Monday, March 24, 2008

A Tale of Two California Congresswomen

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The blogosphere, or at least the Daily Kos part of it, was all aflutter today with the rumor that California Representative Lynn Woolsey was about to pull back her endorsement of Clinton, and instead, endorse the winner of her district, or just endorse the winner of the national pledged delegates. The diarist at Kos said she had talked to someone in Woolsey's office, who said the news release would be out shortly. Other callers, including ourselves, were told the same thing.

So we had a post all ready to go with the news. We just waited for the announcement. And waited. And finally, we contacted Woolsey's office again. (We don't claim to be journalists here, but sometimes we can't help ourselves). And, lo and behold, we found out that the information was false, and that Congresswoman Woolsey was not changing her endorsement.

A communication mistake? A call from the Clinton campaign? Don't know at this point.

But now, the flip side. It turns out another California congresswoman did pull her endorsement of a Democratic presidential candidate today. But it wasn't Woolsey, and the candidate losing the endorsement was not Clinton:

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a San Jose Democrat who will attend the state convention, says superdelegates should back the leader in delegates and popular votes. Lofgren has endorsed Obama, but said she would back Clinton if she took the lead in June.
That statement is no different than Nancy Pelosi has made, and therefore Lofgren will be moved from Obama back to Uncommitted. Tomorrow. Just in case this gets walked back also.

And lets be clear about the reality. While our tracking numbers for Obama will go down by 1, all analyses of the pledged delegate situation show that it is very difficult to come up with a reasonable scenario that shows Clinton catching up to Obama in pledged delegates. So a Woolsey move from Clinton to "pledged delegate leader" would actually be more significant.

But Woolsey didn't move, and Lofgren did. So Obama's numbers will go down by 1, and Lofgren becomes the 4th superdelegate to commit to support the national pledged delegate leader.


Unknown said...

At this point, pledging to the national pledged delegate leader is the same thing as pledging to Obama. It's semantics more than anything. Clinton can't catch Obama in pledged delegates unless Obama drops out of the race.

Put it this way, if all remaining superdelegates pledged right now to support the pledged delegate leader, Clinton would have no choice but to drop out of the race.

You're making a little more out of the "switch" when it's actually good for Obama that more superdelegates make this the crux of their decision.

hockeypuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Independent Voter said...

I didn't see anything biased in that post. He is trying to stay as neutral as possible. If you couldn't tell in the first part of the post he was actually trying to confirm that a congresswoman had switched from Hillary or not, and they didn't.

I am 1000% for Obama but I didn't see any bias in that whatsoever.

Wayne Turiansky said...

Rather than placing these folks back into uncommitted, why not start a fourth category?

Richard said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but Lofgren's statement that superdelegates should back "the leader in delegates and popular votes" seems to me to leave open the possibility that she would vote for Clinton even without the delegate lead if she should gain the lead in popular votes. Not that a "popular vote" lead is an even remotely valid argument (or, for that matter, something which can even be calculated in a mixed primary-caucus system).

Unknown said...

Yeah, sorry guys but Lofgren should stay in the Obama column so long as you keep people like Michael Thurmond in the Clinton column. Thurmond said he would vote for Clinton right now, but wouldn't promise to vote for her at the convention. Lofgren's committment is actually more concrete because Clinton cannot overtake Obama in pledged delegates and almost certainly will not overtake him in popular vote (absent a Florida and Michigan do over).

Mark Tyson said...

I like the idea of adding a new 'vote for the pledged delegate leader' category, particularly if you are going to pull them from one candidate or another when announced this way.

Being as this is a trackable metric, it would make things much clearer, particularly when trying to understand how many superdelegates are truly uncommitted.

KCinDC said...

Mark, the problem is there are various sorts of leaders. Superdelegates can say they'll vote for the winner of their district (if they're a House member), their state, or the national contest, and they can determine the winner by pledged delegates or by various (mostly bogus) ways of calculating the popular vote. It's not clear how to present that information.

Unknown said...

In other words, a Superdelegate can vote however he or she pleases, and then point to some metric to "justify" the vote. I was just voting in accordance with the will of {fill in the blank.}

That's not to say that they need to justify their vote or give any reason at all for their vote, but politicians being politicians, it's always important to have a justification in case your stance comes back to bite you down the road.

Also with politicians being politicians it seems that most PLEOs wouldn't want to hitch their wagon to a candidate until the contest is over. It seems it could make for an uncomfortable relationship if turns out you didn't back the person your party ends up nominating, and that person wins the general election.

Woodwards Friend said...

As an Obama supporter I don't have any problem with your reclassification of this superdelegate. Given the fluid nature of the superdelegate process I think it's best to set a high threshold for adding a super to either candidates column.

That said a pledge to support the delegate leader column is probably appropriate.

B said...

Might not be a bad idea to create a fifth "candidate" category with the number of people pledging their support to the delegate leader.

hockeypuck said...

Independent voter -

Apologies. It's not just this thread at all; and you're right --- this thread alone shows no bias.

Just an overall observation (or even just a hunch) from reading this board day after day since the election began.

What do I know. Maybe he's the biggest Obama supporter on the web.

(And maybe I just won the mega lotto ;o)

Rock on Democrats!

p.s. Just saw on MSNBC that Maria Cantwell is re-thinking her S/D support of HRC since Senator Obama won every county in Washington state.

hockeypuck said...

There ya go Independent Voter-

I deleted my hunch (just for you) ;o)

~ ~ ~ ~


John said...

How about Maria Cantwell?

“If we have a candidate who has the most delegates and the most states,” the Democratic party should come together around that candidate, Cantwell said. The pledged delegate count will be the most important factor, she said, because that is the basis of the nominating process.

seenos said...

Regarding Lynn Woolsey, I just got the following response from her to a letter I wrote in February:

Dear Redacted,

Thank you for contacting me regarding my endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 Presidential election; I value your concern and input on this issue.

Across this country voters are energized and excited about this primary. They’re not only turning out in record numbers to vote, but thousands have gotten involved with the campaigns as volunteers, making the Democratic Party stronger than ever.

After all of this excitement, no one wants our party’s nominee to be chosen by the votes of a handful of super delegates. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I won’t stand for it either. That’s why, while I remain a strong Hillary Clinton supporter, I will cast my vote at the convention for the candidate that is chosen not through back room deals, but by the votes of the American public.

Again, thank you for your interest in this matter.


Lynn Woolsey

Matt said...

Zachary - You have a link for Thurmond?