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Meet An American Samoa Superdelegate: A Beauty Contest Judge

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Super-delegates are often portrayed as the ultimate Democratic party insiders, people who hold elected office or have been high-ranking staff on a political campaign. This description does not fit Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde, a super delegate from the far away U.S. territory American Samoa who has made no donations to the Democratic officals or the party and may actually be best known as the host of the Miss American Samoa Pageant.

That's not to say Langkilde has avoided politics. In the Miss American Samoa 2006-2007 contest, he asked one contestant: "It has been said that freedom is not free, and we have experienced death throughout this past year. If you had the chance to talk to all the soldiers in Iraq, what would you say to them?"

More a business man than a politician, Langkilde is the owner of Fox-affiliated Malama TV. He is involved in a building project that will contain American Samoa's second McDonalds as part of the Langkilde Development Corporation. The family business has owned property in the territory since 1954, when it ran a gas station, auto repair shop, and grocery store.

Langkilde endorsed Hillary Clinton in January, and the New York Senator won American Samoa's caucus a month later, which netted her two of the territory's three votes among six delegates. "At a time when our country faces so many complex challenges, we need a leader with the strength and the experience to make change happen starting from day one," Langkilde said at the time of his endorsement.

The interest generated by the race was found even in this small island territory, Langkilde has said. "Historically, a good turnout is about fifty people," but this year, American Samoa had about two hundred fill its one caucus room, the Tradewinds Hotel, Langkilde told the Columbia Journalism Review.

Like so many other states, American Samoa moved its caucus up to February 5 for 2008 and also scheduled the caucus earlier in the day, at 11 a.m., so the small island territory would garner a little more attention from the media this year. As Democratic party chair, Langkilde spearheaded the effort. "In past years we'd had [our caucus] at 6 p.m. always, but by the time we had our results, people on the mainland would be asleep."

Langkilde ran an unsuccessful campaign for American Samoa's seat in the U.S. Congress.

OfftheBus could not reach Langkilde by phone.

This piece was produced as part of OffTheBus's Superdelegate Investigation. Click here to read more superdelegate profiles.