I have heard the term superdelgates thrown out a lot as controlling the actual nomination process of this year (2008) presidential nomination and had no idea what exactly the term was. In fact Windows Spell check does not think it is a valid word.
Here is the Wikipedia definition:
Superdelegates are delegates to a presidential nominating convention in the United States who are not legally bound by the decisions of party primaries or caucuses. Superdelegates often have secret identities as current elected officeholders and current party officials as well as former elected officeholders and former party officials. They are sometimes referred to as “unpledged delegates,” but some unpledged delegates are not superdelegates. In addition, some elected officeholder delegates and party official delegates are pledged.
Very interesting, never heard of the term really in the previous elections, but the concern is that Mr. Obama could win the nomination via the primary and loose via the Superdeleagte vote.
And from the Democratic Convention website:
What are the types of delegates? How are they selected?
Pledged delegates differ from unpledged delegates in that they must openly commit to a candidate before the vote and are subject to review by that candidate. Unpledged delegates are sometimes referred to as “superdelegates.”
District-level delegates – These make up roughly half of delegates, and must file a statement of candidacy designating the presidential or uncommitted preference and a signed pledge of support for the presidential candidate the person favors, if any, with the state party by a date the state party specifies. They must run for election in the district they are registered to vote, and are subject to review by the candidate they support.
At-large delegates – Must also file a statement of candidacy designating the presidential or uncommitted preference and a signed pledge of support for the presidential candidate the person favors, if any, with the state party by a date the state party specifies. The state party determines how these delegates are selected, but they are often selected by the district-level delegates.
Party Leaders and Elected Official (PLEO) delegates – DNC Members, Democratic House and Senate members, Democratic governors, and former Democratic Party leaders are automatically confirmed to the state parties. In addition, these positions are considered according to the following priority: big city mayors and state-wide elected officials, state legislative leaders, state legislators, and other state, county and local elected officials and party leaders. These delegates can be chosen by a state convention, the State Party Committee, or by a committee consisting of a quorum of district-level delegates. There are both pledged and unpledged PLEO delegates.
Add-on delegates – May be selected by either the same selecting body that selects the state’s PLEO delegates or by the same selecting body which will select the state’s “at-large” delegates. They can be selected whether or not they previously filed a statement of candidacy for a delegate position or submitted a pledge of support for a presidential candidate. There are both pledged and unpledged add-on delegates.
As I would like to present both sides of this, I’m currently struggling to find the same information on the GOP websites.
For more information on tracking the Democratic Superdelagates and who they are voting for can be found here