Colorado Democrat Stays Mum on Presidential Pick
ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.
There are about 300 uncommitted superdelegates in the Democratic Party and they may have the final say over which candidate will be the party's presidential nominee. This past week in a series we call the Backroom Primary, NPR has been talking with a few of these superdelegates about their coming decision.
Today, NPR's Jeff Brady introduces us to Pat Waak. She chairs the Colorado Democratic Party.
JEFF BRADY: On Pat Waak's desk is a file folder of letters and even petitions requesting - and in some cases demanding - that she pick a side in the race for the Democratic nomination. Waak told a breakfast meeting of Democrats north of Denver recently that she's receiving regular calls from big names who support either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
Ms. PAT WAAK (Chair, Colorado Democratic Party): So it is a unending loving attention that I am getting. I have never been so popular in my life. And...
BRADY: Waak says she recently received a call on a Sunday afternoon from Maggie Williams, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, and another from former Representative Pat Schroeder, also a Clinton supporter.
Ms. WAAK: These last few are saying, please remain neutral, you know, which is an interesting strategy they're taking right now. I think that they're sort of wanting people not to do these endorsements that have been coming out but wait to see what the rest of the primaries are.
BRADY: There's been a steady trickle of superdelegates endorsing Obama recently. Waak says she will not join the list of endorsers on either side. There's a little Colorado Democratic Party history behind her position. Four years back, there was a nasty intra-party fight over claims that the previous chair was favoring one Democrat over another in a Senate primary race.
Waak was elected as chair on a promise to not take a position on a race where two Democrats are competing. And there's also the fact that Denver will host the Democrat National Convention this summer.
Ms. WAAK: It's important for me to convince both candidates that they will be treated fairly here in this state when the convention opens up.
BRADY: At some point Pat Waak will have to pick a candidate. Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean has asked delegates to decide by July 1 to avoid a floor fight in Denver. Waak says at least by then all the state's primaries and caucuses will be finished and voters will have expressed their preference before she expresses hers.
Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.
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