Sunday, April 27, 2008

4th District Democratic Convention: Obama Gains A National Delegate

The big news out of the 4th District Democratic Convention was that Barack Obama picked up a national delegate.

The 4th District had 507 seats to fill. At first count 425 of the seats were filled with delegates and the first count was Obama 231, Clinton 147, Edwards 42, Uncommitted 5. The remaining seats were filled with alternates. I was one of the alternates that were seated for Obama.

After the alternates were seated the count was Obama 274, Clinton 175, Edwards 52, Uncommitted 6. The number for viability was 76. The Edwards group (and the uncommitteds) weren't viabile. The national delegate count at this time was Obama 3, Clinton 2, with one delegate up for grabs.

We then broke into preference groups for an hour where both the Clinton and Obama groups could persuade the non-viable groups to come to their side. The Obama group was very well organized, led by Tom Harrington. They had people already selected to go speak to the Edwards group (which had moved to a separate room), while everyone else sat and chatted. I quickly did some math and by figures Clinton could afford to send 6 delegates to Edwards, which wasn't enough to make Edwards viable even with the 6 uncommitted delegates.

The Clinton group let out a couple cheers as they had swayed a few people to come there way right off the bat. After about 45 minutes, the doors opened and a parade of people from the Edwards group marched in and headed to the Obama group. All of the Obama supporters stood and started a "Fired Up! Ready to go!" chant as the parade of former Edwards supporters joined with the Obama group. It was later announced that the Obama group offered the Edwards group a bunch of seats on the platform committee if they came to Obama's side.

The final numbers were announced with Obama having 316, Clinton 187, and 2 people stayed uncommitted. This meant during realignment Obama gained 42 and Clinton gained 12 supporters. The final delegate numbers were then Obama 4, Clinton 2, with the alternate going to Obama. Obama, also, won 6 of the 10 seats to the committees for the State Convention.

As part of the deal to get the majority of Edwards supporters to head to Obama's side, 5 of the 6 seats on the platform committee were from the Edwards group. Edwards supporters were also able to run for national delegate in the Obama group, though none ended up being elected. The Clinton group also went to the Edwards group with an offer, but the majority of the Edwards group favored Obama.

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