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ND Democrats pledge 13 delegates to Sanders, five to Clinton

BISMARCK - North Dakota Democrats have selected 13 delegates for Bernie Sanders and five delegates for Hillary Clinton to attend the party's presidential nominating convention next month.

Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders prepares to speak for a video to supporters at Polaris Mediaworks in Burlington, Vermont., U.S., June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Matt McClain/Pool
Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders prepares to speak for a video to supporters at Polaris Mediaworks in Burlington, Vermont., U.S., June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Matt McClain/Pool

BISMARCK – North Dakota Democrats have selected 13 delegates for Bernie Sanders and five delegates for Hillary Clinton to attend the party’s presidential nominating convention next month.

The 18 pledged delegates were chosen during the party’s State Delegate Selection Meeting on Saturday in Bismarck, based proportionately on the results of the June 7 statewide presidential preference caucus in which delegates handed Sanders a 253-101 victory, with 40 delegates uncommitted.

The state Democratic-NPL Party will send a total of 23 delegates to the national convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

Five of those are unpledged superdelegates who are free to switch their allegiance at any time before the convention. Of the five, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has endorsed Clinton, national committeeman Chad Nodland is supporting Sanders and the other three are uncommitted.

In addition to the 18 delegates selected Saturday, each candidate also received one alternate.

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Dem-NPL Executive Director Robert Haider said more than 400 delegates and alternates attended the meeting at Bismarck High School.

“Folks are still very engaged in the process and very active in their support for both,” Haider said.

After winning last Tuesday’s District of Columbia primary that marked the end of the primary season, Clinton holds a 2,806 to 1,880 lead in delegates over Sanders, with 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, according to an Associated Press tally.

Clinton has declared herself the nominee, but Sanders has refused to end his presidential bid, though he said last week that he would work with Clinton to defeat Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

A Sanders supporter and district-level delegate who was left off of Saturday’s ballot of potential national delegates claimed state party officials seemed biased for Clinton.

Marguerite Coffinet, a District 19 delegate from Minto about 35 miles north of Grand Forks, said she made the four-hour trip to Bismarck but learned she wouldn’t be considered as a national delegate because in her application, she hadn’t filled out a pledge sheet indicating which candidate she would support. She said her acting district chairman never gave her the pledge sheet and she was never called or emailed about it as a state party staffer claimed.

“It almost seemed like it was sour grapes on their part,” she said. “Had I been a Hillary supporter, I don’t think this document issue would have happened.”

A special education teacher who has been a lifelong independent and only became a Democrat to help with the Sanders campaign, Coffinet said it’s “clear” party officials are biased for Clinton and as a staunch Sanders supporter, “I just felt that I was less than welcome” at the meeting.

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“Hillary does not have the votes yet. Until the superdelegates vote, it’s not over,” she said, adding Clinton “needs to make real concessions” and adopt key pieces of Sanders’ platform to win over his supporters. Clinton holds a 587-48 lead in superdelegates.

Haider confirmed that two or three district delegates were left off the ballot because they missed paperwork deadlines, but said, “There was nothing that we could do.”

“I spoke with the Sanders campaign. They said they were not in the position to approve them if they did not submit everything by the deadline,” he said.

Three other Sanders supporters had submitted their paperwork on time but the party office lost it, so party staff worked with the campaign and they still got on the ballot, he said.

Following are the North Dakota delegates to the Democratic National Convention

For Bernie Sanders:

  • District level: Jeffrey Eide, Emily Kimball, Andrew Laverdure, Haleah Laverdure, Michael Lopez, Kelsey Parton (alternate), Aruna Seth, Vinod Seth, Brannon Sever, Jamie Stewart
  • At-large: Robert Haukenberry, Kevin Kautzman, Kevin Tengesdal
  • Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (“PLEO”): Carol Sawicki

For Hillary Clinton:

  • District level: Nikki Berg Burin, Bernie Erickson (Alternate), Sterling Reed, Katherine Satrom
  • At-large: Cesareo Alvarez, Jr.
  • Pledged PLEO: Becky Ronkowski

Dem-NPL chair Kylie Oversen, a superdelegate and state representative from Grand Forks, said in a statement that the party’s message of bringing people together is in stark contrast with GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s “brand of exclusion and division.”
“In that light, we are proud that our delegates elected the most diverse Democratic National Convention delegation that we’ve ever seen,” she said.

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