After Dozens of Speeches and Hundreds of Ballots, Ohio Democrats Pick Convention Delegates

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by Nick Castele

Ohio Democrats gathered across the state last night to vote on who will serve as delegates to the party’s presidential nominating convention this summer.

Before the voting gets underway, a crowd of activists and elected leaders gathers in the lobby of a Cuyahoga Community College auditorium. Walking through the room is 79-year-old Manley Dunbar. He’s holding up a poster stuck on the end of a yardstick. Attached to the sign is a photo of his sister-in-law shaking hands with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“As you can see, it’s kind of homemade, but it does the job,” Dunbar said. “Getting the message across.”

His sister-in-law is just one of 70 people in the 11th Congressional District who ran last night for the chance to go to the DNC in Philadelphia and cast a vote as a delegate—either for Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Dr. Patricia Blochowiak is a member of the East Cleveland school board and a Sanders supporter. She attended the Democratic convention in 2004.

“Met a lot of interesting people and talked to a lot of interesting people,” she said. “But I’ve been campaigning for presidential candidates since Eugene McCarthy, which was a few years back.”

Many people at the caucus were old hands in Northeast Ohio politics, and they came prepared. Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone ran to become a Clinton delegate. He and 11 other elected officials and activists teamed up and printed out campaign flyers.

“We’re supporting one another, and each of us have brought people to vote,” he said. “I have personally about 25 people who are coming down here to vote today, and I’m encouraging them to vote the slate.”

The primary won’t be held until March—and that’s when the party will sort out just how many Ohio delegates each candidate will win.

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