The Center for Responsive Politics gave voters a lovely Valentine's Day gift on February 14 when they released this report on contributions made by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to politicians who are now some of the very men and women who could decide the Democratic nomination. Analysis quickly followed.
Do these contributions make any difference to the direction the superdelegates have now swung? The Center says so. They report:
Campaign contributions have been a generally reliable predictor of whose side a superdelegate will take. In cases where superdelegates had received contributions from both Clinton and Obama, seven out of eight elected officials who received more money from Clinton have committed to her.
Thirty-four of the 43 superdelegates who received more money from Obama, or 79 percent, are backing him.
In every case the Center found in which superdelegates received money from one candidate but not the other, the superdelegate is backing the candidate who gave them money.
Adding a bit of mystery to the already mind-numbing superdelegate process are the ways campaign finance reports from Senate candidate committees are filed.
Contributions to candidates for federal office are relatively easy to track, but money given to state and local officials is harder to spot. Campaign finance reports from Senate candidate committees are still filed on paper, making it difficult to know who is receiving money from them. For that reason it's possible that Obama and Clinton have given superdelegates even more than the $904,200 the Center for Responsive Politics has identified
For now, there is a great deal of "he said, she said" between the two candidates on the importance of these superdelegates, or as the Clinton campaign prefers to call them "automatic delegates."
Obama's fact check page lists numerous Clinton inaccuracies on the delegate matter. Harold Ickes, a top Clinton campaign strategist, has his own contradictory words quoted therein.
Now Ickes is the same guy who reminded us that superdelegates will not be descending on us from Mars this summer (thankfully), yet he claimed the superdelegates are more in touch with the issues voters find important than the actual voters themselves.
Some other interesting tidbits gleaned from the Center's report:
Obama is listed as having given $16,000 to Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa. But, Braley endorsed John Edwards prior to the Iowa caucuses. Sen. Tom Harkin, also of Iowa received a cool $10,000 but hasn't endorsed a soul, yet. However, he has been very vocal about his opposition to seating the Michigan and Florida delegates Clinton is counting on.
Rep. Melissa Bean (IL), received $19,000 from Obama, and is a known member of the moderate to conservative democrats known as the Blue Dog Democrats. Bean has been called out for her vote in favor of CAFTA among other issues.
A sizable group of other Blue Dog Democrats have also received funds from Obama.
Included are Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA), Rep. Joe Baca (CA), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA),Rep. Tim Mahoney (FL), and the list goes on. Some received hefty amounts of $18,826 and $19,000 apiece from the senator.
Clinton gave $5,000 to Gov. Bill Richardson. Poor Richardson didn't have the same luck with Obama who gave him zip. Word in the blogosphere was that Richardson was angling for the VP spot with Clinton.
Other notable superdelegates who cleaned up?
Sen. Daniel Akaka (HI), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH), Sen. Bob Casey (PA), and Sen. Robert Byrd (WV) each received $10,000 a piece from both candidates, though none have endorsed either yet.
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