One of the names well remember from her years of service in School District 9, Gail Rasmussen, is taking on a bit of a new role as August approaches.
Rasmussen is one of what is termed in the Democratic party a super delegate. How did she obtain that stature? She has been on the Democratic National Committee since 2001 and was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in 2004, is vice-president of the Oregon Education Association and will likely be president of the state association this year.
There are a dozen super delegates out of the 65 delegates in Oregon.
While other delegates may be committed based on primary elections or
state conventions, super delegates vote their conscious. This can
cause them to communicate with people throughout the state who have
various backgrounds and interests in an effort to truly be a
representative of the people. "I’m a grass roots person. This is a
different thought process. I’m depending on people I trust and respect
for opinions," said Rasmussen. On the other hand, a super delegate has
become the focus of a great deal of attention as the Democratic race is
Rasmussen said when she was just a delegate four
years ago, hardly anyone cared. This year, hardly anyone does not
care. Nationwide there are 830 super delegates and this year they
could make the difference at the convention in Denver.
jokingly claims she can’t lose because she is a woman and she is black,
so no matter who she supports, she will be correct.
super delegate designation started in 1984 when the party decided they
needed a safety valve. It started in response to the nomination of
George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1976. McGovern took only
one state and only had 37.5 percent of the popular vote. Carter was a
dark-horse with little national experience, yet became president.
delegates are to act as a check on ideologically extreme or
inexperienced candidates. It also gives power to people who have a
vested interested in party politics such as elected leaders.
win the Democratic nomination for president, a candidate needs 2,025
delegates. The super delegates will probably be the deciding factor in
this year’s race.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent