Friday, April 25, 2008

Democrat’s choice decided ‘by end of June’

Go to Financial Times original
The Democratic party’s “superdelegates” have every right to overturn the popular vote and choose the candidate they believe would be best equipped to defeat John McCain in a general election, according to Howard Dean, chairman of the US Democratic National Committee.

Mr Dean, who was a presidential candidate in 2004 and is a former governor of Vermont, spoke to the Financial Times just two days after Hillary Clinton put her campaign back in contention with a near double-digit margin of victory over Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary.

He said there was nothing in the DNC’s rules that would prevent the party’s unelected superdelegates, who make up about a fifth of the overall delegate tally and who will ultimately pick the winner, from “doing what they want”.

Mr Obama maintains a slim lead in the popular vote with just nine nominating contests left to go concluding on June 3 in Montana and South Dakota.

“If it’s very very close, they [the superdelegates] will do what they want anyway,” said Mr Dean.

“I think the race is going to come down to the perception in the last six or eight races of who the best opponent for McCain will be. I do not think in the long run it will come down to the popular vote or anything else.”

However, he added that it was highly unlikely that the superdelegates – of whom roughly 300 out of 800 remain undecided – would go against whichever candidate was ahead on the popular vote and among pledged delegates in practice. “I think it is very unlikely – I have never seen it happen. In fact it has never happened. But it is possible and they have every right to do it.”


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