Hirono declares vote for Obama
STORY SUMMARY »
| READ THE FULL STORY
Hawaii Rep. Mazie Hirono put Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama in a near tie with Sen. Hillary Clinton in the battle for superdelegate votes.
Hirono endorsed Obama yesterday, giving the Hawaii-born, Illinois senator 272 superdelegate votes, according to the Associated Press. Clinton yesterday had 272.5. Superdelegates are party leaders and members of Congress who attend the convention by virtue of their position. Delegates abroad and from U.S. territories get half a vote each.
The AP also reported that Obama has 1,859.5 delegates to 1,698 for Clinton. It takes 2,025 delegate votes to win the nomination.
FULL STORY »
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii joined eight other superdelegates yesterday in endorsing Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic presidential nomination.
Hirono's action came a day after Obama ventured across the U.S. Capitol on a hand-shaking tour of the House floor.
"I talked to him briefly. I hadn't made an announcement at that point, so I just greeted him. He was very cordial, and everybody liked the fact that he came and said hello," Hirono said.
Hirono said she called some of her Hawaii supporters who were also Clinton supporters, such as local political worker Jadine Nielsen, to let them know she had declared for Obama.
Previously, Hirono, who supported former Sen. John Edwards in the primary four years ago, was neutral this year.
"We need to unite behind the front-runner and marshal our energy and resources to defeat Sen. John McCain," Hirono said.
Hirono's decision leaves U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka as the only member of the Hawaii congressional delegation still undecided. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is supporting U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie is backing Obama.
A spokesman for Akaka, Jesse Broder Van Dyke, said today that the senator might make an endorsement before the convention, although he declined to say when Akaka might decide. In February Akaka spokesman Jon Yoshimura said that Akaka would "wholeheartedly support the party's nominee; however, he does not plan to endorse any candidate."
Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Willes K. Lee responded saying, "Hirono may gain popularity by pledging her support for the 'native son' Democratic candidate, but she won't be helping our economy. Mr. Obama's promises to raise taxes on hard-working families and small businesses would only harm our economy."
The Hawaii Obama campaign also announced yesterday that it was joining a national voter registration drive today with rallies in Honolulu and on Maui.
In Honolulu, Obama supporters are planning a rally at 10 a.m. today at 2500 Campus Road at the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus.
On Maui the rally will be held at the ILWU Hall at 896 Lower Main St. in Wailuku. It also will start at 10 a.m. today.