Sunday, April 6, 2008

Jewish Delegates Pivotal

A disproportionately large number of Democratic superdelegates are Jewish, and they could prove crucial in deciding whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama wins the party’s nomination.
Thus far 36 Jewish superdelegates have declared for Clinton, while Obama has 12 Jewish superdelegates. But 26 Jewish superdelegates are among those who are still undeclared.
“If the Democratic presidential primary comes down to a photo finish, these Jewish insiders could play an outsized role in anointing a nominee at the party’s August convention,” according to the Forward, a Jewish publication that has conducted a new survey of Jewish superdelegates.
Superdelegates are largely elected officials and party officials, and the number of Jewish politicians has grown significantly in the past half-century. In 2006, 33 Jewish candidates were elected to Congress, up from 13 in 1950, the Forward reports.
And over the past 15 years, the Democratic National Committee has had three Jewish chairs.
One of those chairs, Massachusetts-based activist Steve Grossman, is now a Clinton fundraiser. And with Obama ahead of Hillary in pledged delegates and the popular vote, Grossman has sent out an open letter to DNC members urging them not to fall in behind Obama until all state contests are concluded.
Grossman told the Forward that if the result from the disputed Florida primary is counted, and Hillary does well in upcoming primaries, the overall results would be inconclusive and it would be the responsibility of superdelegates to vote their conscience.
The Forward also notes that Hillary has personally been doing some “heavy arm-twisting” in an effort to secure Jewish superdelegates.

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