By Friday, all of Utah's six Democratic superdelegates will back Barack Obama including two who have publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton and one who has remained uncommitted throughout the long presidential primary process.
That's the prediction of Utah Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland, who was confident Utah's superdelegates would quickly get behind the party's apparent nominee even as the final primary election votes were being cast Tuesday in Montana and South Dakota.
"I have no doubt you're going to see a unified group," Holland told the Deseret News.
Sure enough, former state Sen. Karen Hale, who is in Paris on business, was ready after Tuesday's election results to move her superdelegate vote from Clinton to Obama.
"I firmly believe it's time to move on and celebrate our nominee and unite the Democratic Party," Hale said. She said Clinton "ran a great campaign ... and I appreciate all she's done."
Holland said that Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker's spokeswoman, Helen Langan, also will switch her allegiance from Clinton, and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, will finally shift his superdelegate status from uncommitted.
Holland said Langan is "perfectly and completely content" backing Obama but is waiting for Clinton to announce she's leaving the race as a show of respect for a hard-fought campaign.
But Langan, the party's national committeewoman for Utah, said Tuesday that she isn't ready to make a change yet.
"I haven't made any decision about making a change as of today," Langan said. "It's fair to say I'm still in the Clinton camp. ... I'm obviously paying close attention as everyone is, and keeping an open mind. I'm still reserving judgment."
Matheson doesn't seem to be in any hurry either to declare who he's supporting. The only Democrat in Utah's congressional delegation issued a statement Tuesday saying he'll wait for Obama and Clinton to meet and "bring the nomination race to a conclusion."
"Out of respect for both of these hard-working candidates and their campaigns, I want to give the courtesy of time to reach a mutually agreeable resolution that will unify the party. Superdelegates, in my view, should not rush this very important coming together," he said.
Holland declared in April he'd be casting his vote as a superdelegate for Obama and appointed an Obama supporter, Kristi Cumming, as a superdelegate at last month's state party convention. Former Utah Rep. Bill Orton is also an Obama superdelegate.
Unlike regular delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August, the party leaders and elected officials who serve as superdelegates are not bound by the outcome of primaries and caucuses held in their states.
That's made the hundreds of superdelegate votes nationwide highly sought after by both Obama and Clinton as their battle over the Democratic nomination dragged on months longer than anticipated.
Utah Democrats chose Obama over Clinton in the state's Feb. 5 presidential primary, 56 percent to 40 percent. That gave Obama 14 of the state's 23 regular delegates, while Clinton received nine.
Obama has proved popular with Utahns, nearly beating the presumptive GOP nominee, John McCain, in a poll taken last February. McCain has since widened his lead in solidly Republican Utah.Last summer, Obama attracted about a thousand supporters to an impromptu rally just outside Park City. Clinton has not campaigned in Utah, although both her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, have held events for her here.
Contributing: Suzanne Struglinski E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]