By Erica Teichert
Despite Sen. Hillary Clinton”s four wins in last Tuesday”s primary, many believe that she still cannot win the Democratic presidential nomination over Sen. Barack Obama.
“[The race] is too tied to call anything,” said Bill Keshlear, communications director for the Utah Democratic party. “Mathematically, she”d have a hard time winning enough delegates through the next few primaries, but other things are at play.”
Obama is leading the race with 1,520 delegates over Clinton”s 1,424. The Democrat nominee needs 2,024 delegates total to clinch the nomination. The next big primary is on April 22 in Pennsylvania, and the two-nominee race will likely continue until then.
Out of the total number of delegates, 796 are superdelegates, who are not tied to a specific candidate. If the campaign lingers for months, the superdelegates” votes could be the deciding factor.
“We would hope they would vote for the candidate who won the most votes in the series of primaries, but it”s up to them,” Keshlear said.
Currently, delegates from Michigan and Florida will not be given seats at the Democratic National Convention in late August due to broken primary rules.
“Both [state] democratic parties agreed to the rules 18 months ago,” Keshlear said. “It was pretty clear that if they wanted to move their primary process up to compete with Iowa and New Hampshire for dominance the party would react.”
However, the Florida Democratic party didn”t really break the rules, Keshlear said. The state is run by a Republican governor and legislature, which imposed the rules upon the party.
In the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, a Clinton versus Sen. John McCain match-up would be a relative dead heat, with Clinton winning by a margin within the poll”s margin of error. Obama would win against McCain if the election was held today by 15 percent.
There has been speculation about the effect two strong Democrat candidates late in the primary season can have.
“As we head towards November, our nominee must have the united support of a strong Democratic party that”s ready to fight and ready to beat John McCain,” said Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in a news release. “Now we must hear from the voters in twelve states and territories who have yet to make their voices heard.”
After Tuesday”s races, McCain was named the presumptive Republican nominee. Soon after McCain”s wins of over 30 percent in all four primaries, former Gov. Mike Huckabee announced he was dropping out of the race.
“Throughout my life, I”ve found that there are sometimes three possible answers to our prayers-”Yes,” ”No,” or ”Not Now,”” Huckabee said in his campaign blog. “I would like to think our prayers were answered with a ”Not Now.””
Before Tuesday”s primaries, Clinton had hinted to the possibility of a Clinton-Obama partnership on the November ballot.
“That would be untouchable,” Keshlear said. “But the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim.”
The next Democrat primary is tomorrow in Wyoming. On Tuesday, Mississippi holds its Democrat and Republican primaries.