Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tennessee add-on superdelegates named

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

We welcome to the circle of superdelegates 2 add-ons from Tennessee:

Vicky Harwell of Pulaski, who is president of the Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women, and Jerry Lee of Nashville, president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council.
Here's what's interesting. There have been writers at OpenLeft and TPM who have "assigned" the add-ons to each candidate based on who won the state. But I think what happened in Tennessee today shows you can't assume that. Clinton won the primary. And the add-ons? One is leaning towards Clinton, but not quite there, and the other is clearly undecided:
Harwell said after being elected that "at this point, I'm leaning toward Sen. Clinton." Harwell said she had met Clinton personally and found her to be a "dynamic, dedicated Democratic woman."
...
Lee said he intends to "listen very closely" to both Democratic frontrunners in the coming weeks and then vote at the convention "for the one I think is most electable in November."

The national AFL-CIO has yet to endorse either candidate, though it may do so before the convention, Lee said. The national labor organization's endorsement "would influence my decision," he said.

These are the types of add-ons we would see in years when no one cared who the add-ons were: Key bigwigs in state Democratic politics. This is a primary state, and the add-ons were selected by the State Executive Committee, where, I guess, longstanding state political issues and customs probably outweigh the transient pressures of the closest Presidential nomination in decades. For states operating in this way, I don't think we can assume anything about the add-ons in advance.

11 comments:

ClaudeB said...

Don't forget that the nomination of these two add-on was made by the state committee, not by a convention where the delegates are pledged to one candidate or another. I think it is possible to determine which states will send their UAD "committed" to a candidate, just like the UAD in Alabama and Mike Panetta in DC.

Ceci said...

In defense of FlyOnTneWall, the writer at TPM -- his UAD predictions aren't based on who takes the state. They're based on who is responsible for selecting a state's UADs. (And who those selectors are backing, if known.) So note, for instance, that FlyOnTneWall predictions for Tennessee's 2 UADs have always been "Undetermined".

Matt said...

But later on, in that article, he (or she) says: "Nevertheless, it seemed a worthwhile exercise to award all 62 of these UADs by giving the remaining 32 to the candidates who won their respective states."

I think Tennessee proves you shouldn't go to that next level.

KCinDC said...

Yeah, I wouldn't make that assumption for DC either. Despite the overwhelming 76% vote for Obama here, it's unclear how many Clinton supporters there are on the DC Democratic State Committee (yes, "State" even though we're not a state, for some reason).

Leo said...

Seriously matt? I don't think anyone with reading comprehension skills above a sixth grade level is going to be confused by FlyOnTheWall's article. He makes predictions, which are worked out in some detail and which you offer no reason to disagree with. Five paragraphs and one lengthy chart are dedicated to this part of his article. Then, in the next-to-last paragraph of the piece, FlyOnTheWall offers one hypothetical scenario where he shows what the effect would be if each state assigned their UADs based on the popular vote.

You, of course, pull that last paragraph to criticize without any acknowledgement one way or another of the bulk of the article, which sets out exactly why something like what happened in TN is possible.

Brian Watkins said...

This is excellent coverage, DCW. Thanks, guys.

State executive committee appointments will be interesting like this. Most likely, both of these Tennessee delegates will lean Clinton but without a public commitment, won't be counted as Clinton delegates until after the pledged delegates have determined the nomination.

In New Hampshire, the add-on will be determined by district delegates who are currently divided 6-6. How will they resolve a tied vote? Maybe we'll get a sincere undecided delegate there or maybe the two Edwards delegates will join to elect their own choice of add-on.

Doug said...

You are correct not to make any assumptions about a state executive committee. Executive committees are the unelected politboros that actually control the party, and they prefer to operate in the shadows.

Of course, the DNC has an Executive Committee too. It is playing an important role in controlling the nominating process. It was the Executive Committee, not the whole DNC, which appointed the leadership of the other important committees like the Credentials Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Platform Committee.

But the DNC does not want you to know who their Executive Committee members are. The minutes of their meetings are never posted. If you know who they were and how they operate, you might get uppity and start demanding accountability from them.

Rank-and-file party members are generally unaware of who is really running the show, which is amusing from my viewpoint as an independent voter. But if I were a Democrat, I'd be asking questions like - WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE DNC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE?

Matt said...

Leo - Fly said "it was a worthwhile exercise". I'm providing data that it might not be worthwhile. I did it because I don't think that way of predicting the add-ons is valid. OpenLeft followed up on that post with a similar methodology, and I don't think it's a methodology we should be using. The first part of Fly's post I don't have enough information to agree or disagree on yet, so I didn't focus on it.

Leo said...

Well, we may have to agree to disagree on what constitutes a "worthwhile excercise."

I tend to think that looking at a lot of counterfactuals and possible scenarios is an important part of understanding a problem. Your site does an excellent job of keeping an up to date snapshot of the delegate count, but understanding where the race is going requires more than that. That means projecting, testing hypotheticals, and generally playing with the ways the numbers may go.

TheInsider said...

Oh, and her name is spelled Vicky Harwell, not Vicki. Just thought I'd share...

Matt said...

Fixed, thanks.