Kaine Calls for DNC to Eliminate Superdelegates

Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) / Getty

Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential election wants the Democratic National Committee to stop its tradition of using superdelegates, arguing it gives certain individuals "undue influence" and makes the voting process "less democratic."

"I have long believed there should be no superdelegates," Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) wrote Wednesday in a letter to DNC chair Tom Perez obtained by Politico. "These positions are given undue influence in the popular nominating contest and make the process less democratic."

Activists say that superdelegates, unpledged delegates who are major elected officials and prominent members of the Democratic Party with heavy influence over the final delegate count, diminish the influence of regular voters in the presidential primary at the expense of big-name individuals.

Kaine, a former DNC chairman and a superdelegate himself, urged the Unity Reform Commission, appointed last year to review and implement changes to the DNC's nomination process, to eliminate the superdelegate system altogether.

"I support the ongoing reform effort and write regarding one aspect of the Commission's work," Kaine wrote in his letter, pledging that if the rules do not change, he will commit to voting for whoever his state supports in future nominating contests.

"I encourage any other superdelegate who feels the same way to take the same pledge," Kaine wrote. "I believe the task of the Unity Commission will be made easier if its members know that there are many superdelegates appointed automatically pursuant to party rules, who don't mind changes to the current system to make our rules more democratic."

During the 2016 presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) repeatedly castigated the role of superdelegates, arguing they have disproportionate influence in the system and are more important than the popular vote. Many Sanders supporters claimed that the superdelegate system gave Clinton an unfair advantage at the expense of Sanders.