The center of the Democratic political universe shifts from Grand Forks, ND on Friday to Butte, MT on Saturday. (Yes, North Dakota and Montana)
With its 10pm ET poll closing time on June 3, Montana officially ends the 2008 Democratic nomination calendar.
But whether or not the race ends that week may come down to the 320 or so remaining uncommitted superdelegates and/or how strong the pressure is on Hillary Clinton to get out if she is trailing in the popular vote count.
Both Clinton and Barack Obama will address Montana Democrats at the party's annual Mansfield-Metcalf dinner at the Butte Civic Center on Saturday night.
The state party is expecting a crowd of about 4,000 and the event features Montana political celebs like Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Gov. Brian Schweitzer (who are all still uncommitted as superdelegates) and a guest appearance by South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (an Obama supporter).
There are nine superdelegates in Montana and only two have endorsed. Both Ed Tinsley and John Melcher are backing Obama. Melcher just announced his endorsement on Wednesday so he probably guaranteed himself some significant face time with the Illinois senator on Saturday night.
Former President Bill Clinton heads to sunny Puerto Rico on Saturday to speak to the Puerto Rican Manufacturers Association in San Juan and attend campaign events for his wife.
There are 55 delegates at stake in Puerto Rico on June 1, which is more than the delegates at stake on voting days in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. There are three uncommitted Puerto Rican superdelegates who could be swayed by a visit from the former president.
Speaking of superdelegates…the gap between Obama and Clinton is the closest it has ever been, with Clinton clinging to a lead of just 30 superdelegates in the ABC News delegate estimate.
Obama has been steadily closing that margin since Feb. 5 – he has gained 66 superdelegates since Super Tuesday while Clinton has a net loss of seven (she gained four but lost 11).
Of the 794 total superdelegates, 75 are add-on delegates that have not yet been named. Those add-ons will be selected at state conventions between now and June.
Obama could shrink that superdelegate gap even more by the end of the weekend when six add-ons are named at state conventions in Washington, D.C. (2), Delaware (1), Missouri (2) and North Dakota (1).
Obama won all four of these states, so if the add-on delegates fall in line with the state vote, then Obama could pick up six new superdelegates by the end of the weekend.
Some fun facts on superdelegates to get you through the weekend:
- There are 124 total superdelegates from the remaining 10 states
- Just under half remain (54) remain uncommitted
- Clinton has 32 superdelegates in states that have yet to vote and Obama has 26.
Sen. Evan Bayh joined Gov. Jon Corzine, Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Rep. John Murtha as another Clinton supporter who is pointing to the popular vote as a good barometer for superdelegates once voting ends on June 3.
But Bayh went a step further than the others and said in an interview with Al Hunt of Bloomberg TV, Bayh said Clinton needs to "win a clear majority" of the 10 remaining primaries and caucuses.