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What is it with Maine and their superdelegates? First, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell moves from Maine to New York. Ok, no big deal. Then, former DNC Chairman Ken Curtis moves from Maine to Florida. Now that is a big deal, because Curtis loses his superdelegate vote as the Florida delegation gets no votes, pledged or unpledged, under the current rules. And Curtis has endorsed Clinton.
Now we get word of more confusion in the Maine delegation. Lists of Maine's DNC members from last year have Jennifer DeChant as a DNC member. However, lists from earlier this year showed she was replaced by Rita Moran. But the most recent DNC lists show DeChant back as a DNC member. What's going on?
Tom Walsh of the Ellsworth American is trying to get to the bottom of it:
The latest roster of Maine super delegates provided by the DNC also includes the name of Jennifer DeChant of Bath. She is shown as a Maine super delegate by virtue of being the Maine Democratic State Committee’s female representative to the DNC. One problem: She’s not.DeChant has not endorsed either candidate to our knowledge. And by the way, if you want to know who Moran supports, frankly, we'd like to know also:
Having missed three consecutive state committee meetings, she was replaced by Rita Moran of Winthrop through a Jan. 13 state committee written ballot election that was sanctioned by the committee’s parliamentarian. Moran’s election is now being disputed.
In a recent letter to Maine Democratic Party Chairman John Knutson of Brooklin, state Rep. Stan Gerzofsky (D-Brunswick) asks Knutson to "immediately void the results of the DNC election from the Jan. 13, 2008, meeting, prevent Rita Moran from taking the DNC seat, and call for another election with sufficient notice."
Gerzofsky claims there was insufficient notice of the Jan. 13 election and challenges the claim that DeChant missed three consecutive mandatory meetings. He also feels DeChant shouldn’t be penalized for illness related to pregnancy complications.
DeChant told The Ellsworth American that, while she did miss three consecutive State Committee meetings, she was unaware that all were mandatory. Two of her absences, she said, were related to illness associated with pregnancy. "I was too sick to attend," she said. "This whole thing is very nebulous. Rules are only as good as the ethics they uphold."
Moran, meanwhile, has kept a low profile. She feels confident that the Jan. 13 election result that saw her oust DeChant will be upheld. "I’m puzzled and distressed by this whole thing," she said. "But it’s also very difficult to look at it dispassionately."
Arden Manning, the state party’s executive director, told The Ellsworth American that he and a DNC representative agreed last week to continue to show DeChant as a Maine super delegate until the issue is resolved on or before the next state committee meeting on March 16.
Manning said he saw no reason to replace DeChant’s name on Maine’s super delegate roster with Moran’s name until the matter is resolved. Curiously, the state party’s Web site lists Moran as the incumbent female representative to the DNC, not DeChant.
I believe that the minority deserves a voice, as much as the majority does. If fewer than four Maine superdelegates pledge for Senator Clinton, I will join and become the fourth. If fewer than six Maine superdelegates pledge for Senator Obama, I will join them to represent the majority opinion which, I believe, deserves the majority vote.”Finally, Ellsworth's paper tears into the DNC over the confusion:
If the way the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is being managed is any indicator, it’s probably a good thing for his patients that its chairman, Dr. Howard Dean, no longer practices medicine.Update 3/17: DeChant has gotten her seat back. She has replaced Moran on our lists.
In our ongoing effort to understand and explain the DNC’s arrogant "super delegate" structure, especially as it impacts Maine’s delegation to the upcoming Democratic National Convention, The Ellsworth American has requested information from the DNC three times in the last 10 days. Three times such information was provided. And all three times it was wrong.