Monday, May 26, 2008

Trying to make sense of delegate count

While I was in Jackson over the weekend, I was diligent in tracking the votes for delegates to the national convention. I documented the results in a May 24 on-site post.

Along the way, there was some confusion as to who -- and what -- we were voting for.

Convention chair Debbie Hammonds led us through two sets of delegate votes. The first was fairly clear-cut, as we elected the district and at-large delegates. Those who wanted to run for a spot to Denver had to register in advance. Many lobbied delegates in creative ways. Sara Burlingame from Cheyenne made large campaign buttons featuring her and her very cute (and very bald) baby boy. At her behest, and because she's a fine poet and bread maker, I wore one of those buttons throughout the proceedings.

Other district candidates distributed pens (Willie Neal of Teton County), candy (again, Willie Neal), postcards (Marcia Kunstel, Teton County), pseudo-prescription forms (Jason Bloomberg, M.D., Laramie County), and color flyers on the flip side of Obama placards (Rev. Rodney McDowell, Laramie County).

The most effective pitch came from four Obama supporters from Albany County. Lorraine Saulino-Klein, Rey Fuentes, Jacquelyn Bridgeman, and Mike Massie pooled resources and bought an ad featuring all of their smiling faces in the convention program. They also worked the crowds at the Friday reception and during the convention. Fuentes and Saulino-Klein mailed letters to each delegate several weeks before the convention.

All four earned slots to DenDemCon08. Pretty good marketing, I'd say. It helps that Massie is a well-known and respected senator from the county. And their slate represented a real ethnic and experiential cross-section of Democrats in the county.

But Massie almost didn't make the cut. There was some confusion after lunch as we voted for the rest of the delegates. We Obama supporters had a large slate of at-large candidates to pick two delegates and one alternate. Clinton supporters had a pretty large field to choose their one delegate in this category. Then came the much smaller slates for Party Leader Elected Officials (PLEO). Sen. Mike Massie's name wasn't on the list, which startled the Albany County delegation. The very tall senator went to the podium for an appeal. The Obama slate was quickly amended and Massie was chosen as the PLEO.

The confusion came with the Unpledged Add-On candidate. Only one name was projected on the screen: Rep. Patrick Goggles. Some of the Clinton delegates wondered aloud how Goggles could be a candidate when his name wasn't on the Fremont County delegate list. They were more concerned that Goggles wasn't "uncommitted" but, in reality, a stealth Obama delegate. Some of them brought their concerns to the convention chair and to John Millin, who nominated Goggles. Not sure what transpired, as I was trying to decide among the gazillion names on the Obama at-large list.

Goggles won, making him the sixth super-delegate in the Wyoming delegation to Denver.

My count now shows Obama with 7 delegates and Clinton with 5. So far, three super-delegates have pledged for Obama: John Millin, state central committee chair; Pete Jorgensen, national committeeman; and Gov. Dave Freudenthal. That makes it 10-5, Obama. You can add a "strong maybe" to the list for Patrick Goggles. Cynthia Nunley, the state's national committeewoman, is uncommitted, as is Nancy Drummond, the vice chair for the state central committee. If they all come over to Obama, that will make it it 13-5. Good numbers.

Thanks for your patience with this political arcana. Seems as if politics is made up of such stuff. Stepping-stones to more exciting times, such as the future moment when Sen. Obama accepts the Democratic Party nomination in Denver.

To view some convention photos, go to my web site and click on WyoDemCon08 under "Slideshows" on sidebar.


kainah said...

Thanks for this good info on the state convention, Mike. I'm traveling and so this is the first real news I've gotten about it although I did hear on some cable news show that Obama had picked up a delegate over the weekend from WY -- and they named Patrick Goggles. That is even more interesting now that I read your account and realize that Goggles isn't necessarily a pledged Obama delegate.

Michael Shay said...

I'm still trying to keep up with the delegate and super-delegate count. I'm not sure if the newspapers were correct today when they said that five super-delegates have now declared for Obama. I'll do some digging.

mpage225 said...

kainah, on another subject, we are expecting an in-depth review of the R.E.M. concert next week in Denver. Say hello to the boys for me from your front row seat.

Bob in KC