WASHINGTON — Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., a “superdelegate” to the Democratic National Convention, said Monday that if there is a contested convention, he will be for Bernie Sanders because he won his congressional district in the Illinois primary.
Every Illinois House member is a superdelegate, a nickname given to the Democratic Party honchos who automatically are delegates to the convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on July 25-28.
New York voters going to the polls on Tuesday will help determine whether front-runner Hillary Clinton can come closer to clinching the nomination with a boost from her adopted home state or if her battle with Bernie Sanders will robustly continue.
Clinton has the edge in elected delegates and an overwhelming lead over Sanders with superdelegates. Sanders and his team have been trying to win superdelegates to their side by arguing they should follow the will of their voters.
In Illinois, Sanders won the 3rd Congressional District, which Lipinski represents, and Lipinski said before the primary he will be guided by the primary outcome of his district.
During this primary season, there has been a lot of discussion about the role of superdelegates in the selection of the Democratic presidential nominee.
“As a Democratic member of Congress, I have a vote at the Democratic National Convention as a superdelegate. Before the Illinois primary I told Democrats in the 3rd District that I decided that I would pledge my vote to whichever candidate won the district,” Lipinski told the Sun-Times in an email.
“When the votes were counted, Sen. Bernie Sanders received 54 percent and Secretary Hillary Clinton received 45 percent in my district. Therefore, if there is a contested vote at the Democratic National Convention in July, I will vote for Sen. Sanders,” Lipinski said.
What’s interesting here is that Lipinski is one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. He crosses the aisle to vote with Republicans more often than many of his Democratic House colleagues.
That Lipinski would side with Sanders if need be — a socialist who has pushed Clinton to the left in the primary — indicates that his decision was not guided by his political leanings.
Lipinski’s 3rd Congressional District includes the 13th ward, home to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, who is also the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Madigan also faced a primary challenger and could not take this past primary for granted.
Though Madigan backed Clinton, the 13th and 23rd wards — with the 23rd Lipinski’s old home turf — voted for Sanders.
A flier paid for by the 23rd Ward Regular Democratic organization had a call to vote for Sanders and featured Cook County board member Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s endorsement of Madigan in the March primary. Garcia led Sanders’ drive in Illinois and is a high-profile national surrogate for Sanders.