By Ramon Bracamontes - El Paso Times - 5/15/2008
The challenge filed by El Pasoans supporting Sen. Barack Obama's presidential nomination that questions whether the county Democratic Party properly seated its delegates is one of about 150 challenges pending in Texas, officials said Wednesday.
Hector Nieto, spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party, said most of the challenges come from the state's major cities and all allege that rules were not followed at the county conventions.
"We received 50 challenges from Tarrant County alone," Nieto said. "Every one will be considered and resolved right before the convention starts."
El Paso's challenge to the way delegates were seated was filed in April, a week after the county convention, by El Paso lawyer Don Williams. He is alleging that local democrats appointed too many delegates to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to the state convention. The challenge is asking that 37 Clinton-supporting delegates be changed to Obama.
If the change is not made, then El Paso should not be allowed to participate at the state convention, the challenge states.
Williams said he expected his challenge to be upheld, thus giving Obama 37 more El Paso delegates.
"If we have to change delegates right before, we are ready," Williams said. "We will have enough Obama delegates in Austin."
Democratic precinct chairwoman and state delegate Rita Sariñana said she was not worried about being able to participate in the state convention.
"I was elected from my precinct, by my neighbors," she said. "My seat is not in question."
The makeup of the state's delegates remains controversial because neither Clinton nor Obama has secured the 2,025 delegates needed to win the party's presidential nomination, and Texas still has 67 delegates to allocate. How those 67 delegates get split will be decided at the state convention.
The state convention will begin June 6.
Ramon Bracamontes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6142.
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