Welch says he hopes super delegates don’t decide Democratic nomination

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(Host intro)Congressman Peter Welch says the Democratic Party runs the risk of alienating a lot of voters if the presidential candidate who wins the most elected delegates isn’t chosen as the Party’s nominee for the fall election.

Welch, who’s a super delegate supporting Senator Obama, says he’ll be very disappointed if the super delegates play the deciding role in the nominating process.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) After more than 40 state caucuses and primaries, Senator Barack Obama holds a roughly 100-delegate lead over Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The closeness of this race is placing a new emphasis on the role of the roughly 850 super delegates at the national convention. This group consists largely of members of Congress, state party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee.

The tight contest has also raised questions about what to do with more than 300 delegates from Florida and Michigan, two states that broke party rules and held their primaries ahead of schedule.

Speaking on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Congressman Peter Welch, a super delegate supporting Senator Obama, said it’s critical for the Democrats to accept the outcome of the primaries and caucuses that have followed party rules.

(Welch) "My view is that the candidate that ends up with the most votes from elected delegates is the person who should be our nominee. You know, frankly, I think that if the nominee is chosen by muscling the super delegates or by changing the rules that applied in two particular cases in Michigan and Florida, it will really undercut the credibility of the outcome."

(Kinzel) Welch says the Democrats will undermine public confidence in their selection process if they allow the super delegates or the delegates from Florida and Michigan to determine the outcome of this nomination battle.

(Welch) "This is an unprecedented election in that we have had an explosion of citizen interest and all those people showed, I think, they would come to the conclusion that a fix was in if it’s finally made by the super delegates. So I really would defer to the outcome as expressed by a majority of the voters."

(Kinzel) Vermont has seven super delegates. Five are supporting Senator Obama, one backs Senator Clinton and former Governor Howard Dean, who’s now the chairman of the DNC, says he’s neutral.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.



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