Freshman Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) is endorsing Obama. That brings Clinton’s lead in superdelegates down to 19. Meanwhile, the Politico reports:
Capitol Hill insiders say the battle for congressional superdelegates is over, and one Senate supporter of Barack Obama is hinting strongly that he has prevailed over Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While more than 80 Democrats in the House and Senate have yet to state their preferences in the race for the Democratic nomination, sources said Tuesday that most of them have already made up their minds and have told the campaigns where they stand.
“The majority of superdelegates I’ve talked to are committed, but it is a matter of timing,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “They’re just preferring to make their decision public after the primaries are over. … They would like someone else to act for them before they talk about it in the cold light of day.”
Obama currently holds an 18-13 lead among committed superdelegates in the Senate, while Clinton holds a 77-74 lead in the House. Asked which way the committed-but-unannounced superdelegates are leaning, McCaskill — who has endorsed Obama — said: “James Brown would say, ‘I Feel Good.’”
That 18-13 lead probably comes from DemComWatch’s chart, but by DemComWatch’s own list, the numbers in the Senate are: 16 for Obama, 15 for Clinton, and 19 undecided. I’m not sure why they list Obama as having 18, but Clinton is listed at 13 because Sens. Stabenow (D-MI) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) are currently disqualified. Sen. Jon Tester confirms that the arm-twisting has pretty much ceased.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester — one of the Democrats who has yet to commit publicly — said the campaigns “haven’t applied much pressure” of late. “I haven’t heard much, and it’s been a few weeks,” he said.
There may be a bit of gamesmanship in Sen. McCaskill’s remarks, but she doesn’t seem the least concerned about an avalanche of supers going to Clinton. After next Tuesday’s contests in North Carolina and Indiana, Obama should have a pledged delegate lead of about 166, and a superdelegate deficit of about nineteen. There will be 217 pledged delegates left to earn. Clinton can cut into that lead a little with wins in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico. Obama will probably offset those losses somewhat with wins in Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota. It’s not unlikely that Clinton might pick up a net gain of 10-20 pledged delegates after Indiana and North Carolina. To do that she will need to win Kentucky and Puerto Rico by large margins, while limiting her loss in Oregon. The contests in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia (like Indiana) are unlikely to move the delegate count much in either direction, and they will probably offset each other.
It looks like Obama will probably finish with a lead of about 150 pledged delegates. Clinton would need to win the remaining superdelegates by an approximate 223-72 (76%) margin to secure the nomination.