You may not know Ralph Dawson. But he could be a pivotal player in the Democratic presidential primary. He’s an uncommitted superdelegate from New York—which is rare, since this is Hillary Clinton’s home state.
Dawson, a partner at the law firm, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., is also the Democratic National Committee member who introduced the resolution to strip Florida of its delegates for holding its presidential primary ahead of the February 5 date recommended by the D.N.C.
Dawson said for him, it’s not a question of choosing a president he prefers—he likes them both—but rather, seeing which one is more electable in November
“I think both candidates have proven they’re worthy of being presidents and would make good presidents,” Dawson told me this afternoon. “So, for me, the real issue is who has the best chance of winning and I think that remains undetermined at this point.”
Dawson has contributed $1,000 to Obama’s campaign, and he says he’s given to Clinton, too.
“I happen to like both candidates and have told anybody that I have ever talked to about it, essentially, that’s where I am and I think the Democratic Party is in a very good position because we got two very good candidates,” he said.
“I guess I want the discussion to continue at this point,” he said at another point. “I think both candidates have proven they’re worthy of being presidents and would make good presidents. So, for me, the real issue is who has the best chance of winning and I think that remains undetermined at this point.”
[Question: Did you anticipate your resolution to strip Florida of its delegates would be as pivotal as it is turning out to be now?]
“No. [laughs]. No. well, I was a member of the rules and bylaws committee and as a member of that committee, the committee had worked hard to try to establish a fair and evenhanded process that would give us an opportunity to look at how our potential candidates faired with many of the constituencies of the party and with different parts of the country. “
[On being lobbied by the campaigns]
“I have been getting calls for a couple of months or more. Both campaigns are well organized and try to touch bases with, I assume, most of the superdelegates on a regular basis. I don’t think that is especially being done for me. They apprise you of developments that they think might be of interest in your decision making process. And as I say, they approach you, both with strangers of significance and friends. [Laughs]. I think they’re very effective. It’s not question of their lack of effectiveness. My wanting to make the right and best choice, and also in having played a role in the primary selection process, as a rules and bylaws committee member, it might be appropriate for me to remain neutral for a while because there are other things that needed to be considered or decided along the way. I think that sometimes, you can play more impartial and effective role if you are not committed to one side or the other. It’s a combination of looking at all of those issues that have driven my considerations.”
“I am hopeful that the results of the primaries to come will give the party as a whole a pretty good idea of who the better candidate appears to be in this election. Again, adjusted for the fact that I think both are outstanding. I still think the process will pay and give us a nominee. I still think that that’s possible and I think that some people are panicking a little too soon in thinking that the process won’t tell us what is best.”
“I also don’t think that if we end up in a so-called brokered convention, what people mean by that, that superdelegates will not do what they believe to be in the best interest of the party and of the country. I think they will do that.”
“I think the process can work, whether the primaries yield a definitive nominee or not. But that is something that we are always looking at and we’re going to try to do the best with.”