San Jose State U. Student Loses Delegate Slot For Caucus

This story was written by Elisha Maldonado, Spartan Daily
Democrats in support of Barack Obama lined up outside the San Jose State University Theatre on Sunday afternoon to cast their votes for pledged delegates of the 16th Congressional District for the Democratic caucus.

San Jose State University's only candidate, Omar Torres, lost by 10 votes.

Torres, a senior political science major, was one of 13 men running for a delegate position in support of Obama; he garnered 109 votes while Tony Alexander, political director for United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 5, won with 119.

In the 16th Congressional District, Torres said, there are four delegates. Each democratic candidate, Obama and Hillary Clinton, gets two delegates: a man and a woman.

Torres, however, still has two more opportunities to go to the Democratic Convention held in Denver, Colo., Aug. 25-28. The convention is where the democratic presidential nominee will be selected.

"I can go as an at-large delegate," he said, "because I accomplished three out of seven affirmative action goals or as a party leader elected official."

Though he said he could have done more to organize the students on campus to secure a win, Torres said the experience was "fascinating and emotions are running high."

Torres said he thought he did well, especially since he was running against the likes of Ken Yeager, an SJSU graduate and a supervisor for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Terry Christensen, an SJSU political science professor, who has had both Yeager and Torres as students, said he thought it was "appropriate that somebody new to the process take part." (Which was one of the reasons he supported Torres over Yeager. And, he said, Torres asked him first.)

Christensen also emphasized the importance of youth -- which, he said, "has been a key factor in the Obama campaign."

Some of the youth voters Christensen mentioned came out in support of Torres.

Nourbese Flint, a 2007 SJSU graduate, said: "I think it is always important to participate in the democratic process and also, Omar is doing a lot of good things. He was actually the one who switched me to the Obama side. I was a Hillary supporter."

Even if he doesn't win, Torres said he will still be supporting his candidate.

"Barack Obama actually stands for the future, " Torres said, "I believe in his message of unity. In his message of hope and I believe, wholeheartedly, in his message of change."
© 2008 Spartan Daily via U-WIRE