Superdelegate Count Changes with Political Tide

The resignation of Eliot Spitzer did more than reduce the amount of superdelegates supporting Hillary Clinton. It also reduced the total number of superdelegates in the Democratic Party.

Of the now 795 superdelegates, more than half are elected delegates. As elected officials lose their seats, or new ones gain seats, they change the amount of elected superdelegates, and with that, the number needed to win the Democratic nomination.

Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press lists the recent changes, March 17, 2008:

_Democrat Bill Foster of Illinois won the seat in Congress left vacant by the resignation of former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, increasing the number of superdelegates by one.

_Democrat Andre Carson of Indiana won the seat in Congress formerly held by his late grandmother, Julia Carson, increasing the number of superdelegates by one.

_Former DNC Chairman Ken Curtis moved from Maine to Florida. Florida has been stripped of all its delegates for holding its presidential primary before Feb. 5, in violation of party rules. That means Curtis is no longer a superdelegate, unless the Florida delegates are reinstated.

_Mayor Brenda Lawrence of Southfield, Mich., joined the executive committee of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, making her a superdelegate. However, Michigan was also stripped of all its delegates for holding an early primary. Lawrence’s superdelegate slot had been listed as vacant. Now, it is eliminated, unless the Michigan delegates are reinstated.

This adds yet another dimension of complexity to the Democratic Party’s political process.