Obama picks up delegates in Kan., Md., Nev.

May 17, 2008 7:03:39 PM PDT
Sen. Barack Obama inched closer to securing the Democratic presidential nomination with delegate pickups in Nevada, Kansas and Maryland.

In Nevada, Obama stole a delegate from rival Hillary Rodham Clinton by drawing more supporters at the state Democratic convention Saturday.

A vote of more than 2,500 convention delegates broke 55-45 percent in Obama's favor, giving Obama 14 of Nevada's 25 pledged delegates to the National Democratic Convention in Denver this summer to Clinton's 11.

The shift is a gain of one pledged delegate for Obama over the split calculated after the state's January caucuses.

Although Clinton won the support of 51 percent of the caucus-goers in January, under the complicated system of awarding delegates Obama was put on track to winning 13 delegates to Clinton's 12.

Nevada Democrats were also scheduled to select an additional unpledged, or "add-on," delegate later in the day.

In an attempt to draw supporters, the Clinton campaign sent the New York senator's most popular surrogate to speak on her behalf, former President Clinton.

Faced with a vocal crowd of Obama backers, Bill Clinton all but abandoned typical campaign rhetoric. He mentioned his wife's candidacy only briefly, and instead focused his comments on a call for party unity against the Republicans in November.

"Don't you forget why you came here. You did not go to all this trouble to have an argument with each other," Clinton said. "The argument is necessary so we can pick the best president and the most electable one. Those are the only two things that matter ... After that, we have to get the show on the road, folks. We have a country to change and a future to secure."

Kansas Democrats also held their state convention Saturday, selecting Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson as an add-on delegate. He endorsed Obama in February.

"We have to make some major changes in the direction of the country, and I'm completely convinced that he is the person who can bring the country together and lead us to that change," Parkinson said.

Obama also won the endorsement of a Maryland superdelegate Saturday. Superdelegates are the elected officials and party leaders who are automatic delegates to the national convention due to their positions.

Greg Pecoraro, a city council member in Westminster, Md., praised Clinton, but called Obama "the right leader for our time."

"I strongly believe that Senator Obama offers us the best opportunity we have had for many years to turn away from the politics of division and despair, and look toward an America of opportunity and progress," Pecoraro said in a statement released by the Obama campaign.

The pickup brings Obama's delegate total to 1,907 to Clinton's 1,718. The number needed to secure the nomination is 2,026.

Obama has been widening his delegate lead over Clinton, thanks largely to the steady movement of superdelegates to his camp as party leaders coalesce around the candidate they anticipate will be the nominee.


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