N.C. delegates important to democratic campaign


North Carolina's primary is May 6. By that time in the last presidential race, voters knew who both party's top picks were.

This time around voters feel like they can actually make a difference.

"That's encouraging to me and exciting -- makes me feel like my vote counts," one voter said.

It's the reaction on the street from democratic voters in the Triangle after Super Tuesday's photo finish between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama.

"As competitive as they are right now, I mean, it could probably change a whole lot of things around," the voter said.

Officials with the state party agree saying the outcome proves one thing.

"If the trend continues, we could be a big player on May 6," Jerry Meek, N.C. Democratic Party, said.

Meek, who is the state party chair, says record voter turn out in previous primaries could peak interest in our state as supporters from both parties become more informed, involved and inspired by both candidates.

He says the national party knows that, which is one reason they've given states like North Carolina more delegates for holding larger primaries.

"We have 134 delegates right now," Meek said. "We would have had 25 percent fewer if our primary were not as late as it is."

One-hundred and forty delegates makes North Carolina the largest state left to vote after April 22. Each delegate is doled out based on the popular vote.

"Very specifically, they're elected based upon the primary vote at the congressional level and also the state level," Meek said.

There are also 19 super delegates, which include nine elected state party committee members, seven congressmen, Governor Mike Easley and two add ons.

Super delegates could be crucial down the stretch because they can wait until the last minute to vote.

"That could happen," Meek said. "In a way that's what makes conventions like this kind of interesting," Meek said.

Another thing that could influence democrats is an endorsement from John Edwards. Party leaders say whoever gets it will likely get a boost.

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