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However Vermont Votes, Leahy Says His Superdelegate Vote Is Clinton's

Taylor Dobbs
Sen. Patrick Leahy says he will support Hillary Clinton for president because he pledged his support for her.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of Vermont’s nine superdelegates for this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, is steadfast in his support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton despite strong backing for fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Leahy was early to announce his support for Clinton, and said Monday that she can expect his support as long as she’s in the race. He said he would not change his mind, even if Sanders won his home state in the March 1 primary.  

“You know, the Leahys have been in Vermont since the 1800s,” Leahy said when asked about the possibility of changing his support. “One of the touchstones of our family – I learned it from my grandparents, I learned it from my parents, and I’ve tried to teach my children – is you keep your word. Long before Sen. Sanders ever said he was going to run, I urged then-Secretary Clinton to run and told her I’d support her. I think anybody who knows me, anybody who knows my years as state’s attorney or my years in the Senate, know that I’d never break my word. And certainly Sen. Sanders would never ask me to break my word, nor has he. If Sen. Sanders is the nominee, I’ll happily campaign all over the country for him. We’ve worked together, he’s a good friend of mine, our wives are friends, and ... I’m proud of a lot of the issues he’s raised. But first and foremost I always keep my word. Nobody, especially Sen. Sanders, would ever ask me to break my word.”

“To be clear, you wouldn’t change your superdelegate vote unless-" started Seven Days reporter Paul Heintz, but Leahy cut him off.

“My answer is what I said,” Leahy said.

Asked if he would vote against his constituents if a majority of Vermont Democrats support Sanders, Leahy said:

“No, I’m voting my conscience, and I’m voting my commitments, and I made sure everybody knows what my conscience and what my commitments say,” he said, adding that his vote as a superdelegate may be a moot point. “By the time we get to the convention, I have a feeling we’re going to know which one is going to have the majority, and whoever is nominated in the convention – either of them – I would be happy to go and campaign for them.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin has also pledged support for Clinton, and campaigned for her in both New Hampshire and Iowa.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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