End To Primaries In Sight

By Samantha Hayes – Washington, D.C.

There are three contests left in the Democratic primary season: Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana. But the biggest impact on the nomination may not result from any of them. Instead, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are awaiting a possible decision from the rules committee of the Democratic Party after a meeting scheduled in Washington tomorrow. There are thirty members of the Rules and Bylaws committee, that’s the official name for the folks who will try to decide what do with delegates from disqualified primaries in Florida and Michigan. Thirteen of the committee members have endorsed Clinton, eight are backing Obama, and nine have not made an endorsement.

It’s really impossible to predict what might happen. Democratic Party rules say the rule breakers (Florida and Michigan, for moving up the dates of their primaries) must lose at least 50 percent of their delegates. Of course, Clinton wants (and needs) to see 100 percent of those delegates restored, but the only way that can happen is if the rules committee can’t decide, and they pass the buck along to the credentials committee. That’s a big problem though, because the credentials committee doesn’t meet until later this summer and many leaders in the Democratic Party want to the nomination wrapped up by the end of June.

In fact, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and calling uncommitted superdelegates. That’s a lot of phone calls because there are 194 remaining as of Friday. Its Pelosi’s goal to urge them to make up their mind next week so the Democratic Party has more time to prepare for the general election.

As for the meeting tomorrow, supporters of both candidates are expected to gather in large numbers outside the hotel. There has been so much interest that the Democratic Party decided to offer tickets to the public, which were snapped up in minutes on line. Of course, nobody will be watching closer than the candidates, who after five months of campaigning, are looking to thirty people to put the delegate debate behind them.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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