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In Focus: Dems Hemorrhaging Superdelegates

They're being indicted and they're resigning. If this keeps up, which Democrat will suffer more come the convention?

by
Sheryl Longin

Bio

March 27, 2008 - 1:23 pm

Just when the party needs them most, the Dems super-delegates are dropping like flies. First there was William Jefferson, followed by Eliot Spitzer, then Kwame Kilpatrick, and today, Anibal Acevedo-Vila.

This morning’s announcement of the indictment of Puerto Rico’s governor along with twelve others, including prominent Philadelphia democratic fundraiser Robert Feldman, worries party faithful for more reasons than one. Governor Acevedo-Vila , “a Harvard educated attorney and politician,” who according to AP, “was elected governor in 2004 after campaigning on an anti-corruption platform,” just last month endorsed Senator Obama for president. But as WaPo’s the Trail points out:

The reach of the case could wind up touching supporters of both Obama and his Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton…The paper reports that the investigation “was triggered by the FBI’s Philadelphia City Hall corruption probe in 2003. Feldman, who raised more than $1 million for Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and Gov. Ed Rendell, was a former business partner of Ronald A. White, the late power-broker who was the lead defendant in the Philadelphia corruption case.” Rendell is a prominent Clinton supporter.

And Senator Casey is, you guessed it, an uncommitted super-delegate.

Neither Rendell nor Casey have been implicated in the probe, but association with Feldman seems to bring bad luck at the very least. Another recipient of his fund-raising largesse was former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey.

The stench of scandal threatens to further envelop the Garden State as Acevedo-Vila’s close ties with Sen. Robert Menendez are once again in the spotlight.

The Star-Ledger reports that:

“Acevedo-Vila is a significant behind-the-scenes player in New Jersey politics. He was an ally of McGreevey and he endorsed Jon Corzine in the 2005 election, and then attended his inaugural as governor the following January. In 2006, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) vacationed with Acevedo-Vila at the governor’s beach house in Puerto Rico.

As the federal probe of Acevedo-Vila progressed, Menendez used a controversial and secretive parliamentary maneuver to try to block the nomination of the U.S. attorney whose office Wednesday indicted Acevedo-Vila. Menendez was roundly criticized for his conduct in the nomination fight and has refused repeated requests for comment on the matter.”

Sen. Menendez, bien sur, is a super-delegate too. For Hillary.

Though a tally suggests the scandal so far is tit for tat, impacting neither candidate more than the other, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air believes Obama takes the bigger hit.

“He loses a superdelegate in Acevedo, but more problematic, he has once again been associated with election crimes and corruption. He had just gotten past his Tony Rezko problem, and now the proximity of another money-launderer will call into question just how naive or worse the unvetted Obama may be.”

Judging by such commenters as Tyross, posting at USA Today’s On Deadline, it won’t make a whit of difference, since it’s all a republican conspiracy:

“The republicans are using to patriot act to spy on the democrats, this is exactly what Nixon was impeached for. These are trumped up charges meant to make the dems look bad. The playground bullies are rearing their ugly heads!”

Sheryl Longin is the author of Dorian Greyhound: A Novel and co-screenwriter of the movie Dick
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