Pressure on to flip Clinton’s super delegates – Towns, Clarke pledge to Hillary despite Bklyn voters

By Stephen Witt

Fresh from her wins in the Texas and Ohio presidential primaries, the Hillary Clinton campaign came out swinging to hold onto her Brooklyn “super delegates.” “We are very excited that the support for Sen. Clinton throughout New York is as strong as ever,” said Clinton spokesperson Blake Zeff following last week’s primary wins. “Hillary will be a president for all Americans, and one that uniquely understands the needs and interests of Brooklyn and New York,” he added. Zeff’s comments came as the borough’s Barack Obama supporters are continuing their grassroots efforts to argue that “super delegates” should vote for the candidate with the most delegates and popular support. Neither Clinton nor Obama is expected to reach the delegate amount (2,025) through the primary season to secure the Democratic nomination for president. Thus, the votes of “super delegates” at this summer’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) convention in Denver could put either candidate over the top. Super delegate is an informal term for some of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention [DNC] that are seeded automatically based on their status as current or former elected office holders and/or party officials. In Brooklyn, this includes Sen. Chuck Schumer and the borough’s current congressional delegation including Reps. Yvette Clarke, Edolphus Towns, Anthony Weiner, Nydia Velazquez, and Jerrold Nadler. All have pledged support for Clinton, but the 10th (Towns) and 11th (Clarke) congressional districts gave a majority vote to Obama. “I believe Towns and Clarke should shift their vote and ‘super delegates’ have a responsibility as elected officials to represent the will of their constituency,” said Emily (Miranda) Galindo, an Obama delegate who lives in the 10th District. Galindo, who signed a grassroots petition being circulated that Towns and Clarke should change their vote, did allow in some cases that elected officials may not be in exact alignment with their constituents. It’s not set in stone, but in this case a very clear constituency has spoken and it would be unrepresentative to hold onto a Hillary Clinton endorsement at this point, said Galindo. Clarke spokesperson Scott Levenson said to suggest that a lot of pressure is being put on Clarke to switch allegiance from Clinton to Obama is an overstatement. “It’s a unique role being a super delegate. You have to balance, district, state, party and country, and she’s [Clarke] a committed super delegate to Hillary Clinton and remains so,” said Levenson. Levenson said the Texas and Ohio wins were huge for Clinton. “Many of the states she has won are states that tend to be termed ‘purple states’ that can go either Republican or Democratic. Her win in those states speak to her strength as the Democratic nominee,” said Levenson. Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries (57th District), an early Obama supporter, said he is more concerned that the unelected super delegates who are party insiders do not overrule the will of the people through popular vote. “I think Clarke and Towns will use their best judgment and act in the best interest of the community as they see it. I certainly have confidence that at the end of the day they will do the right thing,” said Jeffries. Jeffries said that while Ohio is an important “swing state,” Obama has also won his share of “swing states” including Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado and Wisconsin. State Sen. Eric Adams, an Obama delegate, said no one from the Obama campaign reached out to him to call either Towns or Clarke to change their vote. “I met with a group of Obama delegates but we were speaking about being prepared for Denver and no conversation came up in trying to sway super delegates,” said Adams. Richard Fife, spokesperson for the New York for Barack Obama campaign, refused comment.

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