Monday, August 18, 2008

What's a pledged delegate to do?

What’s a pledged delegate to do?

You’ve probably heard by now that Hillary Clinton’s name will appear on the nomination ballot at that Democratic National Convention next week. As the only Maine public leader elected official (PLEO) delegate to the convention for Senator Hillary Clinton, I will have the historic opportunity to vote for the first-ever woman to appear on the nomination ballot for the United States Presidency.

Great! Problem is, Clinton herself doesn’t want her name on the ballot and is voting for Obama.

Technically Clinton did not withdraw as a nominee, but rather suspended her campaign, and we all know she received more delegates and more votes than any other defeated candidate in history, so sure, put her name on the ballot. This will not be the first time a defeated primary candidate’s name is placed in nomination—there was Jerry Brown in 1992, and in 1984 Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson’s names also appeared on the ballot.

This time it seems different. Charges of race-baiting and sexism were hurled back and forth between the camps during the campaign, and some are critical of the DNC for abdicating leadership on these hurtful issues. Where was Howard Dean, anyway, during the primary? Isn’t it Obama’s job now to unify the party?

What’s a pledged delegate to do? What do you think about my “opportunity”?


Janet Mills said...

We should encourage a unified delegation and a unified ballot, including those who previously supported Kucinich and those who supported Clinton. There's no good reason to splinter now. BTW, the very first woman to have her name placed in nomination by a major party was Maine's Margaret Chase Smith, at the Republican National Convention in 1964. Of course, Goldwater became the nominee, and the rest is history; nevertheless, it seems as though we haven't made much progress since then.

Anonymous said...

An interesting predicament!

While it does seem important, especially as a pledged Hillary delegate, to recognize the extent of support for Hillary, I agree with you, it seems like it may be rubbing salt in a wound, looking backward instead of forward.

I'm trying to remember delegate protocol from my poli sci classes long ago. Doesn't the losing candidate traditionally "release" pledged delegates at some point? Has Hillary given her delegates a directive?

By the way, keep up the good work Rep. Dill!

Sam Spencer said...


I am looking forward to going to the convention with you! I'm so glad you were elected!

Since Clinton has not released her delegates yet, I think you are obligated to vote for Clinton on the first ballot. Obama asked that Clinton's name be placed in nomination as a way of honoring her historic campaign and serving as a symbolic gesture to unify the party.

Afterwards, Clinton will release her delegates and everyone, including Senator Clinton herself, will nominate Obama by acclamation!

I personally feel that since it is important to many of Clinton's supporters that her name be placed in nomination, it is a good idea. If people are traveling from across the country to attend a convention, they should at least get to vote for the candidate they worked so hard for. We shouldn't be worried about too much democracy.

But at the same time, once the voting is done and Obama is the nominee, everyone, including those who supported another candidate in the primaries and caucuses, must work together to put a Democrat - Barack Obama - in the White House.

See you next week!

Anonymous said...

Until and unless she releases her pledged delegates, I believe your obligation is to support her. There certainly appears to be some Democratic "buyers' remorse" over Obama. Who knows how this thing could play out?

Jamie Wagner said...


Have fun in Denver. Party unity will be there and Hillary will be leading the charge.

Jamie Wagner

Joe Baldacci said...

I agree with Sam Spencer- we are elected pledged delegates and we are honoring the votes made by thousands of other Mainers who I believe will want their votes counted- our obligation is to them- we should not view this as ununifying- it is central to a real democratic process

Joe Baldacci- National Delegate from Bangor

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that Hillary has taken so long to "release" her delegates to Obama.
There are many "isms" that have come up in this campagn...racism, sexism and ageism......those issues will always be an undercurrent in this country and in any race , now and in the future.
Hillary made history with her campaign, but she lost. Let's move forward with the winner..hanging onto a lost promise is only going to aid the Republicans and ultimately hurt the party as a whole.
Hopefully the human civility of the delegates you have witnessed will take hold at the convention and push us further to Obama's election in November.

Karen Hessel said...

When we voted in the Maine Caucus as Hillary supporters we were all proud to vote for her but also proud to see the overwhelming support for Barak Obama. We are lucky to have such talent and promise as Democrats. As a Hillary delegate, feel free to vote proudly for Hillary celebrating the great accomplishment of this great woman. (on or near the anniversary of women's suffrage.) We may have been disappoitned but we are committed to getting over it and give our whole hearted support to Obama/Biden. We deeply care about the future of our nation. It was a great campaign but it is silly, petty and embarassing that any [good]democrat would even consider supporting John McCain. Can the media be making this up? Have McCain's people hired "agent provecateurs" -- is the media being tricked? I can't beleive any responsible Hillary supporter would reject Obama/Biden rather than commit to make sure they are elected for the sake of all of us, our children and our shared future.

Note: It looks as if the only place to really see the Convention is on C Span and PBS. Cable and the Networks are not providing complete or responsible coverage.9Just doing their own sotry lines and talking to themselves:)