The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 15, 2012

Democratic delegates still needed

By Kelly Kazek

— While there are no Democratic candidates for local offices who are running with opposition within the party, local party leaders want to remind Limestone Countians they still need to choose delegates.

Because primary elections are ones in which each party chooses its candidate to run in November, residents will vote by party on March 13.

This year, the Democrats running for local office won’t have opponents until the general election in November when they face Republicans. Local Democratic ballots will contain only a list of candidates for delegates; those with the most votes will represent the Fifth Congressional District the week of Sept. 3 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, S.C.

“If voters are interested in having a voice from Limestone County, they need to vote,” said Pam Wallace, a candidate for delegate who also has served as chair of the local Democratic Party in the past.

On March 13, voters who request a Democratic ballot will first be asked to mark whether they intend to vote for Barack Obama or if they are undecided. Then, the voter will pick four female and four male delegates for the Fifth District in the chosen category (supporting Obama, or “uncommitted.”)

The Fifth Congressional District includes Madison, Limestone, Lauderdale, Jackson, Colbert, Lawrence and Jackson counties. Limestone County is not guaranteed a representative unless a local candidate receives the most votes.

The chosen delegates — about 6,000 nationwide — will attend the national convention, where they will take part in the party’s formal vote.

However, because Obama is the only Democratic candidate for president, the vote is largely symbolic. Since 1976, no major party convention has opened with the identity of the nominee in question. Republicans will also have a choice of delegates on the March 13 primary ballot but in that case they will choose which delegates will vote for their choice.

While three of the candidates listed on the ballot have dropped out of the race since its printing — Michele Bachman, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry — remaining choices listed are Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and “uncommitted.”

Some Democrats have chosen to be listed on the ballot as “uncommitted” as a way to stand out from the crowd but when they arrive at the convention, all votes will go to the only candidate, Obama.

Instructions on the Democratic ballot state: “Vote for not more than four women and not more than four men delegate candidates committed to the Presidential candidate you voted for at the top of the ballot or not more than four women and not more than four men who are running uncommitted if you voted uncommitted at the top of the ballot.”

Here are the candidates for Democratic delegate from the Fifth District as they will appear on the primary ballot:

• Female delegates for Obama: Kimberlee English Anderson, Shannon L. Bridgmon, Susan C. Brown, Barbara Bryant Cady, Katherine E. Clark, Yolanda Johnson Faulk, Hilary Gould, Laura V. Hall, Pam Miles, Verna Rizvi and Larisa Thomason.

• Female delegates uncommitted: Pam Wallace

• Male delegates for Obama: Joey Aiello, J. Mark Anderson, Michael A. Blakely II, Will Breland, Ray Campbell, Ronald Collier, Steve Croomes, Casey J. Eggleston, Eddie L. Greene, Bob Harrison, George Hearring, William Lewis Krause, Charles E. McDonald, Johnny M. Phillips, T.R. Rizvi, A.J. Smith.

• Male delegates uncommitted: None.