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Sen. Barack Obama tonight clinched a majority of the pledged delegates as currently defined, not counting Michigan and Florida. Under the current rules there are 3,253 pledged delegates, a majority is 1,627, and according to the DCW numbers, based on The Green Papers and estimates of tonight delegate allocations, Obama will have more than 1,627 delegates when the night is over.
Is this important? Officially, no, but symbolically, it could be in the minds of the only people that matter at this point, the remaining uncommitted superdelegates. A few of them, in our Pelosi Club, have explicitly said they would vote for the pledged delegate leader, and many others have hinted at it.. If they define the pledged delegate count as not including Michigan and Florida, we may see a large number of superdelegates endorse Obama in the next few days.
However, most everyone thinks that the delegates of Michigan and Florida will be seated in some form. Even the Obama campaign has said they want the Michigan and Florida delegations seated (although not according to the votes that already happened). But given that we don't know in what form the Michigan and Florida delegations will be seated, we have to look at the different scenarios to see how Obama fares under each one.
Option 1: No FL & MI: Pledged Delegate Majority (PDM) Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 2: Seat MI as 69-59. PDM Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 3: Seat FL with 1/2 votes (supers get full vote). No Michigan delegates. PDM Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 4: FL 1/2 vote, MI 69-59 split. PDM Clinched with the Oregon polls closed.
Option 5: Seat FL & MI based on the elections that have taken place. Not clinched tonight.
This is the only option under which Obama will not clinch the PDM tonight. Going into tonight he needed 102 pledged delegates to clinch the PDM. Now some of our blogging brethren say, lets give Obama the 55 Uncommitted pledged delegates in Michigan. But that's difficult to do. First, 19 of the delegates haven't even been picked yet - they don't get chosen until mid-June. Second, estimates of the 36 which have been picked range from 26-35 for Obama. But these are not Obama pledged delegates, and major media organizations are not recognizing that these delegates have endorsed Obama. And you certainly won't see the Obama campaign show these endorsements, as they don't recognize the validity of the Michigan election at all.
So until the Michigan and Florida situation is resolved, there will be some room for debate on this issue.
Understand, though, it doesn't really matter what I think. It matters what the superdelegates think, and it will be very interesting to see how Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, and especially Clinton endorser Maria Cantwell and others respond this week.