Election 2016

Watch Out, Hillary: Sanders Has 'Secret' List of Pro-Bernie Superdelegates

The Democratic candidate had landslide victories in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii on Western Saturday, signaling the campaign's momentum.

The Vermont senator's victories in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii have done nothing to hurt his cause. Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager assured supporters that a significant number of superdelegates are prepared to throw their weight behind the Vermont senator when the time is ripe. “We have a number of superdelegates who are not prepared to go public at this point who have indicated... to us that they’re supportive, so we believe our superdelegate number is higher than the one that is publicly available,” Weaver told reporters. Superdelegates are unelected delegates who are free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party's national convention. Unlike the “pledged” delegates, which candidates win during state nominations, superdelegates can vote for whoever they want.

“I understand that’s not worth a lot at this point from you all’s perspective. But we do believe we have identified a substantial number of superdelegates above what’s publicly out there,” Weaver explained. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is currently leading the race with a total of 469 superdelegates compared to Sanders’ 29. But Weaver emphasized that one should not take the current distribution of superdelegates for granted as there are still “a few hundred” who could back Sanders. Sanders supporters have been saying that Clinton's popularity among superdelegates is a reflection of her standing within the establishment, which wants her to win.

Sanders himself pointed this out during CNN'S State of the Union news program last Sunday. "Momentum is with us," he said. "A lot of these super-delegates may rethink their position with Hillary Clinton." The Vermont senator believes superdelegates could now face more pressure to rally behind him because most polls suggest he has a better chance than Clinton of beating a Republican candidate. Ted Devine, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, has expressed this view multiple times and believes the superdelegate count might flip as the Sanders campaign continues to build momentum. Sanders' victories in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii would have done nothing to hurt his cause.

Weaver also explained why many superdelegates are still hesitant to throw their weight behind Sanders. “It would be very easy for them to be pledged to Hillary Clinton given the media narrative and the establishment support that she has,” he said. “The fact that they have yet to do that I think demonstrates that there is certainly a large number of superdelegates who have some reluctance about Secretary Clinton’s campaign.” Whereas Devine is realistic in admitting that Sanders still has a long way to go before catching up with Clinton, he is hopeful. “We do have a lot of people, you know, dozens, who have expressed support for Bernie and are going to find the right time to make that support public.”

Watch: Sanders looks to Wisconsin after Western Saturday victories

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