Clinton wants TX to postpone conventions

DALLAS, TX In a letter sent to the state Democratic Party late Friday, the Clinton campaign requests the March 29 count and state Senate district conventions be postponed until the eligibility of an estimated 1 million caucus-goers are double checked.

The Clinton campaign wrote they received more than 2,000 complaints of violations following the historic Texas turnout, which was perhaps the nation's largest caucus ever.

With about 41 percent of precinct caucuses reported, rival Barack Obama was ahead with 56 percent to Clinton's 44 percent. "It is the Party's responsibility to ensure the integrity of the precinct convention process by making sure that the Rules were followed," the letter states.

The letter came after the Clinton campaign said party officials told them this week it would not verify the eligibility of all caucus-goers before March 29. The county and district caucuses will whittle down the delegates before the state convention in June, when the final delegate count for the Texas caucus will be known.

Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto said Saturday the party has not yet had the opportunity to make any decisions on the Clinton campaign's request.

"We're not surprised Senator Clinton's campaign has engaged with their attorney, but right now the TDP remains extremely pleased by the record-breaking turnout," Nieto said.

In a statement Saturday, Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said, "We don't think that the record-breaking number of Texans who stood up to be counted on March 4 would appreciate the Clinton campaign's attempt to disenfranchise them and silence their voices just because the outcome wasn't politically beneficial to Senator Clinton."

Clinton campaign spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod, when asked if a lawsuit would be filed or considered if state party officials did not postpone their conventions, said Saturday that, "We believe that we can work with the party to find a resolution that protects the wishes of every Texas voter and ensures that no one was disenfranchised."

In the letter, the Clinton campaign lists 10 instances in which party rules were violated during precinct caucusing. They include caucuses starting before precinct polling closed, and results being taken from head or hand counts instead of a written roll.

So far, precinct caucuses report electing 23,918 delegates for Obama and 18,620 for Clinton. In the Texas primary also held March 4, Clinton won the popular vote with 51 percent to Obama's 47 percent. That earned her 65 delegates to his 61.

The turnout for the Texas caucuses was more than four times the estimated 220,000 who attended Iowa's first-in-the nation presidential contest.

The turnout stymied a state Democratic party that has had a shadow of its once mighty influence since a Republican takeover of state politics in the 1990s.

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