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Much Ado About Super Delegates

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February 15, 2008

Albany -- Some of Georgia's Democratic super delegates haven't declared who they'll support. Of those who have, more say they'll vote for Hillary Clinton. But Barack Obama easily won the Georgia primary, and his campaign is gaining momentum. Now the pressure is building for some Clinton supporters to switch sides.

With 2,025 delegates needed for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton could find their White House hopes in the hands of 796 super delegates.

"That puts a lot of pressure on them of course, but that's what it was intended for when they did this - that party leaders and congressmen and elected officials would have a greater say - and we're fixing to get that," said former Albany Mayor Tommy Coleman.

Coleman has been a Democratic Convention delegate before. But with such a close race, if a super delegate votes in favor of a candidate his state did not endorse, it could cause an uproar.

He says, "I don't know if that will be a happy event for activists and people that supported one candidate or the other. But I suspect there will be a great deal of dissension about it as we move more towards the convention."

There has already been shake up among Georgia's super delegates. On Friday, Congressman David Scott switched his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, and rumors circulated that Congressmen John Lewis would do the same. His office says that's not true.

"We've had a number or conversations about his (Lewis) angst and his being torn between the two candidates. This has been going on for a number of months prior to the time he endorsed Senator Clinton," said Rep. Sanford Bishop, D- Albany.

Congressmen Bishop is a super delegate who supported Obama from the beginning. He believes before the convention in August, more super delegates will shift their support to the Illinois senator.

"I believe that people that did not necessarily support him in the beginning are beginning to feel the movement and wanting to become a part of it," says Bishop.

And with that, it's likely this contest could come down to the final vote.

Ohio and Texas are the next big states that hold primaries. If Obama wins those states, it could help carry him to the nomination. But Clinton leads in the polls there. If she wins, it's more likely that the race will go to the very end.

So far in the national count, Obama has 134 more regular delegates than Clinton.

But Clinton has 85 more super delegates.

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