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"Big Tent" Re-Opens: Obama Campaign Reverses CA Delegate Purge

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Twenty-four hours after the Obama campaign cut 900 delegate candidates across California, the campaign reversed itself and reinstated all candidates. In an email sent to all Californians running to be Obama delegates at this summer's Democratic National Convention, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote:

There has been an extraordinary outpouring of grassroots support for Senator Obama among Democrats and Independents in all 53 California Congressional districts.

In recognition of this tremendous enthusiasm, our campaign has asked the California Democratic Party to allow all persons who have filed to be a district delegate candidate for Senator Obama at the Democratic National Convention to participate in the caucuses this Sunday, April 13, 2008.

We are confident that delegates elected from this pool will reflect the Senator's commitment to a diverse and unified delegation at the National Convention.

An overwhelming number of supporters have signed up to run for delegate, so there will likely be lines and tight space at the caucus locations. We ask for everyone's patience and cooperation.

Most of all, please enjoy this opportunity to meet other Obama supporters and elect delegate candidates to the Convention in Denver.

Thanks for your interest and active participation in Barack's campaign to change politics and change America.

On a personal note, it's gratifying to know that the campaign made the decision to restore the candidacies of hundreds of volunteers and supporters. The campaign didn't have to and could have weathered out the mini-storm until Sunday. After telling my story yesterday, I spoke to many Obama supporters and other delegate candidates (those who were cut and those who weren't). All were flummoxed by why the campaign would choose to exclude so many supporters, including volunteers who have traveled to multiple states and given up nights and weekends in order to help Senator Obama win state after state.

There are some important unanswered questions that remain in the wake of the candidate purge. For instance, of the 17 candidates who remained in my district (CD30) after the cuts, three had given more than $1,000 each to Senator Clinton's campaign (two of those had also given to Obama, but one had given only $250 and made the Clinton donation more recently). If the Obama campaign was intent on removing candidates with potential loyalty problems, why would those candidates remain on the list? Even if the goal was to streamline the process, why would those candidates remain on the list?

Would I like to represent my district in Denver and cast my vote for Senator Obama at the Convention? Absolutely. But was preserving my chance to do so the most important thing to come out of the campaign's reversal? No. Rather, it was the recognition that the campaign should embrace, rather than turn away, many of those volunteers who have worked so diligently to bring new voters into the Obama tent and who are proud of where Senator Obama stands today, on the verge of becoming the Democratic nominee. See you on Sunday.