Top Mass. Delegates Throw Support Behind Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles as she takes the stage during a Democratic presidential primary debate on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles as she takes the stage during a Democratic presidential primary debate on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Hillary Rodham Clinton is picking up strong support among top Democrats in Massachusetts, while fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders of neighboring Vermont has failed to catch fire among the party higher-ups.

The Associated Press attempted to contact all 25 of the state's Democratic superdelegates to see which, if any candidate they've decided to support already. Of the 20 who responded, 14 said they were supporting Clinton and six were undecided. None was backing any other candidate, including Sanders.

Superdelegates are delegates to the Democratic National Convention who can support the candidate of their choice, regardless of what happens in the primaries and caucuses. They are members of Congress and other elected officials, party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee.

The most notable holdout: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who hasn't yet endorsed any presidential candidate.

Warren has played a cameo role in the election, however. Her name was briefly mentioned as a possible running mate for Vice President Joe Biden while he weighed a possible presidential bid.

An endorsement from Warren — a hero to the liberal wing of the party — would be a coveted win for any of the candidates.

Every other member of the state's all-Democratic 11-member congressional delegation is backing Clinton.

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey calls Clinton a trailblazer who understands the challenges facing the nation including college affordability, income inequality, access to affordable health care and the prescription drug and heroin epidemic.

"There is no one better to lead the effort to combat climate change here at home against the climate deniers," Markey added.

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas also cited Clinton's resume, including her time as secretary of state. Tsongas added that "women can't win if women don't run and I think the prospect of having a woman president is very exciting."

Clinton also has the backing of state Attorney General Maura Healey, who isn't a superdelegate, but is one of the highest-profile elected Democrats in the state.

Many members of the delegation have gone beyond just endorsing her candidacy and have taken to stumping for Clinton in New Hampshire with its first-in-the-nation primary.


Despite Sanders' proximity to Massachusetts and his liberal take on economic issues, the support for Clinton in Massachusetts shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

In the 2008 election, Clinton handily defeated then-Sen. Barack Obama in Massachusetts by a 56 to 41 percent margin.

That win came despite the fact that Obama had raked in endorsements from top-name Democrats, including former Gov. Deval Patrick, then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry and the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

It's shaping up to be a very different Democratic primary landscape in 2016.

Unlike Obama, who won the endorsement of a hefty slice of the superdelegates in Massachusetts, Sanders has yet to win the backing of a single superdelegate in the state, although a number still remain undecided.

With 712 votes at the convention next summer, superdelegates make up about 30 percent of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

AP reporters reached out to all 712 superdelegates during the past two weeks, and heard back from more than 80 percent of them. The delegates were asked which candidate they plan to support at the convention next summer.

Clinton has the backing of 359 of those contacted, compared with eight backing Sanders, two supporting Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and 210 uncommitted.


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