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Larsen opts for Obama, not Clinton

Second District Rep. Rick Larsen announced Thursday that he’s giving throwing his support as a superdelegate to Sen. Barack Obama.

Larsen emphasized that Obama has a lot of grassroots support in Larsen’s district, which extends from the Canadian border to north of Seattle and includes Whidbey Island.

“He has inspired and energized my constituents like no other candidate,” Larsen said.

Obama certainly has the support of Island County Democrats. At the Democratic caucus in the county Feb. 9, Obama received 68 percent of the vote over his Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton. In the primary Feb. 19, Obama garnered 55 percent of the county’s vote.

Larsen made his announcement just two days after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries. One of the major issues of the no-holds-barred campaign leading up to the primaries was a proposed gas tax holiday, which Clinton supported.

Larsen said he was pleased that Obama took the difficult stand of opposing the measure.

“I have been particularly impressed by Senator Obama’s truth-telling on a proposed gas tax policy — a proposal which would make little or no difference for Americans paying too much at the pump,” he said.

On the issue of electability, Larsen said he believes in the senator from Illinois.

“This week, Senator Obama has proven that he is tough and resilient. He has shown that he can take a pounding, come back and continue to communicate with the public to deliver his message of hope and change,” he said.

In the Democratic Party, superdelegates are generally high-ranking elected officials and other party members who are not obliged to follow primary results in their states at the national convention. Sen. Clinton has been banking on their support to offset Obama’s lead in elected delegates.

Obama is rapidly catching up with Clinton on the superdelegate count. Larsen and Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina pleged their allegiance to him Thursday. On Friday, at least nine more superdelegates gave Obama the nod.

As of Friday afternoon, the former first lady had 271.5 superdelegates, to Obama’s 271. Little more than four months ago, on the eve of the primary season, she held a lead of 169-63, MSNBC reports.

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