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Lodi-area Democrats weigh in on 'superdelegates'

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2008 10:00 pm

San Joaquin County doesn't have any of the "superdelegates" who may decide the Democratic presidential nomination this year.

The closest the county comes to having a superdelegate are Reps. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced.

McNerney will cast his vote at the convention for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but he's not saying who he'll support.

"He hasn't endorsed anyone, and he doesn't have any plans to do so," said McNerney spokesman Andy Stone. "He's focusing on doing the job he was elected to do."

Stone said news organizations often call McNerney's office to canvas the superdelegates who haven't made an endorsement.

"We get three or four phone calls a day from news organizations regarding this question," Stone said.

The two congressmen are among 842 so-called superdelegates who will cast votes at the Democratic National Convention in August.

The concept of the superdelegate was created in 1982, Democratic leaders say, to ensure more mainstream views at the party's convention.

"You have superdelegates because this is the Democratic Party," former San Francisco Mayor and California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown told CNN. "You don't want the bleed-over from the Green Party, the independents and others in deciding who your nominee will be."

Dianne Feinstein

Barbara Boxer

Jerry McNerney

Dennis Cardoza

Xavier Becerra

Howard Berman

Lois Capps

Susan Davis

Anna Eshoo

Sam Farr

Bob Filner

Jane Harman

Barbara Lee

Zoe Lofgren

Doris Matsui

Laura Richardson

George Miller

Grace Napolitano

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Loretta Sanchez

Adam Schiff

Hilda Solis

Pete Stark

Ellen Tauscher

Mike Thompson

Diane Watson

Henry Waxman

Lynn Woolsey

Chuck Manatt

Steven Alari

Joe Baca

Jeremy Bernard

Rachel Binah

Mary Ellen Early

Maria Echaveste

Edward Espinoza

Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker

Eric Garcetti

Kamil Hasan

Inola Henry

Michael Honda

Alice Huffman

Aleita Huguenin

Carole Migden

Bob Mulholland

Mona Pasquil

Christine Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

John Perez

Robert Rankin

Mirian Saez

Garry Shay

Christopher Stampolis

Crystal Strait

Art Torres

Norma Torres

Keith Umemoto

Alicia Wang

Maxine Waters

Vernon Watkins

Rosalind Wyman

Steven Ybarra

* The seat of the late Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, is vacant. It will be filled when his congressional seat is elected by voters in the spring.

Source: California Democratic Party.

California will have 71 superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. All but five of them have been determined, primarily through being a member of Congress or the Democratic National Committee. The final five will be chosen in May.

Nationally, the superdelegates are Democratic members of Congress, all Democratic governors, former presidents and vice presidents and other party leaders. The nation still hasn't heard who former President Carter and Vice President Gore will support.

The Republican Party does not use the superdelegate system.

Some local Democrats aren't so hot on the idea of the presidential nominee being potentially decided this year by the superdelegates.

"I think it's a bunch of hooey," said Betsy Fiske of Lodi. "They aren't obligated to vote for the people that the voters want. I want Obama to win."

Dean Savage, a seven-year Lodi resident who was chosen in January as president of the Lodi Democratic Party, doesn't like superdelegates at all.

"It's too undemocratic," Savage said. "The people who vote in the primaries should have the power of selection."

Lodi Democrat Art Raab says he has mixed feelings about the whole idea.

"I think the original intent of having the superdelegates was good," Raab said, adding that it could prevent radicals from taking over the heart of the party.

"This year, I'm not terribly concerned," Raab said. "These two candidates are both acceptable to the party."

Raab has reservations about the current superdelegate system because the conservative Democratic Leadership Council took over control during the Bill Clinton Administration.

The superdelegates consist of "too many people with high connections instead of people within the working ranks," Raab said.

Lodi's Reid Cerney doesn't care for the superdelegate process.

"I have a problem of giving a privileged few a free pass," Cerney said. "I think there's going to be some changes before the next election. At least, I hope so."

San Joaquin County has no superdelegates, though neighboring Sacramento County has five. They are:

• Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento.

• Alice Huffman, state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

• Keith Umemoto, executive officer of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.

• Steve Ybarra, a retired attorney who is now a consultant and communications professor at Sacramento City College.

• Crystal Strait, president of California Young Democrats and political director for the California Democratic Party.

Matsui is a superdelegate because she serves in Congress. The others are members of the Democratic National Committee.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 8:32 am on Fri, Feb 22, 2008.


    Leonard do you really think Brian will be back?

  • posted at 12:23 pm on Fri, Feb 15, 2008.


    Cardoza is going to vote for Romney.



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