On Saturday, Maine held its statewide Democratic convention. Thanks to some reallocation that happens at some state conventions, the pledged delegate percentage wasn’t completely fixed in March at the Maine municipal caucus.
In Maine, Municipal Caucus votes allocate how many pledged delegates will be sent to the state convention. The municipal caucus was the election that occurred in March. At this stage, delegates are allocated proportionally based on the percentage of support that each candidate is shown by individual caucus participants.
As reported by the Associated Press, after the Maine caucus results were announced in March, Sanders was declared the overwhelming victor with 64 percent of the states pledged delegates. Sanders was allocated 16 pledged delegates and Clinton was allocated nine.
“In March Sanders defeated Clinton with 64 percent of the vote,” Steve Mistler of Maine Public Broadcasting Network wrote in an article featured in the Bangor Daily News on Thursday, two days before the Maine Democratic Party’s statewide convention.
At the state convention, only 17 out of the 25 pledged delegate spots are allocated proportionally based on the preferences of the people who caucused in March. That leaves eight delegates that are to be allocated based on the support that is shown at the state convention itself.
On Saturday, Maine Democrats shifted even further to the left in support of Bernie Sanders. The state convention is wrapped up, and Maine will now send 17 pledged delegates for Senator Bernie Sanders and only eight pledged delegates for Hillary Clinton to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Clinton’s delegate count went from nine to eight, WMTW reported about the left-ward shift in delegates. Now, Bernie Sanders has 68 percent of Maine’s pledged delegates compared to Hillary Clinton’s 32 percent.
According to the Green Papers, which was last updated Saturday, Sanders has 1,419 pledged delegates and Clinton has 1,706 pledged delegates. Clinton is ahead by 287 delegates by this account. Meanwhile, the AP reports that Clinton has 1,705 pledged delegates and Sanders has 1,415. AP shows Clinton leading by 290 pledged delegate.
— Maine Democrats (@MaineDems) May 7, 2016
Rep. Barney Frank urged all Sanders supporters to unite behind Clinton if she wins the nomination in July, as Jon Fishman, the drummer of the band Phish, encouraged Sanders supporters not to give up on the idea of Sanders winning the nomination, the Eagle reported.
Currently, three of the five superdelegates from Maine support Clinton. Although the Maine Democrats decided to eliminate superdelegates for the 2020 state convention, they will still play a part of representing Maine at the national convention in July. The decision on Saturday to do away with super powerful delegates could impact Maine’s superdelegate power this year anyway, given that there was strong opposition to the idea of superdelegates siding against their state even this summer.
“It’s important that we fully respect the vote of Maine people, and we should be pushing the Democratic National Committee to reevaluate the unpledged delegates,” Maine Democratic Chairman Phil Bartlett said Saturday.
Bartlett hopes to meet with the superdelegates to see where they stand in light of the new decision in Maine.
Rep. Diane Russell, who introduced the proposal to eliminate superdelegate power in Maine, said that superdelegates are not bound by the new decision for this current election but are strongly recommended to vote in accordance with voters from Maine.
Maine superdelegates who said they plan to support Clinton in July are DNC member Maggie Allen, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, and Vice Chair for the Maine Democratic Party Peggie Schaffer, according to the Portland Press Herald.
So far, there are no official updates as to whether or not these superdelegates plan to vote in accordance with the wishes of the majority at the state convention, but Pingree reportedly announced that while she won’t switch to Sanders simply to side with the majority of her state’s party, she will side with whoever wins the national pledged delegates race.
A few other state conventions set in the coming weeks allow for reallocation of a certain number of pledged delegates at the statewide conventions. For example, in the virtually tied Wyoming, six out of eight pledged delegates must stay proportional to the earlier caucus results, but two will be awarded based on representation at the state convention at the end of May. Similarly, in Sanders-favored Nebraska, 17 out of 25 pledged delegates must remain proportional to the earlier caucus results, but eight pledge delegates are awarded based on representation at the state convention in June.
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