Delegate hunting
March 9, 2008 8:51 PM   Subscribe

what will happen to the 26 delegates won by john edwards? he also won some unseated delegates in florida (maybe 13 or so). does he get to give those delegates to whomever he wants, presumably obama or clinton?
posted by brandz to Law & Government (5 answers total)
yeah, typically whoever he chooses to back will get the delegates.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:11 PM on March 9, 2008

Those delegates can vote for whomever they want. They're not bound by an endorsement.
posted by Dasein at 9:34 PM on March 9, 2008

As I understood it, if Edwards or someone wins delegates, they actually get to pick who acts as those delegates. Knowing he wasn't going to win the election, or at least worrying he might not win, he picked delegates that are loyal to him. He didn't pick delegates that will waste their vote ON him, he picked delegates that are loyal to his endorsement so that he can leverage that power. They are free to vote as delegates for whomever they want, but he gave them the power they have.
posted by pwb503 at 10:48 PM on March 9, 2008

They go to the convention with a signed pledge of support, but there is nothing requiring them to vote that way. (Obviously, because in the case of multiple ballots candidates would theoretically be dropping out.) In fact, if we get to the convention with a razor-thin margin, there will be a lot of horse-trading going on.

To some degree this is complicated by state party rules, which vary within a set of principles set up by the DNC. For various reasons, but mostly a 15% threshold, his Iowa delegates may no longer exist. As long as he remains "suspended", though, he gets to keep his SC and NH delegates, totalling 12.

In practical terms, though, there is little likelihood that any delegates will want to go against the popular vote. That includes superdelegates, Edwards, and those pledged to Edwards. A number of superdelegates have already switched.

Slate wrote about what happened to Clark's delegates in 2004.
posted by dhartung at 11:22 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Technically, pledged delegates are under no obligation to do anything, as Hillary Clinton reminded America recently. Most likely, they will support whomever Edwards chooses to support. If he doesn't endorse, they will probably support Edwards on the first ballot (folks chosen as delegates tend to be diehards), then spend the rest of the convention being wined, dined, and convinced to cast their votes for Obama/Clinton on subsequent ballots.

In 1924, it took 100-something ballots to secure the Democratic nomination, but that was because of disagreements over Prohibition. They've changed the rules, so I doubt it even gets to a second ballot this year.
posted by j1950 at 4:52 AM on March 10, 2008

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