Yesterday morning, following a New York Democratic breakfast at the Sheridan Hotel, I watched the delegates vote. Aurelia Greene, the Bronx Assemblywomen and a pledged Clinton delegate, told me she went for Obama. Said Greene, pictured voting: "They gave me the option so I took it."
(Regardless of their allegiance, delegates and superdegates didn't have to vote for a particular candidate. There were three options on the form: Obama, Clinton, and abstain).
Congressman Eliot Engel, a superdelgate, and Borough President Adlofo Carrion, a pledged Clinton delegate, also voted for Obama. "I felt for party unity and to come out of this convention united so we can win in November, I voted for Obama," said Engel.
But some delegates, such as Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, stuck with Clinton. "I was elected by the voters to vote for Hillary so that's what I'm going to do, no regrets," Dinotwitz said. "I'm voting for Hillary but I will support Obama."
Yesterday afternoon, I asked Assemblyman Michael Benjamin - a staunch Obama fan - what he thought of the loyalty New York delegates were showing Clinton. "There are those like myself who believe we should support unanimously for Obama," he said. "I think people [Clinton delegates] are making a point. I don't know if I'd call it stubbornness, but I think they want to make a point and support her and make sure it's reported in history that she acquired delegates and came close to getting the nomination. She conceded, she's supporting Barack Obama, what's the point in having your home delegation pass votes for you that really don't help you?"
All this, of course, is now obsolete: Clinton later put a halt to the vote counting roll-call, thus confirming Obama as the nominee. But it hints at the discord, the disharmony, in the New York delegation - even deep into the convention. Benjamin estimated that nearly half of the 281 delegates voted for Clinton.
One more thing. Clinton’s move to "release her delegates" yesterday afternoon was largely show, I think, as most delegates voted in the morning. Surely, if she’d wanted to unite the party she would have released them the night before, and insist they vote for Obama. Despite her gracious stopping of the roll call, then, it seems Clinton also wanted to make a point, just like her devoted supporters.
For more on NY delegates' "supreme disappointment" see this Times story. And for a slightly different view, check out State Senator Jose M. Serrano's Room Eight post, which we mentioned early. Serrano believes talk of a rift was overblown.