Wisconsin Democrats prepare for convention, superdelegate debate

Chairs and a stage are ready for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention at the Radisson Convention Center in Ashwaubenon, June 2, 2016. (WLUK/Andrew LaCombe)

ASHWAUBENON (WLUK) -- When the Democratic Party of Wisconsin hosts its yearly convention this weekend, a lot of attention will be on the presidential race, senate race and a debate over superdelegates.

Final preparations were being made to the Radisson Convention Center in Ashwaubenon Thursday afternoon. State party chair Martha Laning says she expects about 1,300 Democrats will attend.

"We're going to turn the page," said Laning. "We're going to unite all of our great Democratic grassroots activists all over the state."

Candidates and some elected Democrats will give speeches Friday evening, including congressional candidate Tom Nelson, senate candidate Russ Feingold and Sen. Tammy Baldwin. U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is the keynote speaker.

Convention delegates will vote on the party's platforms and some resolutions Saturday morning.

MORE | Click here to read all of the party's resolutions up for votes Saturday

One resolution up for a vote says "the Democratic Party of Wisconsin supports the abolishment of the superdelegate system" in the presidential nomination process. The resolution says "superdelegates have eroded the faith" of the party base.

Laning explained how the resolution came about.

"There's a process," she said. "If people have a concern about the process that we're currently using, they raise that issue through their county parties and their congressional districts, and we'll hear it on the floor here, and we'll allow Democrats to vote on that."

Bernie Sanders won Wisconsin's primary in April with 57 percent of the vote, but six of Wisconsin's 10 superdelegates say they back Hillary Clinton. One backs Sanders and three say they're undecided. Sanders' supporters say superdelegates should vote according to the popular vote.

Superdelegates are party insiders who aren't bound to vote for the candidate who won the state's popular vote.

The resolution is non-binding, so Wisconsin superdelegates would not have to follow it if it passes.

Laning is a superdelegate herself, and says she will back the presumptive nominee - right now that's Clinton.

MORE | Click here to look at the AP Delegate Tracker

Republicans don't have superdelegates, and they have another view about the resolution.

"Grassroots activists are rightfully upset, and Wisconsin Democrats are paying the price because party bosses in Washington D.C. put their finger on the scale to unfairly prop up Hillary Clinton's campaign," said Pat Garrett, Wisconsin GOP spokesman.

Republicans held their convention in Green Bay last month.

State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, hasn't said who he supported in the primary. He says it's time for Democrats to come together.

"There might be some people that disagree with that, but I think that's the best step forward for Democrats, that we do have a game plan in November to win the election," said Hansen. "Supreme Court justice appointments are huge. So I think stay together, work together, communicate."

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