Sanders Picks Up Superdelegates as Clinton Supporters Call for Unity
Bernie Sanders has an admittedly slim chance of overtaking Hillary Clinton’s delegate count for the Democratic nomination, but he’s getting support from superdelegates as Clinton supporters try to unify the party.
In the last week, superdelegates from New Hampshire, West Virginia Nebraska, and Hawaii have come out in support of Sanders. All of those states voted heavily in favor of Sanders in the Democratic primary.
Even with their support, Sanders trails Clinton in superdelegate count 545 to 44.
Maureen Monahan, vice chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, announced that she would back Sanders on June 2 and encouraged other unpledged superdelegates to support him:
“In the primaries and caucuses held so far, Senator Sanders has won about 45 percent of the pledged delegates, yet has pledges from only about 6% of the “super delegates.” No wonder Sanders voters are so frustrated with the party,” Monahan said in a statement.
“Party leaders need to acknowledge and embrace Senator Sanders and his supporters. That is why today I am pledging my super delegate vote to Senator Sanders. I am encouraging all still unpledged superdelegates to support Senator Sanders as well. We need new energetic people in the Democratic Party to spread our effective message.”
West Virginia Democratic National Committeewoman Elaine Harris has also thrown her support behind the Sanders, saying in a brief interview that she waited to see how her state voted before picking a candidate.
“The people voted here and I felt like the people needed to vote first,” Harris said.
Sanders handily defeated Clinton in West Virginia’s primary with 51 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 36 percent.
Since it became clear that Sanders would not reach a majority of delegates with pledged delegates, the Vermont Senator has been counting on a mass exodus of superdelegates from Clinton’s camp to his camp before the Democratic National Convention in July.
Sanders has said that the superdelegates should “respect the will of the people in their state and the votes they have cast.”
While Sanders is looking to make inroads in Clinton’s seemingly insurmountable lead, the delegates on Clinton’s side have argued that she has over 3 million votes more than Sanders—12 million to 9 million—and leads him by 270 pledged delegates.
Clinton supporters, most recently House Minority leader Harry Reid, have told Sanders to “give up”:
“Sometimes you just have to give up,” he said, “I’ve never been too good at math but I can figure that one out. I think he better do a little mathing.”
Other Democrats, like California governor Jerry Brown—who endorsed Clinton this week—have called for unity behind the Democratic frontrunner and to oppose Trump:
“This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other,” Brown said.
“The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.