Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been calling former presidential candidate Bill Richardson seeking his support as the two top Democratic rivals battle for endorsements — and superdelegates.
But Richardson, who dropped out of the race after polling poorly in the New Hampshire primary, remains undecided.
On one hand, New Mexico Gov. Richardson served in Bill Clinton’s administration as ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary, and has said he admires Hillary.
On the other hand, he has said he considers Ted Kennedy — who endorsed Obama — a “mentor” who helped him get elected to Congress in 1982, and he admires Obama as well.
“If I do endorse, it’s going to be a gut feeling,” Richardson told the Washington Post. “It’s not going to be about statistics, about past ties. I’ve been on the campaign trail with both of them. I feel that I know them well.”
The Obama campaign hopes to land Richardson and other Democratic Party leaders “who will help to dismantle what the Clinton campaign calls its ‘firewall’ in the nomination battle: a clear advantage among superdelegates, who account for about a quarter of the total number of delegates who will determine the nominee,” the Post reports.
Superdelegates are mainly members of Congress, governors, party officials and grass-roots activists, who are free to back any candidate regardless of the primary results in their state.
Of the 796 Democratic superdelegates, 300 have committed to a candidate, and Clinton leads Obama by a margin of about two to one. A candidate needs 2,025 delegates to secure the nomination.
But superdelegates can change their allegiance at any time, and the threat of a wholesale shift before the Democratic convention in August hangs over both Clinton and Obama.
“Analysts are closely watching whether Democrats who have remained on the fence will continue the trend of backing Mrs. Clinton or will step up support for Mr. Obama,” the Financial Times recently reported.
The biggest remaining targets for endorsements, in addition to Richardson, are former presidential candidates Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, and both said they have been wooed by Obama and Clinton.
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