New York Senator Hillary Clinton will become the first challenger to a presumptive Democratic nominee for president to be placed in nomination at a party convention since Jerry Brown in 1992.
Clinton husband, Bill, had a clear majority of convention delegates sixteen years ago. But Brown, running then as a maverick reformer, wanted to address the convention — in hopes of advancing what he referred to as a “humility agenda.” The Clinton camp said “no.”
Convention rules stated that anyone could second his or her nomination, so Brown had his name placed in nomination and then came to the podium to second himself. He eventually won 596 delegate votes to 3,372 for Clinton.
If Hillary Clinton’s delegates stick with her through a full roll-call in Denver, it will be much closer: Going into the convention, Obama has 2,201 likely votes to 1,896 for Clinton.
But, unlike Brown in 1992, Hillary Clinton will not be banging too hard on the presumptive nominee or the party.
The nomination and roll-call vote will be good theater — providing a little dramatic tension at an otherwise over-managed convention — but little more.
Clinton is saying now and will continue to say that having her name placed in nomination is more about building unity than highlighting divisions.
There’s no question that many Clinton backers are diehards who are not just more loyal to her than to Obama but who really want to make a statement about the historic significance of a woman getting as close as the former first lady did to the nomination and the presidency.
The point of the roll-call vote at the convention will be to give them an outlet, say both the Clinton and Obama camps.
This is the “catharsis” Clinton spoke of when she said recently that “the best way I think to do that is to have a strategy so that my delegates feel like they’ve had a role and that their legitimacy has been validated…”
Here’s the joint statement from the Clinton and Obama camps:
Since June, Senators Obama and Clinton have been working together to ensure a Democratic victory this November. They are both committed to winning back the White House and to to ensuring that the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver. To honor and celebrate these voices and votes, both Senator Obama’s and Senator Clinton’s names will be placed in nomination.
“I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton’s historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion,” said Senator Barack Obama.
Senator Obama’s campaign encouraged Senator Clinton’s name to be placed in nomination as a show of unity and in recognition of the historic race she ran and the fact that she was the first woman to compete in all of our nation’s primary contests.
“With every voice heard and the Party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama President of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again,” said Senator Hillary Clinton.
Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are looking forward to a convention unified behind Barack Obama as the Party’s nominee and to victory this fall for America.