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Reality Check: Who Are Wis. Superdelegates Supporting?

Published On: May 15 2008 09:39:27 AM CDT   Updated On: May 16 2008 08:15:40 AM CDT

There's less than a month left in the presidential primary season, but talk has already turned to the importance of superdelegates.

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Those are Democratic Party leaders and elected officials who get a vote at the national convention that isn't dictated by the state primary.

In this "Reality Check," WISC-TV looks at who the superdelegates from Wisconsin are supporting in the race.

Wisconsin has 16 superdelegates at the convention.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama currently has the most committed superdelegates in Wisconsin, including Gov. Jim Doyle.

Other pledged superdelegates for Obama are U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, Dave Obey, Steve Kagen and Ron Kind, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Joe Wineke, former assemblyman Stan Grusynski, legislative aide Melissa Schroeder and Marquette student Jason Rae.

Just this week, University of Wisconsin Student and Vice President of the College Democrats of America, Awais Khaleel, announced his endorsement of Obama via State Sen. Lena Taylor added her support this week as well. That brings Obama's superdelegate total to 11.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's list in Wisconsin is much shorter, with just two. It includes U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and DNC Member Tim Sullivan.

The aim of the candidates at this stage of the race is to get the remaining delegates to side with them. There are currently three undecided superdelegates from Wisconsin -- U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold and Paula Zellner, a DNC member and Feingold staffer.

Feingold hasn't officially committed to Obama but said in February that he'd voted for Obama in the Wisconsin primary, so some news organizations are already counting him in the Obama column.

Kohl has been very tight-lipped about his presidential pick, saying he's not making an endorsement at this time. He won't answer why he's waiting or when he will choose. When contacted recently, Zellner said she had no comment on the matter.

Some might question why the party bosses have more say in the nomination than the average voter. But superdelegates make up less than a quarter of the total delegates to the convention, and technically the public could lobby the state's undecided superdelegates, just as the candidates are doing, to help them decide their vote.

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