Thursday, May 1, 2008

Calls to Gov. Easley run 3-1 against Hillary endorsement

For Release: May 1, 2008
Voters for Obama
Contact: Co-organizers Erik Ose or Dana Lumsden,

CHAPEL HILL - North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, the same day Voters for Obama announced that 2,500 North Carolina voters have signed petitions calling for Gov. Easley and the other N.C. superdelegates to back Barack Obama.

Reaction to news of Easley's endorsement came fast, with a large volume of calls and e-mails to his office from constituents.

According to Renee Hoffman, Gov. Easley's press secretary, as of 5 pm Wednesday, approximately 48 hours since news of Easley's endorsement broke, his office had received over 1100 phone calls and e-mails (483 calls and 683 e-mails) on the subject. The phone calls broke down 360 against, and 112 in favor - slightly more than 3-1 against it.

"It's a risky political move for Easley," said Erik Ose, one of the co-organizers of Voters for Obama. "Most Democrats in North Carolina have been waiting for him to endorse Obama, and wondering why he was still on the fence."

Polls have consistently shown Obama is favored by the Democratic and Independent voters who will decide North Carolina's primary on May 6. The latest RealClearPolitics average of N.C. polls conducted April 26-29 shows Obama ahead of Clinton by 7.2 points.

About Voters for Obama

Since President's Day, a coalition of voters based in Chapel Hill has been calling for Democratic elected officials and other superdelegates to support Barack Obama for President.

Organizers are gathering signatures from voters across N.C., including 500 in Rep. David Price's district before he endorsed Obama on April 16. And they launched a website,, that has sparked petition drives to superdelegates in six other states - Florida, Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

"Citizens want their voices to be heard in the nomination process," said Democratic activist Erik Ose, one of the co-organizers of Voters for Obama. "Most superdelegates are politicians, and they pay attention to the voters who elect them."

Neither Obama nor Clinton can win enough delegates to reach 2,024, the number needed to be nominated. The 794 superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver will tip the balance. The rules say these Democratic elected officials and other party leaders can choose whoever they want, regardless of how their state or district voted.

"By any standard, Obama should be our nominee," said Dana Lumsden, a Charlotte attorney and another co-organizer of the group. "He is ahead by half a million in the popular vote, and has won twice as many contests as Clinton. His appeal among independent voters makes him a strong general election candidate. And Obama is bringing a wave of young people into the political process that will give the Democratic party a huge boost for the future."

The group's website has an easy to use, state-by state list of all the superdelegates that shows who is still undecided, and how to reach them by phone or e-mail. There are tools on the site including petition forms that can be printed and addressed to individual superdelegates.

Voters for Obama first organized in North Carolina because all of N.C.'s congressional superdelegates originally backed former Sen. John Edwards. When Edwards exited the presidential race, most had yet to endorse another candidate.

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