Local delegate selection is this weekend

02/27/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Going into next week’s series of four primary elections, Barack Obama hold a 91-delegate lead over Hillary Clinton. But who are these delegates? And when the question comes to Florida, will they count?

That has yet to be decided. But the Florida Democratic Party will decide this Saturday who those representative delegates are.

The delegates are broken down by Congressional District. So in the 25 districts throughout the state, those delegates will be chosen Caucus-style on Saturday.

Obama took the 11th district’s popular vote, so three delegates will be chosen for him, two for Hillary Clinton.

There will be 17 Democrats vying in the 11th District to become those two delegates. There will be 15 to vying to be an Obama delegate.

Today WMNF spoke with some of those potential delegates.

Cathy Bartolotti has previously served as a delegate for Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and John Kerry. She’s running to be a female delegate for Hillary Clinton.

Jim Jackson lives in St. Petersburg, part of the unusually shaped 11th District represented by Rep. Kathy Castor. He is one of the few non-Hillsborough County area Democrats running to be an Obama delegate. The 63-year-old said the last presidential campaign he was active in was more than 35 years ago, when former New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm ran for high office in 1972.

In the Jan. 29 primary, Clinton beat Obama soundly, winning by 17% percentage points in an election declared essentially meaningless by the Democratic National Committee. But unlike many Obama supporters, delegate-wannabe Jim Jackson said he respects that vote.

Pat Kemp was recently elected to the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee’s vice chair position. She’s also the wife of WMNF programmer Randy Wynne. Although she’s been involved in Democratic politics in Hillsborough County for awhile, she never previously thought of being a delegate. Kemp hopes to be that woman, but she knows it essentially comes down to a popularity contest.

The selection of delegates in Florida’s 11th Congressional District takes place at the County Center in Tampa on Kennedy Boulvard between 10 a.m. and noon. If you are a registered Democrat in the district, you can show up or you can show up at any of the Congressional delegate selections throughout the state. Visit the Florida Democratic Party’s website.

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