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Wisconsin Democrats to play role in DNC superdelegate debate

Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, walks onto the stage Friday, July 22, 2016, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where the convention is scheduled to convene on Monday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

(WLUK) -- Part of the process that led to Hillary Clinton becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will be up for debate in Philadelphia.

The Democratic National Convention officially begins Monday, but the convention's rules committee meets Saturday afternoon.

An effort to end the party's superdelegate system is on the agenda, and some Wisconsin Democrats will be part of the conversation.

"I want to make sure we have a process that is truly democratic," said Sarah Lloyd, a member of the DNC rules committee. "And I'm open to different ideas about it, but I think what we saw on both sides of the Republican and the Democratic process, is that as people got more engaged, they realized these party preferences are set up very differently."

Lloyd was chosen by the Bernie Sanders campaign to sit on the convention's rules committee.

"That will set the rules for the actual convention, but then there will also be a chance to talk about some of the larger processes of how superdelegates are or aren't selected, the way that the caucus and primary system goes," she said.

There are four Wisconsin Democrats on the rules committee including Lloyd.

Superdelegates are elected officials or party insiders who are free to vote for any candidate of their choice at the convention. Democrats embraced superdelegates in 1982 to make sure party leaders have a say in who is nominated. Republicans don't have superdelegates.

Sanders won Wisconsin's primary in April with 57 percent of the vote, but he only has support from one of the state's ten superdelegates. According to the Associated Press, 602 superdelegates back Clinton while only 48 support Sanders. Superdelegates represent 15 percent of the votes at the convention, and 30 percent of the votes needed to win.

MORE | Associated Press Delegate Tracker

Democrats have multiple views on the existing system.

State Rep. Eric Genrich, D-Green Bay, is a pledged delegate for Bernie Sanders.

"I've said publicly, I don't think we need to have that system. I think it creates a level of cynicism that isn't helpful when you're talking about building a party and building a positive movement for political change," said Genrich.

Mark Waltman of Appleton is a pledged delegate for Hillary Clinton.

"I may be in a minority, but I support the superdelegates," said Waltman. "And the reason I support the superdelegates is the superdelegates are made up of party leaders and elected officials, and these are individuals who have been committed to the party for a long time."

RELATED | Sanders, backed by 1 Wisconsin superdelegate, wants to sway party insiders

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, is a superdelegate. She has supported Hillary Clinton's presidential run for three years.

"I am welcoming the debate as I did at our state convention," said Baldwin. "Whatever rules in our collective wisdom we put in effect for 2020, I will be, expect, pleased with."

RELATED | Baldwin, other female Democratic senators, to take DNC stage

Taking the superdelegates out of the total for this year, Clinton still has 359 more delegates than Sanders.

A DNC rules committee member from Rhode Island says more than 50 committee members have signed on to an amendment to end superdelegates. Even though that's not a majority of the 187-member panel, it would be enough to force a vote on the floor of the convention next week.

Marian Krumberger, the chair of the Republican Party of Brown County, said she isn't paying attention to the superdelegate debate.

"Certainly that's their internal issue. We understand that convention is going on, but we have a lot of things that are going on here in Brown County," said Krumberger.

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