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Arkansas Democrats seat last superdelegate

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 8, 2008 at 7:28 p.m.

The Democratic Party of Arkansas has named state Land Commissioner Mark Wilcox as the party's last superdelegate heading to the national convention.

The party selected Wilcox during a special convention held Saturday at Little Rock's Robinson Center. Wilcox, a former Faulkner County tax collector, was first elected to the land commissioner's office in 2002.

Wilcox, reached Saturday night while he vacationed with family in New Mexico, said he had not yet committed to either U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for the party's presidential nomination.

"I'll probably go with the majority of the Arkansas delegates, whatever they choose," Wilcox said.

So far, that's overwhelmingly to Clinton, the state's former first lady.

Before Saturday's convention, Clinton had the support of all the state's committed superdelegates - members of Congress and other party leaders who are not selected in primaries and caucuses. The superdelegates supporting Clinton include Gov. Mike Beebe, who endorsed Clinton last year, and Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln.

The state's three Democratic congressmen - Marion Berry, Mike Ross and Vic Snyder - are also superdelegates backing Clinton. Lottie Shackleford, a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, is the only superdelegate from Arkansas not committed to any candidate.

However, superdelegates are also free to change their minds.

In the overall race for the nomination, Obama leads Clinton 1,578-1,468, according to a tally Saturday night by The Associated Press. An AP count shows neither Clinton nor Obama will be able to reach the 2,025 threshold through pledged delegates alone. That means some 800 unpledged superdelegates may ultimately decide who wins the nomination.

As of Saturday night, Wilcox said he hadn't heard from either campaign.

"Haven't had any contacts, but I'm sure that's to come," Wilcox said.

The party's national convention will be held from Aug. 25-28 in Denver.

In Little Rock, more than 500 Democrats attended the party's special convention, though some had criticized the process of selecting Arkansas' delegates. Those who signed up as "uncommitted" to a presidential candidate were not be able to vote on choosing party delegates since Clinton and Obama garnered 96.3 percent of the vote in the state's Feb. 5 primary.

Party spokeswoman Darinda Sharp said the uncommitted would have been able to vote if another candidate had garnered 15 percent of the vote.

"This time since there was so much excitement for the two Democratic candidates ... the uncommitted status did not reach the 15-percent threshold," Sharp said.

For more information see Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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