Canvassing MA Super Delegates

There seems to be a consensus building among Massachusetts' super delegates that the Democratic Party will choose a nominee before the convention.

Most of the state's super delegates also say they believe Michigan and Florida, who held primaries that don't count because they held them in January against party rules, should be given a second chance.

WBUR's Fred Thys canvasses local opinion on the issue.


FRED THYS: There are 26 Massachusetts super delegates. They can vote any way they want. Though Hillary Clinton won the state's primary, Barack Obama has more of its super delegates behind him. Nine support Clinton. 11 support Obama. 6 are still uncommitted.

The Massachusetts super delegates we spoke to are split on whether the results of last January's primaries in Michigan and Florida should count. One Clinton supporter said the delegates elected in those primaries, which Clinton won, should be seated. But most believe that those delegates should not be allowed at the convention.

Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Representative Niki Tsongas, and on the floor of the House of Representatives, she's been courted by colleagues on both sides, but she remains uncommitted. Like most Massachusetts super delegates we spoke to, she believes that Democrats will choose a nominee before the convention. And, like most of the Massachusetts super delegates, Tsongas supports letting Michigan and Florida hold new primaries after all the other states have gone, sometime in June. She called us from a cell phone as she was about to board a plane to Washington yesterday.

NIKI TSONGAS: The party is right to revisit what happened in both those states and find a way to have the residents of both those states to have their say.

THYS: Even most of those on Obama's side agree. Obama's northeast finance director, Alan Solomont, says voters in Florida and Michigan should get to cast their ballots again, even though their states broke the rules.

ALAN SOLOMONT: There need to be rules, even in a political party, and people need to abide by rules, and Florida and Michigan chose not to abide by those rules, and it was clear to everybody, it was clear to all the candidates, and the problem is that the voters in those states are getting caught in the middle of this and that's not fair either.

THYS: Congressman Barney Frank, a Clinton supporter, believes that if Michigan and Florida are allowed to vote again, there will be a nominee before the convention. He too, was about to board a plane bound for Washington.

BARNEY FRANK: And now, I think it's important for the campaigns of Senators Obama and Clinton to come together with others and find a way to get a re-vote in Michigan and Florida. We then would have primaries. We have Puerto Rico coming up. We have Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania. I believe we'll get a winner out of those.

THYS: But Steve Grossman, also a Clinton supporter, and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, believes that if Michigan and Florida are allowed to vote again, something he supports, the results will be even less clear, and the need will be even greater for the super delegates to step in sometime after the last primary.

STEVE GROSSMAN: I do not think there will be a nominee before the convention in the sense that I do not think that there will be a nominee by the time the primary process is over. Now, it is possible that between the end of the primaries and the convention, the super-delegates at some point may very well make the decision as to who the nominee of the party will be.

THYS: Grossman thinks it will go very much down to the wire before the convention, because the super delegates, especially those who are uncommitted, don't consider themselves to be rubber stamps for the voters.

For WBUR, I'm Fred Thys.

This program aired on March 11, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Fred Thys

Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



More from WBUR

Listen Live