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Kaine OK With Efforts to Persuade Superdelegates

Tim Craig

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said today he's not opposed to efforts by Democratic officials to persuade superdelegates from Virginia to support Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the national convention in August.

At a news conference this morning, Kaine (D) said he is also "having conversations with superdelegates all the time."

"Superdelegates are getting communications from a lot of people, so folks communicating with the undecided by saying 'hey come for Senator Obama', it's all part of persuasion," said Kaine, one of Obama's national co-chairmen. "We are in a persuasion game here by trying to get those uncommitted to commit."

On Monday, the leaders of about 40 Democratic county and city committees in Virginia sent a letter to the state's superdelegates pressuring them to endorse Obama. The leaders, who have also launched an online petition, included the chairmen of the Arlington, Prince William and Fairfax county Democratic committees. They noted that Obama won Virginia's Feb. 12 primary with 64 percent of the vote.

Kaine and the state's three Democrats in the U.S. House, all superdelegates, back Obama. But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) holds a slight overall edge in Virginia superdelegates. Several superdelegates from Virginia, including Sen. James Webb (D-Va) and state party chairman C. Richard Cranwell, are uncommitted.

Some of the superdelegates who support Clinton have indicated they were offended by the letter from party officials. But Kaine said he doesn't "have a problem" with the effort.

Kaine added, however, he's confident Obama will be the nominee. Kaine said he expects a lot of superdelegates will migrate to Obama in early May, after Indiana and North Carolina hold primaries.

"I think it will be very clear by that point that Senator Obama has a lead among pledged delegates that cannot be overcome and I think, at that point, that is a very important thing for superdelegates to consider," Kaine said. "Many superdelegates will make it clear they support Senator Obama and make it plain he will be the nominee."

But Webb said Sunday he doesn't feel bound to support the candidate who is ahead in pledged delegates.

By Tim Craig  |  April 9, 2008; 11:49 AM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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