Delegate Gap Won't Hurt Clinton in Pa.

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 2:27am.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton fell at least 10 candidates short of fielding a full slate for the 103 delegate slots to be allocated in Pennsylvania's primary—unlike rival Sen. Barack Obama—but that disparity has more symbolic than substantive impact.

Some Clinton detractors have suggested that the shortfall reflects her campaign's overconfidence or lack of a strategy beyond the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests. But the presence or absence of delegate candidates on the April 22 primary ballot makes no difference in determining how many Pennsylvania delegates Clinton or Obama will have at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

Officials at the Democratic State Committee and both candidates' campaigns agree the delegates in question will be divided between the presidential candidates in proportion to the presidential preference of party members in each of the state's 19 congressional districts.

If Clinton should win more delegate slots than she has candidates in any district, the state committee would fill them with additional Clinton-pledged delegates when it meets in June, the state party's executive director, Mary Isenhour, said Monday.

"It's hard to get that worked up about something that really has no significant impact," said Mark Nevins, a spokesman for Clinton's Pennsylvania campaign.

The 103 pledged delegates drawn from the congressional districts represent the largest portion of the 187-member delegation that Pennsylvania will send to the convention.

In June, the state committee also will choose an additional 55 pledged delegates, who will be allocated according to the statewide presidential vote.

Also to be picked at that meeting are the last three of the state's 29 superdelegates—members of Congress, governors and other party leaders, including Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Bob Casey. They can vote as they choose and are not bound by the primary vote.

Greg Stewart, an Obama campaign organizer in State College, said Obama's Pennsylvania supporters began organizing in May and, before the end of December, had at least one—and as many as three—people in each congressional district to oversee the recruitment of delegate candidates and the gathering of 250 signatures apiece to get their names on the ballot.

The Clinton campaign has cited various personal reasons that prevented some of its delegates from turning in their petitions by the Feb. 14 deadline. Nevins noted that the former first lady has been endorsed by Rendell and that her campaign is about to open offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


By PETER JACKSON - Associated Press Writer - HARRISBURG, Pa -

 February 25, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 2:27am.