Will Maine-led superdelegate challenge gain traction at Democratic convention?

Good morning from Augusta. The big story Wednesday from Day 3 of the Republican National Convention was the speech from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in which he didn’t endorse former presidential rival Donald Trump, the party’s nominee.

The convention erupted in boos after it became apparent that there wouldn’t be an endorsement, Trump ended up going onto the floor before Cruz was done in an apparent attempt to take back the spotlight.

I’m not sure there are any winners here. The most apt observation came from Marc Caputo of POLITICO:

“Men like Ted Cruz, if you call them liars and insult their wives, will stab you right in the front at the right time in front of the nation.”

But while the Republican convention will wind down on Thursday, the Democrats are gearing up for their own convention next week in Philadelphia, and an extension of a Maine-led challenge to the party’s superdelegate rules will play out this weekend.

At the state convention in May, Maine was the first state to pass a rule change that would blunt the impact of superdelegates — the Democratic officials who make up 15 percent of presidential delegates but aren’t assigned to a particular candidate, unlike normal delegates — in future elections.

At least 17 other states followed. The changes were supported by Democratic underdog Bernie Sanders, who blamed superdelegates for stacking the deck against him in the race against Hillary Clinton, who will be nominated next week.

She would have won the nomination numerically without them, but you can argue that they helped create an air of inevitability around her election.

In Maine, the rule change would make Maine’s five superdelegates disclose their preference by the state convention, allowing the party to reallocate the rest of the delegates according to the statewide vote.

But the national fight against superdelegates will begin at the convention’s Rules Committee meeting on Saturday, where NBC News reported that 43 of the committee’s 187 members have backed an amendment floated on behalf of Maine state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, that would abolish superdelegates.

That’s not enough to change the rules, but the issue could be in for a floor fight and it could put Maine’s delegation in the spotlight next week.

UPDATE: Russell said Thursday morning that 52 of the Rules Committee’s members now support considering the amendment, which would exceed the 46 required to allow a minority report from the committee. — Michael Shepherd

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After all, this is Trump’s Republican National Convention, so Scott Baio and one of those guys from “Duck Dynasty” were invited to speak. But Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, a Cruz delegate, was around for a behind-the-scenes moment.

After meeting Maine native and UFC President Dana White, who spoke at the convention on Tuesday, Mason posted on Facebook that he was around when WWE mogul and two-time Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon came up to White and introduced herself.

In honor of that, here’s a long video of the time McMahon drank beers with and was eventually (and badly) stunned by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Here’s a short version. And because I couldn’t leave you without one, here’s your soundtrack— Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.