U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan joins Bernie Sanders' superdelegate count


Just last week, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan was firmly in the "undecided" camp in the Democratic presidential nominating contest.

This made him one of the only liberals in America who wasn't expressing intense feelings about either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. 

Nolan's campaign manager, former DFL legislator Joe Radinovich, told the Wall Street Journal the Democratic congressman was getting a lot of pressure from Sanders backers approaching him at public events. One political donor contacted Nolan's re-election team to say he wouldn't give another dollar unless Nolan endorsed the Vermont socialist for president.

In fact, the most Nolan had done to that point was reaffirm his neutrality. When he was listed in some accounts as a Clinton superdelegate, Nolan quickly made clear he wasn't supporting either candidate yet. 

He is now: Over the weekend, Nolan threw his support to Sanders, citing "the will of Minnesota caucus attendees" — Sanders won Minnesota's contest with 61 percent of the DFL vote — as one of several reasons for his endorsement. 

"Bernie’s message and his authenticity appeals to voters here, and it appeals to me," Nolan said in a statement released Saturday.

"Good luck, Bernie!" "Thanks, Rick! High five!"

"Good luck, Bernie!" "Thanks, Rick! High five!"

Politico reports that this makes Minnesota the "superdelegate sweet spot" for Sanders, with three members of Congress — Nolan, and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Collin Peterson — supporting the left-wing senator. No other state has more than one U.S. House member backing Sanders.

Nolan's decision has little effect on the math for Sanders, whose superdelegate count of 39 is dwarfed by Clinton's 469 superdelegates. (Clinton's overall delegate count stands at 1,305 to Sanders' 1,086, thus explaining your friend's Facebook posts saying "what about if every Clinton superdelegate switched to Sanders... ") Her backing includes the rest of Minnesota's free-agent super-Democrats, with the exception of former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who serves as vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and has said he will remain neutral.

The heat is on for delegates who've already picked Clinton. Minnesota DFL Party chair Ken Martin tells the Washington Times he's getting up to 20 harassing and threatening phone calls a day from Bernie supporters telling him to switch his allegiance. (Martin was an early Hillary supporter, and has personally donated to her campaign.) He says those calls ticked up in frequency, and annoyance, after a Sanders fan posted Martin's cell phone number online.

"I have thick skin," Martin said. "But you're not going to [get] people like myself to support your candidate by making threats."