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Elections 2016

Hillary Clinton Picks Up Another Texas Superdelegate



WASHINGTON, D.C. — With early voting in Texas just four days away, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s campaign announced she’d picked up a handful of endorsements in the state ahead of its March 1 Democratic presidential primary.

The campaign listed about 50 Texas Democratic officials who are now backing her campaign. Many of those likely will be able to help her turn out the vote in their own backyards.

But three of those endorsers are specifically crucial: Democratic National Committee members Betty Ritchie, Dennis Speight and Lenora Sorola-Pohlman. As members of the DNC, they are what is known among Democrats as superdelegates who have outsized say in the party’s nomination fight between Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.

The Texas Tribune previously reported Speight and Sorola-Pohlman were Clinton backers. Ritchie’s endorsement was not publicly known prior to Friday’s announcement.

The public release of these backers comes as the Texas primary is taking on increasing importance in the race for the Democratic nomination. Sanders mightily wounded Clinton Tuesday night with a strong victory in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.

But her allies argue that Texas, a backwater in Democratic politics, is nonetheless loaded with Clinton-friendly party delegates, including these superdelegates.

The Democratic Party created the designation in the 1980s to wrest control from the party’s activist class, just the type of people supporting Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Clinton has now publicly secured the support of at least 15 Texas superdelegates, mostly consisting of sitting members of Congress.

State Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso, is the lone member of the Legislature publicly backing Sanders, but she is not a superdelegate. Sanders aides say they are confident that a favorable turnout will help him make the case to superdelegates after voters cast their ballots March 1.

Superdelegate John Patrick, the Texas president of the AFL-CIO, recently told the Tribune that the Sanders camp reached out to him after the Iowa caucuses to seek his support. Patrick says he remains undecided.

The Clinton list includes DNC members, county chairs and senatorial district and State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members:

  • Diana Arevalo, SDEC 26
  • Linda Baca, Wharton County Chair
  • Kyle Benson, Kleberg County Chair
  • Linda Brown, Johnson County Chair
  • Nelda Calhoun, Robertson County Chair
  • Nicholas Chu, SDEC 14
  • Cathy Collier, Gillespie County Chair
  • Sharon Davis, Anderson County Chair
  • George Dillingham, Washington County Chair
  • A.J. Durrani, SDEC 17
  • David Griggs, SDEC 16
  • Rodney Griffin, SDEC 13
  • Mary Hamm, SDEC 4, Chambers County Chair
  • Mary Hatfield, SDEC 28
  • Jared Hockema, SDEC 27
  • Steve Huerta, SDEC 26
  • Clara D. Jones, Leon County Chair
  • Shelley L. Kennedy, SDEC 15
  • Jennie Lou Leeder, SDEC 24, Former Llano County Chair
  • Judy Leunes, SDEC 5
  • Ronald LeVick, Burnet Count Chair
  • Gary Livingston, SDEC 12
  • Mary Bell Lockhart, Brewster County Chair
  • Duane McCune, Guadalupe County Chair
  • Michael McPhail, SDEC 9
  • Elias Olivarez, SDEC 20, President of Texas Stonewall Democrats
  • Sylvia Palumbo, SDEC 21
  • DNC Committeewoman Betty Richie (superdelegate)
  • Thelma Reyna, SDEC 27
  • David Rosen, Midland Democratic Chair
  • Diana Salgado, SDEC 19
  • Charlie Ray Smith, SDEC 10
  • Tracy Smith, Wise County Chair
  • DNC member Dennis Speight, (superdelegate)
  • DNC member Lenora Sorola-Pohlman (super delegate)
  • Jeff Strater, SDEC 23
  • Jean Taylor, Donley County Chair
  • Dr. Dennis Teal, SDEC 3
  • Benn Tibs, Waller County Chair
  • Celina Vasquez, SDEC 9
  • Vickie Vogel, SDEC 18
  • John Weir, Kendall County Chair
  • Karen Wheaton, SDEC 7
  • Carol Wheeler, SDEC 17
  • James White, SDEC 8
  • Donald L. Williams, SDEC 29
  • Shay Wyrick-Cathey, SDEC 23
  • Phyllis Kay Wright, Archer County Chair
  • Larry Yawn, SDEC 5
  • Jesse Ybanez, SDEC 7
  • Sandra Young, Medina County Chair

[gdlr_icon type=”icon-camera-retro” size=”16px” color=”#999999″]TOP IMAGE: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Mountain View College in Dallas on Nov. 17, 2015. / photo credit: Cooper Neill

[gdlr_notification icon=”icon-external-link” type=”color-background” background=”#ffcc20″ color=”#ffffff”]This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.[/gdlr_notification]

Abby Livingston joined the Tribune in 2014 as the publication's first Washington Bureau Chief. In this role, she won the 2017 National Press Club Award for Washington Regional Reporting. Previously, she covered political campaigns, House leadership and Congress for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. A seventh-generation Texan, Abby graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She grew up in Fort Worth and has appeared in an episode of "The Bold and The Beautiful." Abby pitched and produced political segments for CNN and worked as an editor for The Hotline, National Journal’s campaign tipsheet. Abby began her journalism career as a desk assistant at NBC News in Washington, working her way up to the political unit, where she researched stories for Nightly News, the Today Show and Meet the Press. In keeping with the Trib’s great history of hiring softball stars, Abby is a three-time MVP (the most in game history —Ed.) for The Bad News Babes, the women’s press softball team that takes on female members of Congress in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball breast cancer charity game.

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october 2021