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Dancing with the Delegates

Same is true of the Democrats. Of the 4,049 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, 20% or 797 are unpledged superdelegates allotted by the Democratic National Committee. & These include all Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, the entire Democratic National Committee, and distinguished party members such as Bill Clinton . & All are free to support any candidate at the convention.

So although Californians who vote in the Democratic primary (either registered Democrats or nonpartisan voters) will send a hefty 441 delegates to the DNC, roughly 16% of those votes will be cast by unpledged superdelegates. & Many of California's superdelegates have already decided their votes, well before Feb. 5 and it appears that Hillary Clinton has thus far picked up 24 supporters compared with five for Barack Obama. U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein is among those superdelegates supporting Clinton.

Finally, you have every right to wonder whether the delegates who get your vote will stick with your candidate once they actually are at the conventions. & This is an e-mail from a California Democratic Party staffer: & & ldquo;The DNC Rule is to vote for the candidate at the Convention. & A candidate can & 'release' their delegates at any time & ndash; some wait till the end. & rdquo;

The media liaison at the State Republican Party was sure that delegates remain pledged & & ldquo;(1) until the candidate to whom the delegate is pledged wins the nomination, (2) receives less than 10 percent of the votes for nomination, (3) releases the delegate from his or her obligation, or (4) until 2 convention ballots have been taken. & rdquo; & & However, he was waiting clarification on & ldquo;once one of these conditions is met, the delegates are free to vote their conscious [sic] (and are truly & ldquo;unpledged & rdquo;) or if the candidate can direct the delegates to vote a certain way, or if there exist any other peculiarities in the process. & rdquo;

Democracy in a fashion will be at work this summer. & More to come.

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