Friday, February 22, 2008

Everybody wrong on Lieberman superdelegate status

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

A couple of weeks ago, FireDogLake and many others got it all wrong on Joe Lieberman:

Lieberman's endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
Wrong, and I will respectfully say that Ms. DiNardo is not the definitive source on who gets to be a superdelegate. Lieberman was never a superdelegate. The Call to the Convention states:
Additional unpledged votes shall be added if needed to provide for ... Democratic United States Senators from that state or territory (if any).
Quite simply, he is not considered a "Democratic Senator", and therefore has never had superdelegate status for 2008. The DNC confirms this:
Sen. Lieberman is an independent member of the U.S. Senate and that is the reason he is not an unpledged delegate; because he is not a "Democratic member." Yes, Sen. Lieberman may caucus with Senate Democrats but [it's] not the same thing.
Bernie Sanders is also not a superdelegate, even though he caucuses with the Democrats. Senator Jeffords and Sanders, then a Congressman, were not superdelegates in 2004, even though they caucused with the Democrats.

Any other argument for Lieberman being a superdelegate a) former vice-presidential nominee or b) former Democratic Senator --- just aren't supported by the rules of the convention. He lost his superdelegate status two years ago when he lost the Connecticut Democratic primary to Ned Lamont, so his endorsement of John McCain was meaningless.

Update: And finally some documented proof that Lieberman was never a superdelegate. Currently, the Call to the Convention, dated Jan 5, 2008, shows that Connecticut has 4 superdelegates who are Members of Congress, one superdelegate who is a Distinguished Party Leader (DPL), and 6 DNC members. The DPL is Senator Chris Dodd, who is also a former Chairman of the DNC. And the 4 members of Congress are Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Christopher S. Murphy. So clearly Lieberman was not a superdelegate on Jan 5, 2008.

And now lets look at the Connecticut Delegate Selection Plan, dated May, 2007, before Lieberman's endorsement of McCain. On page 29, we see that the number of Unpledged Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates (or Unpledged PLEOs the official name of superdelegates), was also 11. If Lieberman had been a superdelegate, the number would have been 12. He wasn't.


mlnmatt said...

It's still nice for DiNardo to give him a rap on the knuckles in the newspaper, even if it does stir up some procedural confusion.

The locals (me included) whipped up a resolution for our state party when Joe's announcement was made, calling for his status to be stripped, but the DNC told us it already had been.

The weird factor is that, while the Lieb is listed as an "Independent Democrat" in the Senate records for this session, he is actually registered as a bona-fide Democrat in his hometown. So the comparison to Sanders isn't precise.

Anonymous said...

I always figured from the beginning Lieberman wouldn't be a superdelegate with him being an Independent. Go figure lol.

John said...

Could Lieberman, in theory, rejoin the Democratic Party and become a superdelegate? The distinction seems kind of weird.

If a Senator who's been elected as a Republican switches to actually become a Democrat, I assume that, no new election needed, they get to be a superdelegate. But a Senator can't do that if elected as an independent?

mlnmatt said...

john, his endorsement of McCain would then disqualify him. Endorsing or publicly advocating for a non-Democrat to win the presidential election is pretty much the only thing you can do to bring a disciplinary action down on you from the DNC.

Matt said...

As far as I can tell, if Independent Bernie Sanders, who, by the way, announced this week that he will endorse the Democrat in the general election, decided to officially join the Democratic party, he would be gladly given superdelegate status in a second. The PR value would be enormous. Same would be true of any Republican, and the same would have been true of Lieberman if he hadn't endorsed McCain.

Sal Costello said...


Obama with 50 more Superdelegates?

Tom Brokaw reports that Barack Obama may have 50 Superdelegates ready to go public for him soon. That would give him the lead in Superdelegates over Hillary Clinton.

countjellybean said...

You guys need to use 12 or 14 point font for Notes section! Btw, my total of SD's matches yours (721).