Thursday, February 28, 2008

Superdelegate from Maine moves to Florida - Superdelegate total now 794

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Yesterday Tom Walsh of the Ellsworth American reported that Maine was going to lose two of their superdelegates because they were no longer registered to vote in Maine.

Two of the eight prominent Democrats appointed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to represent Maine as super delegates at the Democratic National Convention aren’t eligible to do so under the DNC’s own residency requirements.

Neither former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell nor former Maine Governor Kenneth Curtis is a legal resident of Maine, as required by DNC rules stipulating that super delegates must “legally reside in their respective state.”

The DNC defines legal residency through voter registration. Neither Mitchell nor Curtis is registered to vote in Maine.
Curtis told the paper the following:
“It really doesn’t matter what state I’m from,” he said. “I am a delegate because of my term as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I could just as well attend the convention with the Florida delegation, and, at this point, I’m not 100 percent sure that I will go. I’ll go only if my vote is meaningful.”
Sorry Ken... you're wrong. The DNC has confirmed to 2008 Democratic Convention Watch that they have officially moved Ken Curtis from Maine to Florida. Curtis has pledged his support for Hillary Clinton. Even as a Distinguished Party Leader, if a superdelegate is from Florida or Michigan they do not get a vote.

DNC Rule 9A (5) confirm that as a Florida resident Curtis has lost his superdelegate vote.
A. The procedure to be used for certifying unpledged party leader and elected official delegates is as
Not later than March 1, 2008, the Secretary of the Democratic National Committee shall officially
confirm to each State Democratic Chair the names of the following unpledged delegates who
legally reside in their respective state and who shall be recognized as part of their state’s
delegation unless any such member has publicly expressed support for the election of, or has
endorsed, a presidential candidate of another political party:
5. All former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all
former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of
the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and
all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee.
Thanks to commenters Craig and CBH for helping out with this.

Another thing this move does is change the superdelegate total to 794. I'm amazed that we're still seeing most news organizations still using the 796 total for superdelegates. With the passing of Tom Lantos the number went down to 795. Now with Curtis being moved to Florida it goes to 794.

Our totals now are 239 superdelegates for Clinton and 184 for Obama.

We'll see how long it takes for anybody to catch up to this.

Update: Georgia Representative John Barrow has just endorsed Obama
Obama now has 185 superdelegates to Clinton's 239.

Update II: Tom Walsh of the Ellsworth American just let me know that the DNC has started checking the legal residency by voter registration of all superdelegates.

Update III: And, of course, the total number of delegates is down to 4,047, which means it now takes exactly 2,024 delegates to win the nomination. (The number including MI and FL stays the same, as Curtis will have his vote in the Florida delegation is seated).

Update IV (March 3): And for those of you who just won't take our word for it:
Here’s what’s interesting: By moving Curtis out of Maine and into Florida, it drops the number of votes needed to win the Democratic nomination. 2025 is no longer the magic number. It’s now 2024.

Moreover, it Curtis (a Hillary supporter) is now ineligible to vote to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations at the convention. And since he’s now a Florida superdelegate, if the sanctions remain his vote won’t count at all.

Remember, we reported the story here 4 days ago. And kudos for reporter Tom Walsh for breaking the story in the first place.


CBH said...

Why would Curtis lose his status as and SD if he has moved to FL? His SD status stems from his leadership of the DNC, not his status status as a resident of FL. Your "confirmation" from the DNC is hardly confirmation. They are simply stating the obvious, which is that he cannot sit as a FL superdelegate...but he would not be sitting as a SD from FL, he would be sitting as an SD from the DNC. Under your assumption, if Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter were to reside in FL, they would not have an SD vote even though they were POTUS, and I don't believe that is true at all.

Howard said...

It's pretty sure to bump back up to 795 after the special election for Lantos' seat in April/June. I wonder if the campaigns are already working Jackie Speier for an endorsement?

Oreo said...

So by what you're saying all of the DNC members will be seated from FL and MI?

laurie in maine said...

So are the little papers across the country doing a likewise residency check of their Superdelegates?
Hard to believe only Maine has former elected officials who've flown the coop.
But I couldn't be happier to have Curtis in Florida since his vote was set to wipe out a few thousand of us little people!

CBH said...


I don't think that's the case. Curtis is an SD because of his status as a "party elder" not because he is a sitting member of the DNC from any particular state.

Unknown said...

Curtis' status as a super delegate stems from the fact that he is a former governor, not because he is an at-large leader within the DNC. This status is further limited by the residency requirement's rules that all DNC members must respect--in other words, he is a super delegate because of his past political status and his leadership within the DNC, but the power of that super delegate status is limited by and expressed only as a representative of the state where he resides. He resides in Florida.


CBH said...

Craig or Oreo, can you provide the rules that confirm this? I'd be curious to see the specific language.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


The DNC/DNCC does not have a very useful site. So ...

Wikipedia has a great write-up on the DNC/DNCC. Unfortunately, not all their links work. In particular, the link for the rules is inoperable. However, it is a minor problem that renders it inoperable. (If you strip out the 'www' from the URL it attempts to send you to then you will gain access--the link is below).

Two links--the first one is where the wikipedia tries to send you for the rules. The second link is that actual DNC rules document. (I tried to embed these two links in an earlier post--just a few minutes ago--but discovered that the entire URL did not appear. So, I have put hard returns into the URL. If you want to use these you will need to cut and paste to an editor and make them into a single URL again and then paste to your browser. Sorry for the convoluted links... *g*).

Good luck.

Unknown said...


See rule 9, page 10. I wish it was more meaningful regarding exclusions and exceptions, but they aren't. In fact, [my] quick read suggests that Curtis may have a case that can be argued either way.

CBH said...


I actually found the same links on Wikipedia. The specific rule is 9.A.(4) or (5) and I happily stand corrected...another notch in Obama's column.

math 101 said...

Superdelegates: Clinton 239, 185 Obama unanounced 370 (+-1). Well I like this form reminds us how far to go. (assuming no side changes hahahaha!)

Travis said...

I dont think Curtis was saying that it doesnt matter where he lives he still gets to vote. He was simply saying he's still a superdelegate which he is, which all of those from FL and MI are, at this moment they just cant vote, which he acknowledged at the end of the quote when he said he doesnt even know if he will attend if his vote wont be counted.

Oreo said...

Thanks Craig and CBH. I added your findings to the post.

Subvertigo said...

Where is the official comunication from DNC (about Curtis)? Link?

Matt said...

Some reponses to comments above:
David - You better believe they're working Speier, as well as Carson's grandson who is favored to pick the Indiana seat.

Craig wrote: "Curtis' status as a super delegate stems from the fact that he is a former governor, not because he is an at-large leader within the DNC." Not true. He's a superdelegate because he is a former chairman of the DNC.

Subv: The communication from the DNC is by email - nothing we can link to, so it does not meet Wikipedia standards, if that's why you're asking. By the way, you're doing good work on the list over there.

Subvertigo said...

Thank you Matt. Obviously also your work is great.

Pinyan said...

I've got a question as pertains to the "Not later than March 1" language in the DNC rules. All these special elections to fill House seats which will occur between now and the convention. My reading (which carries no weight with anyone) is that you have to be a PLEO on March 1, so that Democrats who take office after March 1 are not superdelegates. Is there confirmation one way or the other on this?

Matt said...

Excellent question. The supers are first "certified" on March 1, but changes can continue to be made up to the start of the convention. That text is in the rules, but don't have access to them right now.