Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Keeping track: Democratic senators and the presidential race

April 7, 2008 |  2:30 am

The Democratic side of the world's most exclusive club, as the U.S. Senate has been dubbed, mirrors much of the rest of the party -- it can't make a conclusive call in the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama presidential nomination battle.

Clinton, back in those bygone days when all proclaimed her the front-runner, got lots of endorsements early on from those sharing her side of the aisle in the Senate.

But Obama, despite having four fewer years to cozy up to other club members (he won his Senate seat in 2004; Clinton was elected in 2000), now has caught up with her, following recent backing he received from Pennsylvania's Bob Casey and Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar.

Among Clinton's and Obama's 47 fellow Democratic colleagues, that put 14 in each of their columns.

For those who ...

get a kick out of keeping track of such matters (like us), here's the current breakdown:

For Clinton:

Evan Bayh (Indiana), Barbara Boxer* (California), Maria Cantwell (Washington), Dianne Feinstein (California), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas), Bob Menendez (New Jersey), Barbara Mikulski (Maryland), Patty Murray (Washington), Bill Nelson (Florida), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Charles Schumer (New York), Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island).

* Boxer has not officially endorsed Clinton, but has said she feels bound to support her, based on the candidate's victory in the California primary.

For Obama:

Casey, Kent Conrad (North Dakota), Chris Dodd (Connecticut), Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) Richard Durbin (Illinois), Russ Feingold* (Wisconsin), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Ted Kennedy (Massachusetts), John Kerry (Massachusetts), Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), John Rockefeller (West Virginia).

* Feingold, like Boxer, refuses to use the e-word. But he revealed he was among the huge majority of voters who cast ballots for him in the Wisconsin primary.

The largest category of Senate Democrats remains the undeclared (19 in total). They are:

Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Max Baucus (Montana), Joe Biden (Delaware), Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Robert Byrd (West Virginia), Benjamin Cardin (Maryland), Tom Carper (Delaware), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Herb Kohl (Wisconsin), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey), Carl Levin (Michigan), Jack Reed (Rhode Island), Harry Reid (Nevada), Ken Salazar (Colorado), Jon Tester (Montana), Jim Webb (Virginia), Ron Wyden (Oregon).

Four of those -- Baucus and Tester of Montana, Byrd of West Virginia and Wyden of Oregon -- come from states that have yet to conduct primaries. None of the quartet has signaled a willingness to endorse before those contests.

The Democrats control the Senate because two independents -- Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- caucus with the party. But Lieberman, of course, has famously cast his lot with Republican John McCain. And Sanders, because he's not officially a Democrat, says he won't be endorsing. But he pledges to campaign in the general election for the Democratic primary winner.

-- Don Frederick