Senators to Hold Off on Endorsing

Jun 3, 2008 3:38pm

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: While many of the Democrats in the Senate remain uncommitted superdelegates, it is unlikely there will be a wave of endorsement announcements by those Senators for Sen. Barack Obama — at least not tonight.

After meeting with Democratic Senators at a weekly strategy meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-NV, said that he is ready for the primary to be over and will, in the next week or so, "set an example for the rest of the Senate." 

Presumably, that means he will make a public announcement about the candidate he will endorse as a superdelegate.   

Reid and other party leaders have said for several days that they will encourage uncommitted superdelegates to make their endorsements known and avoid a battle at the convention in August in Denver.

However, today Reid asked Senators to "keep their decisions in their pocket" until the primaries in South Dakota and Montana are done this evening.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"I want the primary over. I want everyone, until the elections are over, to keep their decisions in their pocket.

Reid said that Senator Hillary Clinton should not be pressured by her Democratic Senate colleagues to get out of the race today.

"Senator Clinton needs to be left alone to get through the primary process and let it run it’s course."

Reid also said he has already spoken with  Democratic Party  Rules Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein about fundamental changes to the primary process. He said he hopes such reform will be one of the first things Democrats tackle next year.

There are 16 uncommitted superdelegates left in the Senate, Reid included. Only four of those showed up to a meeting called yesterday by uncommitted Senators Tom Harkin, D-IA, and Ken Salazar, D-Colo, on how to move forward endorsing a candidate. Not much came of it yesterday, but maybe it was just a bit early.

Harkin and Salazar will call another meeting for Wednesday after the final primaries in South Dakota and Montana are over, and again invite all the undeclared Senators to determine how to go about endorsing. Harkin told reporters today that a number of things are on the table for that meeting, including discussions of a mass announcement by many of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates in the Senate. But he said nothing is set in stone yet.

"There is a genuine feeling that people want to bring this to a close very soon," Harkin told reporters before going into the weekly policy strategy lunch for all Democratic Senators this afternoon.

"The purpose of the meeting is because there are a lot of us, about 15 or 17 of us who are… not undecided or uncommitted, but undeclared and we wanted to see is there something we might want to do as a group or do we want to do it individually," Harkin said.

Harkin said he is not concerned that the nomination fight will jeopardize party unity in November or even in August at the Democratic National Convention.

"Passions will cool down. Things will cool down. We’ll have a nominee and we’ll all be focused as a party long before the convention," Harkin said.

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