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Hillary Clinton Picks Up Another Texas Superdelegate

Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

With early voting in Texas just four days away, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign announced she'd picked up a handful of endorsements in the state ahead of its March 1 Democratic presidential primary.

The campaign listed about 50 Texas Democratic officials who are now backing her campaign. Many of those likely will be able to help her turn out the vote in their own backyards.

But three of those endorsers are specifically crucial: Democratic National Committee members Betty Ritchie, Dennis Speight and Lenora Sorola-Pohlman. As members of the DNC, they are what is known among Democrats as superdelegates who have outsized say in the party's nomination fight between Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.

The Texas Tribune previously reported Speight and Sorola-Pohlman were Clinton backers. Ritchie's endorsement was not publicly known prior to Friday's announcement.

The public release of these backers comes as the Texas primary is taking on increasing importance in the race for the Democratic nomination. Sanders mightily wounded Clinton Tuesday night with a strong victory in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.

But her allies argue that Texas, a backwater in Democratic politics, is nonetheless loaded with Clinton-friendly party delegates, including these superdelegates.

The Democratic Party created the designation in the 1980s to wrest control from the party's activist class, just the type of people supporting Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Clinton has now publicly secured the support of at least 15 Texas superdelegates, mostly consisting of sitting members of Congress.

State Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso, is the lone member of the Legislature publicly backing Sanders, but she is not a superdelegate. Sanders aides say they are confident that a favorable turnout will help him make the case to superdelegates after voters cast their ballots March 1.

Superdelegate John Patrick, the Texas president of the AFL-CIO, recently told the Tribune that the Sanders camp reached out to him after the Iowa caucuses to seek his support. Patrick says he remains undecided.

The Clinton list includes DNC members, county chairs and senatorial district and State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members:

Diana Arevalo, SDEC 26

Linda Baca, Wharton County Chair

Kyle Benson, Kleberg County Chair

Linda Brown, Johnson County Chair

Nelda Calhoun, Robertson County Chair

Nicholas Chu, SDEC 14

Cathy Collier, Gillespie County Chair

Sharon Davis, Anderson County Chair

George Dillingham, Washington County Chair

A.J. Durrani, SDEC 17

David Griggs, SDEC 16

Rodney Griffin, SDEC 13

Mary Hamm, SDEC 4, Chambers County Chair

Mary Hatfield, SDEC 28

Jared Hockema, SDEC 27

Steve Huerta, SDEC 26

Clara D. Jones, Leon County Chair

Shelley L. Kennedy, SDEC 15

Jennie Lou Leeder, SDEC 24, Former Llano County Chair

Judy Leunes, SDEC 5

Ronald LeVick, Burnet Count Chair

Gary Livingston, SDEC 12

Mary Bell Lockhart, Brewster County Chair

Duane McCune, Guadalupe County Chair

Michael McPhail, SDEC 9

Elias Olivarez, SDEC 20, President of Texas Stonewall Democrats

Sylvia Palumbo, SDEC 21

DNC Committeewoman Betty Richie (superdelegate)

Thelma Reyna, SDEC 27

David Rosen, Midland Democratic Chair

Diana Salgado, SDEC 19

Charlie Ray Smith, SDEC 10

Tracy Smith, Wise County Chair

DNC member Dennis Speight, (superdelegate)

DNC member Lenora Sorola-Pohlman (super delegate)

Jeff Strater, SDEC 23

Jean Taylor, Donley County Chair

Dr. Dennis Teal, SDEC 3

Benn Tibs, Waller County Chair

Celina Vasquez, SDEC 9

Vickie Vogel, SDEC 18

John Weir, Kendall County Chair

Karen Wheaton, SDEC 7

Carol Wheeler, SDEC 17

James White, SDEC 8

Donald L. Williams, SDEC 29

Shay Wyrick-Cathey, SDEC 23

Phyllis Kay Wright, Archer County Chair

Larry Yawn, SDEC 5

Jesse Ybanez, SDEC 7

Sandra Young, Medina County Chair

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/02/12/clinton-bolsters-texas-campaign/.