Port will vote for Clinton in support of women
DENVER » Richard Port, Hawaii's Democratic national committeeman said he would vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton tonight as a symbolic gesture about the importance of having a woman run for president.
"This is probably the one time in my life that I will have the opportunity to vote for a woman," said Port this morning.
Women's issues have long been a special concern of Port, who notes that the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, a strong women's rights advocate, signed his Democratic Party card in 1968.
"This has nothing to do with any opposition to (Sen. Barack) Obama, I support Obama, I will certainly work very hard, probably harder than most people to make sure we have a Democratic White House in November," Port said.
Port, who at past conventions has ignored the pleas of party leaders and voted for candidates other than the one who went on to win the nomination.
"Generally, I vote for the person who brought me to the dance," Port said this morning.
At the 1980 convention, Port, who has gone to seven Democratic national conventions, voted for Ted Kennedy instead of Jimmy Carter.
In 1992 Port cast his delegate vote for Tom Harkin, not Bill Clinton and in 1988 he picked the Rev. Jesse Jackson over Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis.
Other Hawaii Democrats have been urging Port to switch his vote, but say there is nothing they can do.
State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a Hawaii delegate and Clinton supporter, was named one of 40 Clinton whips to enforce party discipline, including bringing the Clinton delegates over to the Obama camp.
"Each delegate will make up his or her mind, I talked to Richard and I know others talked to him, but I understand his position," Hanabusa said.
She said she would vote tonight for Obama after Clinton released her delegates, which she did earlier today.
The roll call vote was scheduled for tonight, with Obama needing 2,223 votes to secure the nomination.