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          Front Page




Superdelegate Waits for a Call

By Jeff Jones
Of the Journal
    One of New Mexico's two remaining uncommitted Democratic superdelegates says she has questions about Hillary Clinton's viability, but she adds that she remains undecided on the contest between Clinton and Barack Obama.
    "(I'm) really looking to hear from the Clinton campaign as to what their concrete reasons and strategies are for staying in the race," Laurie Weahkee said Wednesday, the day after Obama posted a wide-margin win over Clinton in North Carolina and narrowly lost to her in Indiana.
    Weahkee, a member of Cochiti and Zuni pueblos, was selected April 26 by state Democratic party members as New Mexico's 12th and final superdelegate to the party's nominating convention in Denver in late August.
    At the time of her election, Weahkee said she wanted to hear from both presidential camps about their positions on issues important to Native Americans, including sovereignty and health care.
    She's still waiting.
    While media outlets around the nation have reported on the fierce competition for superdelegates between Clinton and Obama, Weahkee in another interview on Thursday said she hadn't received a call from either campaign.
    "I figured they were super-busy with the Indiana and North Carolina campaigning," Weahkee speculated.
    Some Clinton backers following Weahkee's selection as a superdelegate contested the selection process and said they believed Weahkee, who insisted she was uncommitted, was in fact an Obama backer.
    During my Thursday interview with Weahkee, I wondered out loud whether the controversy had turned her off on the Clinton camp. But Weahkee said that's not the case.
    "I understand it's a high-stakes game," she said. "You've got to roll with the punches."
    WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER UNCOMMITTED SUPERDELEGATE? That would be Rep. Tom Udall, the 3rd Congressional District representative who is running for the U.S. Senate.
    While pressure is increasing on the remaining uncommitted superdelegates from around the nation to get off the fence, Udall on Thursday kept mum on the matter.
    "Tom Udall remains uncommitted," his campaign said in an e-mail.
    A SHOT FROM VOTE SMART: Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan national group that aims to gather detailed, no-wiggle-room policy positions from political candidates, says most primary-election candidates in New Mexico have snubbed their requests.
    In a Thursday news release, the Montana-based group said only 11 percent of state legislative candidates and 21 percent of the U.S. congressional candidates involved in New Mexico's June 3 primary submitted "Political Courage Test" questionnaires from the group.
    To see who submitted the questionnaires— and who didn't— and to review the questions, go to the Vote Smart Web site at www.votesmart.org.