Clinton backed by 4 of 9 Arizona Democratic superdelegates

PHOENIX (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton has the support of four of the nine Arizona "superdelegates" for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, while the top two Arizona Democratic Party leaders are uncommitted.

Arizona also has one of only a handful of delegates who have committed to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Rep. Raul Grijalva announced his endorsement last month.

The survey conducted by The Associated Press received responses from all but one of the nine. Rep. Krysten Sinema did not respond to requests to answer questions on her position.

Superdelegates are delegates to the Democratic National Convention who can support the presidential candidate of their choice, regardless of what happens in the primaries and caucuses. They are members of Congress and other elected officials, party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee.

The Associated Press reached out to all 712 superdelegates nationally during the past two weeks, and heard back from more than 80 percent of them. The delegates were asked which candidate they plan to support at the convention next summer, and 359 of them said they plan to commit to Clinton. Eight said they'll support Sanders, two said they'll support former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and 210 wouldn't commit to a candidate.

The chair and first vice-chair of the state Democratic Party, Alexis Tameron and Bill Roe, said they are not backing a candidate now as a matter of principal as party leaders.

But others are strongly backing Clinton, including Carolyn Warner, a former state schools chief and longtime Democratic activist.

"The last time around I was a superdelegate for Hillary and I don't intend to change my position," Warner said. "She's the best qualified candidate of both Republican and Democratic parties."

Also backing Clinton is Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego and former state Democratic Party executive and current congressional staffer Luis Heredia.

"She ran a formidable campaign in 2008 and stuck as part of the administration," Heredia said when asked why he was backing the former secretary of state. "And I think it is time to elect Secretary Clinton. She understands the vision of this president but also is strong in understanding how to implement some progressive values that are important for the county. We can't afford to take a right turn."

Also uncommitted at this stage are Rep. Ruben Gallego, who is married to Kate Gallego, and Danica (Dah-NEET-za) Oparnica, who serves on a national DNC committee.

"I want to see how everything shakes out - if you remember during 2008 we had no idea at this time, a year before, what was actually going to happen," Oparnica said. "We had no idea Barack Obama would be as strong as he was and would take the nomination with very little opposition. And I think where there's a whole group of people like superdelegates who come out for a person it can very much influence the results."

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