Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rhode Island Chair under pressure on open superdelegate slot

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

There are a few open superdelegate positions, and the Rhode Island Democratic State Chair gets to fill one:

With the Democratic presidential nomination up for grabs, it may be the most coveted of all 2008 political plums: the one vacant “super delegate” position left among the 32 delegates Rhode Island Democrats will send to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August.

The slot is open because Edna O’Neill Mattson, the party’s longtime vice chairwoman, has moved up to become the state’s Democratic National Committeewoman, a position that makes her an automatic super delegate.

Her spot as vice chairwoman of the Democrat State Committee is vacant. Democratic State Chairman William Lynch of Pawtucket has the authority to name a new vice chair, which in the weeks before the March 4 presidential primary, is not a decision he is aching to make.“It has become a headache,” said Lynch in an interview yesterday. “It is like what happens when a governor appoints a judge: you make one person happy and 20 people mad at you.”
The new Rhode Island super delegate must be a woman, according to local party rules, Lynch said, but except for that provision he is free to select anyone he wants. Lynch said he has been in negotiations with top party leaders, but also said yesterday that given the pitched presidential battle between Obama and Clinton, he knows he can’t please everybody.

When asked why he doesn’t appoint somebody neutral in the presidential contest, Lynch said, “I don’t know if there is anybody left who is neutral. Everybody seems to have a candidate at this point.” Including Lynch, who supports Clinton.
“I’d like to get this done before the primary,” said Lynch. “I don’t want to keep getting the phone calls. Everybody has a candidate.

Does that make Lynch a super-superdelegate, since he gets to name another one?

Update: The Rhode Island vacancy was filled last week:
State Rep. Grace Diaz, D-Providence, a leader in the state’s Latino community, will be appointed vice chairwoman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party. By virtue of the post, she will also become a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention.
Diaz last year made a “personal commitment” to support New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is in a close race with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the nomination.
We added Diaz to our the endorse list on Feb 18.


inkboi said...

i think this is bullshit obama telling all of hillary clinton black superdelegates to join him because obama is black and they need 2 join his team because there black also omfg if that's not racist i dont know what

LiberianLady said...

I do think any superdelegate switching because they're under pressure because Obama is black should be considered racist. They can decide to change if they think he is more viable than Hillary. Otherwise, what we've been hearing is fundamentally wrong. These things go both ways.

Unknown said...

First off Obama's not telling anyone they need to join his team because they are black or otherwise... most of these delegates that are switching because either the populous that they represent is in favor of Obama or they have a reason to change. It is up to the delegate on who they vote for and both black and white delegates are switching from Hillary because they assumed that Hillary was the chosen candidate even before the primaries started. Now that might not be the case.

jimgundlach said...

In Alabama we have Joe Reed as a super delegate committed to Clinton and he also ran and won as a pledged delegate for Clinton in the 3rd CD. So we have one person going to the convention voting twice for Clinton from a district that supported Obama over Clinton 61% to 39%.

Matt said...

jimgundlach - Can you provide a source for Reed's election as a pledged delegate? I would assume it's against the rules for a person to have two votes, and something about this doesn't make sense.

jimgundlach said...

Here is the link to his super delegate status:

and here is the link to his listing as an elected delegate:

Joe Reed and Joe L Reed are indeed the same person. Not only will he apparently vote for Clinton twice but he is from a district that voted 61% Obama and 39% Clinton.

Matt said...

I'm checking for final verification, but a little Googling shows that Joe L. Reed, a long-time fixture in Alabama Democratic politics, has a son, Joe M. Reed, an attorney in Montgomery. If you have proof they're the same person, please provide it, but I expect we'll find out it's a father/son deal. As for the district, you say it went for Obama 61/39. The link you provided says Obama got 3 of 5 delegates. That's just about a perfect allocation, so it's hard to argue the son's vote. And as for daddy's superdelegate vote not following the preference of his district or state, well, that is THE topic in delegate-land these days, isn't it.

jimgundlach said...

It looks like I was wrong, the son Joe M Reed does appear to be the elected delegate.

ericaequites said...

Ms. Mattson was chosen last week. I heard it on whjj 920, and it's probably in the ProJo back files (Providence Journal).
I'm a lifelong registered Republican reluctantly voting for McCain. He's soft on immigration and tax reform.
I do really enjoy this blog. Divide and conquer still works five hundred years later(cf. Machivelli's The Prince).

ericaequites said...

Also, pledged super delegate Providenece Mayor David Cicilline may well switch his alligence to Obama. He was disinvited from a Clinton event scheduled for RIC (Rhode Island College) 2/24/2008 because the Providence firemen would be there protesting their lack of a labor contract.
Disinviting is rude. Hillary's true colors fly again.
This may well affect the gay RI vote. Cicilline is the highest openly gay elected official in RI.

Matt said...

The opening was filled by Grace Diaz. The post has been updated to show this.