Superdelegate sets up online poll to decide which Democrat he should vote for

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 18, 2016 at 1:47 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A Democratic Party superdelegate is allowing his supporters to vote on which presidential candidate will receive his vote at the nominating convention.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., emailed supporters Wednesday morning asking them to vote in an online poll. The poll asks supporters to choose whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., should receive Grayson's superdelegate vote.

"Look, I'd be perfectly happy if our nominee were chosen exclusively in the primaries. But 15 percent of the delegates to the Democratic convention are chosen because of who they are, not whom they support," the email said. "And I happen to be one of them. I wrestled with that responsibility for a while, until I realized that I don't have to decide -- I can let you decide."

Grayson is in the race for the Florida Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Grayson's main contender is Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.

"There is a divide between grassroots Democrats and establishment Democrats," Grayson told BuzzFeed. "It's troubling. There's a negation of the popular will when you say that a block of delegates can vote regardless of what voters want."

Superdelegates, who are usually elected officials or state party leaders, are able to vote for any candidate they choose at the party's nominating convention, regardless of who won the primary vote in their state. Superdelegates can "pledge" their vote for a candidate, and so far, 360 have pledged in favor of Clinton compared to 10 who have pledged in favor of Sanders. There is a total of 712 Democratic superdelegates.

Clinton's lead among superdelegates has ignited protest among Sanders' supporters, who are petitioning superdelegates to align their votes with the primary outcomes of their states.

"The point of this is very simple: The point is power to the people," Grayson said. "We're not gonna let the politburo decide this one."

The Hill reported Grayson plans to close the poll sometime before Florida's Democratic primary March 15. Although he sits on the Florida Leadership Committee for Clinton's campaign, Grayson clarified in November that it does not constitute an endorsement for Clinton. He's also spoken kindly of Sanders, calling him a "national treasure."

Grayson has said that if supporters are particularly convincing, he'll go on to endorse the winning candidate as well.

"I imagine I will find people's arguments persuasive," he said.

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