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October 20, 2014

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Super delegates

It's Super Tuesday, and the word of the day is delegates.

On Jan. 19, Nevada Democrats caucused and helped determine (even if in an indirect way) where 25 of our state's delegates will go during August's national convention. (It's likely to be 13 for Obama, 12 for Clinton).

But Nevada will send an additional nine delegates to August's nominating convention in Denver. And most are free to choose the candidate they want.

To be sure, these "super delegates" will matter only if neither Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama emerges from the nominating contests as a clear winner and Democrats end up in a brokered convention, where each delegate could matter.

Here's a rundown of who Nevada's super delegates are and where they are headed:

Uncommitted column:

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid: A super delegate because he is a member of Congress. The father of Nevada's early caucus has remained uncommitted. Reid could endorse, though he hasn't given any indication he plans to do so. With the Nevada caucus over, he doesn't have to worry about protecting the sanctity of the process, an early concern of his. He has also said he wouldn't endorse because of the number of Senate colleagues who were in the race. Harry Reid's son, Rory, served a top role for Clinton's Nevada campaign.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto: A super delegate because she is co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association. She has remained uncommitted.

"As the chief law enforcement officer of the state, if there's any type of concern or activity that comes to my level, I want to remain neutral or objective," she told KNPR's Dave Berns before Nevada's caucus. She didn't return a call for comment today.

Former Clark County Commissioner Yvonne Atkinson-Gates: A former chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus, she is a lifetime super delegate. She is listed as uncommitted.

Nevada Democratic Party Chair Jill Derby and Nevada Democratic Party First Vice-Chair Sam Lieberman: Both are super delegates because of party rules, but as long as the race is contested, they cannot endorse, said state party spokeswoman Kirsten Searer. That brings into question the relevancy of their participation in August's process, if there is, indeed, a brokered convention.

For Clinton:

Rep. Shelley Berkley: A super delegate by virtue of being a member of Congress. After initially remaining neutral, she made a late endorsement of Clinton.

State Sen. Dina Titus; A super delegate because she is a member of the Democratic National Committee.

For Obama:

State Sen. Steven Horsford: A super delegate because he is a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Wild card:

At April's state party convention, Derby will nominate an unpledged delegate. The state convention members will have to ratify it.

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