Super-duper delegate Stark isn’t budging

The feisty Rep. Pete Stark, the Fremont Democrat who frequently says things that even his friends wish he hadn’t said, is keeping his presidential preference to himself.

Like most of the undeclared “super-delegates,” the 796 people who will have a vote in the nomination of the the Democratic Party’s choice for president in Denver in August, Stark is being wooed by both sides. (The super-delegates are members of Congress and the national Democratic Party board.)

But the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps have had little success with Stark.

“I’m holding out for a new bridge or maybe even a new federal building,” Stark quipped in a light-hearted moment during a telephone a interview late Thursday. “So far, the biggest bribe I’ve been offered is dessert with Hillary (Clinton) in Washington, D.C. But I don’t eat dessert and I wasn’t available that evening. Is that the best they can do?”

Seriously, though, Stark says he will not endorse either Clinton or Barack Obama unless the delegates are unable to reach a deal on the floor of the convention.

“I think it’s got to be decided by the delegates,” said Stark. “We have millions of new people who participating in the process and they are not, as (California Attorney General) Jerry Brown said, going to put up with a bunch of old people going into a smoke-filed room and making the decision. We’ll disengage them.”

Let the delegates vote at the convention and if neither candidate prevails, then let the “delegates work the floor. Let them swap and bargain and if they can’t make a deal in two or three or four days and we (super-delegates) have to the tie-breakers, then we can do that,” Stark said.

Stark says he will take no part in any advance super-delegate meeting where the plan is to hash out the selection of a nominee prior to the convention. Some Democratic Party activists fear a convention bloodbath will make it harder for the eventual nominee to beat presumed GOP nominee and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


Super Tuesday II: Online primer

Lots of folks ask me where to find the best on-line information about the presidential primary race, such as the delegate counts, maps of results, blogs, links to stories, etc.

Some of this, of course, may depend on your political proclivity toward one party or the other. I’d love to hear from you about where you go for the latest political news about the presidential race. But here’s my list and if you send me your favorites, I’ll post them here:


Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Washington Post

New York Times

Los Angeles Times



Fox News


Election erata from Contra Costa

Political junkies may enjoy these tidbits from Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir, including the fact the turnout among Democrats may top 74 percent while Republican turnout was 57 percent

Here are Steve’s notes:

– (John) Edwards received 6,076 from the vote-by-mail ballots and 1,399 from election day ballots.  He finished ahead of “write-ins”  and all other Demo candidates below him received fewer votes that “write-in”.
— In the American Independent Party, “write-in” was the top candidate, and was larger than the total vote for the three candidates.  (64% of the vote cast in the American Independent Party was for a write-in candidate.)
— In the Green Party, Nader came in first, but “write-in” topped the other 6 candidates. — In the Libertarian Party,  “write-in” came in first beating the 12 candidates in that contest.
— In the Peace & Freedom Party, “write-in” came in first beating all 7 candidates, including Nader.
— For the election night total, over 5,000 people wrote in a candidate for president, or about 2% of those voting.
— Democratic write-in was one half of one percent.  Demos had 1,842 over/under voted ballots or 1.1%.
— Republican write-in was two percent.  Reps had 2,106 over/under voted ballots or 2.7%.
— Democratic turn out looks like 74% and we have 45,000 to add. (This includes cross-over voting from decline to state voters.)
— Republican turn out looks like 57% .
— If one half of the remaining ballots are Democratic, that turn out will approach 84%.


Contra Costa turnout may reach 66 percent

Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir says voter turnout in the county will likely come close to 66 percent by the time his office finishes counting the ballots, a figure substantially higher than the statewide rate of 46 percent.

Counting will continue for quite a few days, though.

In Contra Costa County, voters turned in 26,689 mail-in ballots at the polls and another 5,000 mail-in ballots arrived via the U.S. Post Office by the deadline. They also have 14,000 provisional ballots to count. These are ballots cast by individuals who may or may not have been registered or showed up at the wrong polling place or had some other issue that requires investigation.

For a list of turnout by county, check out the Secretary of State’s web site at http://vote.sos.ca.gov/Returns/status.htm But keep in mind that these percentages will rise as counties complete the counts of their mail-in and provisional ballots; it shows Contra Costa at 56 percent but Weir said that number will change.


Classic schism in GOP surfaces

Behind the scenes, Republican supporters of Arizona Sen. John McCain are grumbling about what they say was state GOP Chairman Ron Nehring’s glaring failure tonight to publicly congratulate the apparent GOP winner in California. (SEE UPDATE BELOW WITH NEHRING’S STATEMENT ON McCAIN’S APPARENT WIN.)

Starting about 9:30p.m., media outlets projected McCain would take California but Nehring remained silent.

Nehring, reached by phone a few minutes ago from San Diego, where the state party held its Election Night party, called it a non-issue and said he never planned to call the election himself or give a speech from the podium.

“We will absolutely unify behind the party’s nominee,” Nehring said.

The electorate appears unified behind McCain.

He was winning in every California Congressional district, even the most conservative districts in Orange County and in Central California. If the votes hold up, he will claim all the state’s Republican delegates. The party allocates three delegates for each of the state’s 53 Congressional districts.

But McCain is not the choice of the party’s most conservative voices and prominent state party leaders, including many who have spared no opportunity to criticize McCain’s stance on hot-button issues such as immigration reform.

They can’t be happy with this outcome.

McCain also received the endorsement of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, another moderate Republican who angers conservative members of the party.

Moderate Republicans have long said that the party’s platform is too far to the right of mainstream California Republican voters, and tonight’s outcome supports their theory.

12:30 A.M. UPDATE: Nehring sent out a statement at 12:09 a.m. congratulating McCain. Here’s what he said:

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring today issued the following statement congratulating Senator John McCain in the California Republican Presidential Primary today.

“Congratulations to Senator McCain for his victory across California today.

“Based on the results reported by the Secretary of State, Senator McCain has triumphed in every part of California, from the Oregon border to San Diego.

“California Republicans know how to win in our state, as Governor Schwarzenegger and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner demonstrated in 2006.

“While the contest for the Republican presidential nomination appears it may continue, we’re confident the issues of this campaign – the economy and keeping America on offense in Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism – will be those where Republicans have demonstrated consistent strength.”