Looking Ahead at the Democrats' Next Moves New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has publicly vowed to carry on her bid for the Democratic nomination, despite losing Tuesday's primary in North Carolina, narrowly winning in Indiana and facing a dwindling supply of cash. NPR looks at what's ahead for the Democrats this month.
NPR logo Looking Ahead at the Democrats' Next Moves

Looking Ahead at the Democrats' Next Moves

Mara Liasson: Six Primaries to Go

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David Welna: Obama and Superdelegates

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New York Sen. Hillary Clinton signs the hands of young girls at a campaign event outside McMurran Hall at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., on Wednesday. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama stands with his wife, Michelle, during a rally in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has publicly vowed to carry on her bid for the Democratic nomination, despite losing Tuesday's primary in North Carolina, narrowly winning in Indiana and facing a dwindling supply of cash.

Asked about the future of her candidacy at a news conference on Wednesday in West Virginia, where the next primary will take place, Clinton reiterated that promise. "I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee," she said. "Obviously, I'm going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee."

In the latest contests with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton lost in North Carolina by 14 percentage points and eked out a victory in Indiana by 3 percentage points.

Voters learned Wednesday that Clinton had loaned the campaign $6.4 million over the last month, in addition to a $5 million loan leading up to Super Tuesday.

Obama, meanwhile, spent Wednesday resting, as his campaign announced the support of four additional superdelegates. Former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, the Democrats' 1972 nominee, also switched his support from Clinton to Obama, saying on NPR that the time had come to unify the party.

What's next on the calendar?

May will bring a slew of contests in West Virginia, Oregon, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota – although none is expected to be decisive in the candidates' pursuit of the nomination.

Collectively, these contests offer 217 pledged delegates. (North Carolina and Indiana together offered 187). At this point, it's mathematically impossible for either candidate to clinch the nomination through the primaries.

Even more important, the candidates are expected to split the upcoming contests along demographic lines, the same way they've split other primary states. Clinton is expected to win West Virginia and Kentucky, while Obama should do well in Oregon, Montana and South Dakota.

What role will the superdelegates play?

Neither candidate can sew up the nomination through the pledged delegate count, and the contest ultimately will come down to the 215 superdelegates who remain undecided.

And in the aftermath of Indiana and North Carolina, as pressure mounts for Clinton to drop out, some superdelegates are publicly announcing their allegiances.

New in the Obama camp as of Wednesday are Jerry Meek, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party; Jeanette Council, a Democratic National Committee member from North Carolina and Inola Henry, a DNC member from California. Joining Clinton's camp is Robert Martinez Jr., a DNC member and labor union official from Dallas.

What about Michigan and Florida?

The DNC rules and bylaws committee will meet May 31 to discuss the fate of Florida and Michigan delegates. Clinton cited the date in her victory speech in Indiana.

The Clinton camp is hoping that the presence of these delegates could push her toward the nomination, though Obama remains ahead in the pledged delegate count and popular vote.

"I hope [Obama] will agree to let them be seated because certainly it's the right thing to do," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said.

Donna Brazile, a member of the rules and bylaws committee, told NPR that she personally would support proposals for those states' delegates to attend the party convention Aug. 25-28 in Denver.

The two states were stripped of their pledged delegates when they disobeyed the national party and moved up the dates of their primaries.

From NPR staff reports and the Associated Press