Montana Democrats Explain State Superdelegate Rules
As the primary race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton heats up, many Democrats are starting to question an aspect of their party’s primary process that allows some delegates to choose a candidate regardless of how their state votes. Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party Nancy Keenan says Montana has 27 delegates, but only six of these are, so called, “superdelegates.”
Montana's superdelegates are not a secret, and they include some names most Montanan's should know, as two are prominent office holders. They are:
Sen. Jon Tester
Gov. Steve Bullock
State Democratic Party Chair Jim Larson
State Democratic Party Vice Chair Jacquie Helt
State Democratic National Committeeman Jorge Quintana
State Democratic National Committeewoman Jean Lemire-Dahlman
According to many reports, a large percentage of super delegates nationwide have already signaled that they prefer Clinton to Sanders. This of course has many Sanders supporters fuming. However, a special Montana rule means voters will have to wait till summer to discover which way our state superdelegates plan on voting.
"It has been both traditional and broadly in our rules, that those delegates maintain neutrality throughout the contested primary," Keenan said. "So until June, when everybody in Montana gets to vote, then the superdelegates will also align themselves with a presidential candidate."
The super delegate system is unique to the Democratic Party, though the Republican Party system is also extremely confusing, even to those that study the process, due to different rules in different states.