Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Mexico add-on named

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

New Mexico's add-on superdelegate is Laurie Weahkee. She is currently the lead organizer for the Native American Voters Alliance, which is a core project of the Sacred Alliance for Grassroots Equality (SAGE Council).

Initial research does not show that Weahkee has endorsed a candidate.

Update: Turns out, there was great drama behind the choice of Weahkee:

The New Mexico Democratic Party's central committee, during a contentious meeting in Albuquerque on Saturday, elected the 42-year-old Cochiti and Zuni Pueblo member as the state's 12th and final superdelegate to this summer's presidential nominating convention in Denver. Weahkee, who is also half Navajo, said she has yet to commit to either candidate, adding that Native American issues, including sovereignty and health care, are her top concerns.

"My first loyalty is really to the Native American agenda. I'm really going to be listening to both candidates to find out what their positions are ... how hard they're willing to go to bat for the Native American people," Weahkee said after winning a 71-59 vote over Charlotte Little of Taos and San Felipe pueblos at the meeting in Northeast Albuquerque.

Weahkee's election followed an in-party spat about the rules for selecting the delegate: A group of Clinton backers argued that nominations for the so-called "unpledged, add-on" superdelegate post could come from the 200-plus central committee members at the meeting, the majority of whom were allied with Clinton.

But state party Chairman Brian Colón said national party rules specified that only he could nominate the candidates. So the voting was limited to the two Native American women he had selected with the aim of adding diversity to the state's delegate list.

Rumors flew through some circles at the meeting that both women were Obama backers. Colón said both were uncommitted, adding that others suspected him of stacking the deck for Clinton. "I felt it was critical we had Native Americans in our delegation," Colón said, adding that selecting an uncommitted delegate keeps New Mexico "relevant and part of the conversation" among the party's presidential candidates. - ABQJournal Online (subscription only)
Well, I don't know that national party rules specify who can nominate the candidates, but New Mexico's own Delegate Selection Plan clearly says:
Unpledged add-on delegate candidates will be nominated by the State Chair in
consultation with the Executive Committee on April 26, 2008.
This is just another example where state party politics overrides the presidential campaign, and the projections of add-ons some made based on who won a state are turning out not be very valid.

Monday update: A New Mexico political blogger writes:
Is that "unpledged" delegate picked by state Dems Saturday to go to the national convention really neutral in the race between Obama and Clinton? If she isn't for Obama, why did the Clintonistas take the gloves off in trying to stop her from being selected? - New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan

8 comments:

Rich Schellhase said...

hmmmmmm...Native American groups have come out HUGE for Obama thus far...I wonder if she will just wait until after June 3rd to endorse someone

Tim Mullen said...

I hope not rick - the sooner these superdelegates get off their butts and endorse Obama the sooner we can concentrate on what we should be doing - beating McCain!

Dan said...

Rich- I'm an Obama supporter, but I'm curious where you're getting your information from. I've heard all along that Native Americans have been expected to support Clinton...but maybe that's not true? I can't find any hard numbers (the exit polls from AZ and NM don't list Native Americans as a separate ethnic group).

Chin Shih Tang said...

Why don't you take her at face value? She's going to see what leverage she has with both candidates on Native American issues before she endorses. The same was probably true of her opponent.

The question is what issue specifically will float her boat, so to speak. I'd say it might be in relation to the major coal plant in the Four Corners area which is of great concern to the Navajo.

Meanwhile, hats off to Brian Colon, who did something right. He owed New Mexico Democrats one after that primary fiasco.

Wolle said...

...and health care, are her top concerns.

If health care is one of her top concerns, she will probably vote for HRC.

I'm not sure how Native American groups voted in the primaries...

Amot said...

We don't have to guess, we only have to wait a little bit. I think she is right to ask both candidates what they will do for Native Americans before taking side! Remember what Gore and Edwards said - they will eventually take side based on their issues - ecology and poverty...

Wolle said...

i know that we could wait a little bit...but i like guessing...;)

Dolph T said...

Clinton has 14 elected NM delegates and 6 NM superdelegate endorsements. Obama has 12 elected delegaes and 4 NM superdelegate endorsements. Two NM superdelegates have not committed yet. If both endorse Obama, then the total would be 20 for Clinton and 18 for Obama, which would be very close to mirroring Clinton's 49-48 primary win in NM.