At a press conference Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean would push uncommitted superdelegates to announce their presidential choice no later than July 1.
"The three of us, we may write a joint letter, we might do individual letters," he said, referring to letters to be sent to superdelegates after the primary process ends, urging them to announce a presidential preference. "We are in contact with each other. What we will do, unless something comes up, we’ll do it together."
The three Democratic leaders have made no bones about the fact that they do not want the contest to continue through the summer to be resolved during a messy Democratic convention floor fight in August.
Reid’s deadline is significant because Sens. Hillary Clinton’s argument to superdelegates depends upon the contests in Florida in Michigan counting.
Those states were stripped of their delegates after they defied the DNC and held their contests early; candidates did not compete there and Obama’s name was not even on the ballot in Michigan. Clinton won both states handily, and her argument to superdelegates depends upon those contested primaries having some resolution so she can come closer to Obama’s lead in pledged delegates and continue her argument that only she won larger swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio that Democrats need to win to recapture the White House.
But the Florida and Michigan issue will not likely be settled by July 1, the day that the DNC Credentials Committee assumes control over the convention from the Rules Committee.
"People will have plenty of opportunity after the last primary on June 2 to make a decision about what they are going to do," Reid added today. “I’ve said for several weeks now that this matter will be over by some time in June but no later than the first of July. I still believe that that’s the case.”
The Nevadan said that superdelegates were coming off the fence, adding that he’d met with the Democratic chairmen of Senate Committees the day before, where "one of the chairmen said ‘I’m going to make my decision pretty soon,’ so I feel comfortable where we are."
And will Reid endorse a candidate?
"I might have to," Reid said.