Local official to sit on committee that decides delegates' fates

May 29, 2008 2:48:48 PM PDT
Barack Obama gets a clean bill of health. Doctors say he's physically fit to be president. He's also hoping to be in tip-top political shape as he tries to secure the remaining delegates he needs to wrap up the Democratic nomination. He and Hillary Clinton are looking to a key meeting this weekend where Democrats will decide what happens to delegates in two key states.

Obama's hoping to clinch the nomination by Tuesday night with a combination of delegates he is likely to win in the last three contests and enough super-delegates to put him over the top. But Clinton's not conceding anything at this point. And the wild card is Saturday's meeting of Democratic Party officials to resolve, they hope, the lingering dispute over disenfranchised delegates from Florida and Michigan, which is putting a lot of heat and a lot of pressure on the only Chicago Democrat with a vote on the issue.

"It's been very intense. My computer is completely overrun with e-mails, a full-time job just to deal with them," said Tom Hynes, Democratic Party official.

The only Chicago member of the Democratic Party committee that'll be trying to resolve the Michigan Florida delegate issue Saturday is longtime political insider Tom Hynes. The party stripped the two states of all their convention delegates for holding their primaries too early in violation of party rules.

Clinton won both states but no one campaigned in either and in fact Obama took his name off the ballot in Michigan. But the Clinton campaign now wants the party to recognize the results of the January primaries and to seat all of the delegates according to those results.

Party member Hynes who supports Obama favors a compromise that allows half of the delegates to attend the convention in August, but not all of them because there has to be some penalty for the states ignoring the rules. And he says Saturday's decision shouldn't change the outcome of the race.

Hynes said he does not believe Clinton will get all the delegates seated as she wants.

"I just don't think the support is there for that," said Hynes. "The nomination will not be impacted negatively as far as Barack Obama is concerned by what happens here, if there is a compromise."

Clinton is still campaigning hard with TV ads in all of the remaining contests and appeals to the voters in those states to keep her in the race with three victories between now and Tuesday.

"It really all does come down to next Tuesday. This is the closest election we've had in a really long time," said Clinton.

As for that Saturday meeting, Clinton is likely to come out of that with a few more delegates than Obama because she did win those two states. But she's not likely to get enough to change the outcome of the race. And that, of course, raises the possibility of taking the fight all the way to the floor of the Democratic convention in Denver at the end of August. Obama, who is in perfect health according to his doctor, was nonetheless taking the day off Thursday in Chicago to hang with his family. If you're wondering, the answer is yes, Hynes is the father of the state controller Dan Hynes. He was the assessor, ran for mayor, now he's an elder statesman with a very prominent vote Saturday.


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