May 14, 2008
Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama will pick the endorsement of former presidential hopeful John Edwards at a rally tonight in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The endorsement is a coup for Obama, whose lead in both pledged delegates and superdelegates been building in recent days despite Hillary Rodham Clinton ‘s overwhelming win Tuesday in the West Virginia primary.
Edwards is scheduled to make his endorsement at a rally at 7 p.m. in Grand Rapids. The rally caps off a day of Obama events across Michigan, a key battleground state with a high proportion of so-called Reagan Democrats, a demographic that has supported Clinton in many primaries.
Winning over the state is tricky for Obama, in part because he did not participate in the Jan. 15 primary. Obama – like most top-tier candidates except for Clinton – removed his name from the Michigan primary ballot because the state party set the primary in violation of national party rules. Clinton, who did not campaign in the state, won the contest with 55 percent of the vote while “uncommitted” received 40 percent of the vote. The national party stripped Michigan of its delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August because of the violation. Both candidates and the national and state parties are negotiating to set a plan to seat Michigan’s delegates, although efforts to date have not produced a solution.
Edwards dropped from the 2008 presidential race in January. It was his second unsuccessful attempt for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 2004, Edwards joined the ticket of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry as the vice presidential candidate. The Democratic ticket lost to President Bush nationally 51 percent to 48 percent.