Survey: 5 of 9 Indiana superdelegates support Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton has a majority of Indiana's Democratic superdelegates backing her presidential bid in 2016.

An Associated Press survey found that five of the state's nine superdelegates have pledged their support to Clinton, who is seeking the party's nomination over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Of the six who responded to the AP's survey, all said they support Clinton's candidacy except state Democratic Chairman John Zody, who is uncommitted at this time. Three superdelegates did not respond.

Superdelegates, who are members of Congress and other elected officials, party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee, will attend the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. They can support the candidate of their choice regardless of the outcome of Indiana's May 3 primary.

With 712 votes at the convention next summer, superdelegates make up about 30 percent of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

Several Indiana superdelegates cited Clinton's experience as a reason they supported her.

"She's been through all of this before as the wife of the president, and as a senator and as secretary of state," superdelegate Shari Mellin of Elkhart said. "Obviously, she's got a lot of experience and she knows what Washington is like."

Sen. Joe Donnelly said in a statement he is supporting Clinton because "Hoosiers deserve an advocate for middle- and working-class families in their next president."

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson is also supporting Clinton, while Rep. Pete Visclosky didn't respond.

Many superdelegates said they like Sanders and think he resonates with millennials. But they also questioned whether U.S. voters are ready for a candidate who calls himself a democratic socialist.

"I like what Sen. Sanders is saying, and I understand why many people may gravitate toward him," Indianapolis superdelegate Cordelia Lewis-Burks said. "However, I don't believe that the electorate in this country will elect anyone who declares themselves a socialist."

Mellin added: "That word has come to mean—because of the way Republicans have exploited it—to mean terrible things in this country."

Some superdelegates who are elected officials may be waiting until voters decide before going public with their decision. The same happened in Indiana's 2008 Democratic primary when Clinton narrowly beat then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama during a heated race.

While Zody did not offer an endorsement, he said all of the democratic contenders seem more even-keeled than the raucous Republican field, where an anti-establishment mood has taken hold.

"They all seem pretty out of touch and focused on trying to outdo one another," Zody said of the Republicans.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.