...

This document predates the District's drafted plan for the convention. The add on has not been guaranteed to Mr. Panetta as our approved plan did not originally provide for the add on to be allocatted to Mr. Panetta.

I hope he will be given that spot, however, that would mean that the DC Democratic State Committee would need to move that recommendation to the entire DCDSC body and as of right now, it isn't likely.

Matt said...

Union Girl - thanks for the tip - we're checking with the DNC for clarification.

I_Think_I_Can said...


It turns out that Mike Panetta, the "shadow representative" of the District of Columbia, is NOT a superdelegate.

Various blogs and websites claim that Panetta is a SD, but that seems to be groundless: "April 3, 2008 -- State Committee convenes. Unpledged add-on and pledged PLEO delegates selected."

Source: page 29, here:

Panetta and others refer to his appointment as an SD on or around February 15th, but the DC Democratic party took no such action. A phone call to the DC party offices (202-347-7260) confirms this, and Panetta himself posted a plea on March 3rd for add-on candidates to submit applications by 5 p.m. today, March 7th, at the DC Dem party offices.

Panetta's post on add-ons is here:

As an elected citywide official Panetta may in fact end up as a superdelegate (although DC city council members Jack Evans and chair Vincent Gray probably will seek SD add-on appointments too), but he is not currently an SD, add-on or otherwise; Panetta's post cited above states that DC add-ons will not be determined until April 3rd.

Thusly, for the purposes of accuracy of the list, Panetta should be removed from DemConWatch's list.

I_Think_I_Can said...

Here seems to be the source of confusion over the false assumption that DC "shadow representative" Mike Panetta is somehow one of DC's add-on superdelegates:

From a February 11th press release Panetta posted on PR Newswire, then picked up by a Fox News website, and which prompted other blog commentaries on his 'appointment' as an SD:

"Mike Panetta was elected to the District-wide position of Statehood Representative in the District of Columbia in November 2006. The office is commonly referred to as the U.S. "Shadow" Representative and should not be confused with the position of Delegate to the House of Representatives currently held by Eleanor Holmes Norton. The office has traditionally served as advocate for DC statehood and full congressional voting rights."

Nothing in either Panetta's PR Newswire press release or the Fox web item refer to his automatic SD appointment. Again, as Panetta mentions himself, DC's add-ons won't be determined until the DC State Committee meets on April 3rd.


I_Think_I_Can said...


Even Mike Panetta concedes that for now it's inconclusive as to whether he's a superdelegate.

That's why he's filing an application in-person with the DC democratic party, of which its state committee will decide their 2 add-ons on April 3, 2008.

He may well end up as one given his elected unpaid "shadow" representative position, but there's nothing in the DC delegate selection plan that lists that position as an automatic SD.

See page 8, here:


Matt said...

YesWeWill and IThinkICan - We just put up a new post and have removed Panetta from the lists.