As Hillary Clinton’s campaign seeks to project dominance in a field that could soon include Vice President Joe Biden, her top advisers are touting a decisive edge on a little-discussed metric: superdelegate commitments.
At the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis, where Clinton spoke on Friday, senior Clinton campaign officials are claiming that she has already secured one-fifth of the pledges needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. They come from current and former elected officials, committee officeholders, and other party dignitaries.
The campaign says that Clinton currently has about 130 superdelegates publicly backing her, but a person familiar with recent conversations in Minneapolis said that officials are telling supporters and the undecided in the last few days that private commitments increase that number to more than 440—about 20 percent of the number of delegates she would need to secure the nomination.
After her speech, Clinton told reporters that her campaign’s attention to delegate totals is about ensuring that her support from voters translates into the nomination. “This is really about how you put the numbers together to secure the nomination. As some of you might recall, in 2008 I got a lot of votes but I didn’t get enough delegates. And so I think it’s understandable that my focus is going to be on delegates as well as votes this time,” she said.
Clinton campaign aides at the DNC meeting are privately briefing uncommitted superdelegates there on their mounting totals as a way to coax them to get them aboard the Clinton train now. Campaign manager Robby Mook, chief administrative officer Charlie Baker, political director Amanda Renteria, and state campaigns and political engagement director Marlon Marshall are among the top Clinton aides in attendance.
Final numbers are still in flux, but current estimates peg the total number of delegates to next summer’s presidential nominating convention at about 4,491, meaning that a candidate would need 2,246 to win. The Clinton camp’s claim to more than 440 delegates means she’s already wrapped up the support of more than 60 percent of the approximately 713 superdelegates who, under party rules, are among those who cast votes for the nomination, along with delegates selected by rank-and-file voters in primaries and caucuses beginning next February. Delegate totals won’t be finalized until the DNC determines the number of bonus delegates awarded to states, a party official said.