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Why the California delegation passed on the Democratic roll call ...

August 27, 2008 |  6:11 pm

DENVER -- The mystery of why the California Democratic delegation, despite having a chance to do so, didn't publicly announce its preferences in the roll call that led to the historic nomination of Barack Obama for president has been solved.

And the answer has nothing to do with the complicated calculations we presumed might be at work. Instead, according to Bob Mulholland, a senior advisor to the state party, California passed simply because a tally of its 441 votes had not been completed when the state's name was called.

For political junkies, it would have been fascinating to see how many delegates -- in a state whose primary Clinton won by a solid margin -- had gotten with the support-Obama program that was evident soon after the roll call got underway.

But by being unable to get its business done in a timely manner -- thereby withholding what would have been a hefty chunk of support for Obama, regardless -- California allowed several other delegations to publicly announce their votes.

In all, 32 delegations were called until Obama teetered on the magic number needed for the nomination and Hillary Clinton, speaking for the New York delegation, moved that he receive the prize she had so vigorously sought.

Clinton did not receive a majority in any of the recorded tallies -- and in most, Obama's backing was overwhelming. But Clinton's support was notable in a few instances, including Arizona (40 votes for Obama, 27 for her), Kentucky (36 for him, 24 for her) and Massachusetts (65 for him, 52 for her).

Clinton won the primaries in all of those states -- in the case of Kentucky, overwhelmingly.

-- Don Frederick

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