Bredesen: Democrats need superdelegate primary to pick nominee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bredesen: Democrats need superdelegate primary to pick nominee

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (file photo) Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (file photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee Democratic superdelegate is urging the party to hold a superdelegate primary to hasten the decision on the presidential nominee.

Gov. Phil Bredesen, a superdelegate who is undecided between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, says Democratic chances in November will be hurt if the nominee isn't decided until the party's August convention. 

"I'm very concerned about what would happen if you got just sort of a brutal summer of two people battling it out," Bredesen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Bredesen, who is also policy chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is proposing a two-day superdelegate primary for June after the last voter primary.

"There's going to be wounds - there are wounds already - and we need to be healing them in June, July and August, and not waiting until two months before the election," he said.

Obama leads Clinton among pledged delegates, but neither is on track to gain the delegates needed to win the nomination outright.

Bredesen, who first proposed the idea in an opinion piece in Wednesday's editions of The New York Times, said he has spoken about it with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

"He was very open and complementary and urged me to go ahead and continue making the case for this," Bredesen said.

Bredesen acknowledged that the superdelegate primary doesn't have a chance of becoming a reality if it isn't run by the DNC.

The governor said he has also spoken to Clinton, who "certainly wasn't repelled by the idea," he said. He planned to speak with Obama later Wednesday.

Bredesen was also planning to make his case to Al Gore, the party's 2000 nominee and most prominent of the remaining uncommitted delegates.

The nearly 800 Democratic superdelegates are elected officials and party leaders who can support any candidate. About 40 percent have not declared their choice, including 10 Democratic governors. Bredesen said some sort if intervention is needed to force the issue.

"The best way to do it is to put some enormous pressure - moral and otherwise - on all the superdelegates, myself included," he said. "It's time to fish or cut bait here."

Bredesen called for a "business-like" superdelegate gathering.

"There would be a final opportunity for the candidates to make their arguments to these delegates, and then one transparent vote," he said in the op-ed piece. "This is our electoral process at work in a way the founders would be proud of."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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