Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

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

Hillary Clinton still counting; Barack Obama still leading

May 23, 2008 |  9:41 am

On the same morning Hillary Clinton's campaign e-mailed around to the press corps a link to a column that argues she may be leading in the total popular vote, Barack Obama scored four more superdelegates -- two from California (currently the land of fire and rain), one of them yet another Clinton defector.

The vote-count argument goes down the well-traveled trail of who do you count, and where, pointing out that if all the ballots cast in all the primaries -- including Michigan and Florida -- are counted, then she ekes out 71,000-vote lead with Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota still to vote. The general sense is Clinton will carry Puerto Rico, with Montana and South Dakota harder to read.

But the only way Clinton gets the votes-cast lead is to include those in Michigan and Florida (as well as estimates from the caucus states). Of course, the count that matters under the Democratic Party rules is the delegates. And Obama inched ever closer today with two California SuperDs -- Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno and Dennis Cardoza of Atwater -- and two former John Edwards superdelegates from New Hampshire.

Cardoza had been in the Clinton camp, and his flip seems to have more to do with wanting to jump on a stronger horse (or leave a sinking ship) than based on policy and vision. "While I continue to greatly respect and admire Sen. Clinton and feel she has made history with her campaign, I believe that Sen. Obama will inevitably be our party’s nominee for President," Cardoza in a statement released by the campaign.

He adds that he's doing it in the name of unity: "I am deeply concerned about the contentious primary campaign and controversy surrounding the seating of delegates from Florida and Michigan -– two states Democrats need to win in November... I believe we need to avoid this potentially divisive situation by uniting behind one nominee and bringing the party together immediately. Therefore, I have made the decision to support Senator Obama at the Democratic Convention in my role as a super delegate.”

-- Scott Martelle