U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island, isn’t worried about the continuation of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination and doesn’t think his candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., should withdraw.
“Why should she drop out? What’s wrong with staying in?” McNulty asked, adding that Clinton’s chances of victory were improved by her victory over Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in the Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday.
But counting all primaries and caucuses so far, Obama retains a modest lead in pledged delegates and in the popular vote. Clinton’s only real chance would appear to be if she wins a clear majority of the superdelegates, who get a vote at the Democratic convention based on the offices they hold.
McNulty is a superdelegate and said he is sticking with Clinton as long as she’s in the race. That’s also the position of another local superdelegate, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport, her spokeswoman, Rachel McEneny, said on Wednesday.
McNulty said the Obama-Clinton race has helped spur Democratic turnout in the primaries to levels much higher than for the Republicans, which he said bodes well for the party’s prospects in November. He would support Obama if he is the nominee and would expect him to win, the congressman said, but still hopes his fellow superdelegates will deliver the nomination to Clinton. McNulty said that would be winning according to the rules in place, just as the rules are denying Clinton credit for her primary victory in Florida. Florida and Michigan are being denied a voice at the convention by the Democratic National Committee because of a dispute about the timing of their primaries. Obama and Clinton did not campaign in either state, and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.
One of the few New York elected officials to support Obama is Sen. Bill Perkins, D-Manhattan. He said Clinton is entitled to stay in the race, but he is also confident that Obama will prevail. There will only be a problem, Perkins said, if Obama ends up with the most votes and elected delegates but Clinton contrives to win the nomination through the superdelegates.
“How can you be the winner and wind up the loser?” Perkins asked, adding: “I don’t see that happening.” Rather, he said, the superdelegates are breaking for Obama.
The certain Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is only four points behind Clinton and five points behind Obama in New York, according to a Siena Research Institute poll released Tuesday. Siena spokesman Steven Greenberg said in a news release, “New York is looking more ‘purple’ than ‘blue’ these days, since neither Clinton nor Obama gets 50 percent of the vote against McCain and both Democrats have small and shrinking leads against the Arizona Republican.” Clinton beats McCain by 46 to 42 percent and Obama beats him by 45 to 40 percent, the poll said.
It is not known whether McCain will make a serious play for New York, which has been reliably Democratic in every close election in recent decades. Rensselaer County Republican Chairman Jack Casey said he did not know the answer to that question but “We see a shift back to traditional values,” which would help McCain appeal to “Reagan Democrats.”
Thomas Loeffler, a co-chairman of McCain’s national campaign, is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Rensselaer County Republicans today in Troy. “We asked for somebody from the McCain campaign,” Casey said about the event at the Franklin Terrace, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, also is scheduled to speak.
Loeffler is a lobbyist and a former congressman and Reagan administration official. He could not be reached for comment.
Assemblyman Jack McEneny, D-Albany, a Clinton supporter, said on Talk 1300 radio: “It will come down to the superdelegates. … I think the party will pull together. It’s a tense time; people have strong opinions. … Eventually we’ll have one [nominee] and we’ll concentrate on the issues.”