NJ delegates unanimously support Barack Obama

August 27, 2008 5:02:29 PM PDT
New Jersey's delegates to the Democratic National Convention united in their support for Barack Obama during Wednesday night's official roll call in Denver, casting all 127 of the state's votes for him. Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who announced the vote to the convention, said New Jersey's 107 pledged delegates and 20 super delegates decided early Wednesday by voice vote how to approach the roll call.

New Jersey was the last state to announce its vote before the roll call was suspended and Obama was officially nominated by acclamation at the request of former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I think it is reflective of the unity that I sense that is building across the party. That doesn't mean there won't be outlyers that are still heartbroken their favorite candidate didn't make it," Corzine said earlier Wednesday in explaining the decision by the New Jersey delegation.

Clinton had earned support from New Jersey delegates with a 10-point win in New Jersey's February Democratic primary. The New York senator also enjoyed support from a majority of New Jersey's super delegates, those who are not bound to a candidate based on popular vote, early on. Though a few later defected to Obama, most, like Corzine, did not change teams until Clinton officially ceded the hard-fought primary to Obama.

Corzine, who was among Clinton's biggest supporters, has taken on a leading role at the party convention this week to promote Obama's candidacy and downplay any lingering resentment among Clinton backers. He also has become an informal economic adviser to Obama in recent weeks.

In announcing the delegation's vote, an animated Corzine called Obama "a leader who will inspire America with hope and promise, a leader who will inspire the world with hope and promise." William Harla, who is in Denver as a member of the New Jersey fundraising contingent that calls itself "The Group," said donors are also committed to Obama.

"We're Democrats," Harla said. "We are going to do whatever we can financially and politically, to get Barack Obama elected president, and we are going to do it under the leadership of Gov. Jon Corzine."

Neither Corzine nor any member of the New Jersey delegation - including Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg - were tapped for prime speaking roles at the convention.

Those roles were reserved for politicians from the 18 states determined to be "battlegrounds" by the Obama campaign, Corzine said.

"I understand the strategy of putting the people who are going to convey strong messages to the battleground states they are central to how were going to win this election," said Corzine.

The Menendez camp dismissed a published report saying the prominent Hispanic senator turned down a chance to speak because the slot was not in prime time.

"Despite these anonymous rumors, Sen. Menendez was not given a firm offer to speak during the convention. Regardless, these rumors are not what is important - all that matters is bringing change to the White House with an Obama presidency, and the senator strongly believes in that." ---
On the Net:

Convention coverage from Eyewitness News
Barack Obama: http://www.barackobama.com
Democratic National Convention http://www.demconvention.com/
Convention videos from the DNCC http://www.demconvention.com/dncc-video/