WASHINGTON, D.C. — With early voting in Texas just four days away, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign announced she'd picked up a handful of endorsements in the state ahead of its March 1 Democratic presidential primary.
The campaign listed about 50 Texas Democratic officials who are now backing her campaign. Many of those likely will be able to help her turn out the vote in their own backyards.
But three of those endorsers are specifically crucial: Democratic National Committee members Betty Ritchie, Dennis Speight and Lenora Sorola-Pohlman. As members of the DNC, they are what is known among Democrats as superdelegates who have outsized say in the party's nomination fight between Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
The Texas Tribune previously reported Speight and Sorola-Pohlman were Clinton backers. Ritchie's endorsement was not publicly known prior to Friday's announcement.
The public release of these backers comes as the Texas primary is taking on increasing importance in the race for the Democratic nomination. Sanders mightily wounded Clinton Tuesday night with a strong victory in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.
But her allies argue that Texas, a backwater in Democratic politics, is nonetheless loaded with Clinton-friendly party delegates, including these superdelegates.
The Democratic Party created the designation in the 1980s to wrest control from the party's activist class, just the type of people supporting Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton has now publicly secured the support of at least 15 Texas superdelegates, mostly consisting of sitting members of Congress.
State Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso, is the lone member of the Legislature publicly backing Sanders, but she is not a superdelegate. Sanders aides say they are confident that a favorable turnout will help him make the case to superdelegates after voters cast their ballots March 1.
Superdelegate John Patrick, the Texas president of the AFL-CIO, recently told the Tribune that the Sanders camp reached out to him after the Iowa caucuses to seek his support. Patrick says he remains undecided.
The Clinton list includes DNC members, county chairs and senatorial district and State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members:
Diana Arevalo, SDEC 26
Linda Baca, Wharton County Chair
Kyle Benson, Kleberg County Chair
Linda Brown, Johnson County Chair
Nelda Calhoun, Robertson County Chair
Nicholas Chu, SDEC 14
Cathy Collier, Gillespie County Chair
Sharon Davis, Anderson County Chair
George Dillingham, Washington County Chair
A.J. Durrani, SDEC 17
David Griggs, SDEC 16
Rodney Griffin, SDEC 13
Mary Hamm, SDEC 4, Chambers County Chair
Mary Hatfield, SDEC 28
Jared Hockema, SDEC 27
Steve Huerta, SDEC 26
Clara D. Jones, Leon County Chair
Shelley L. Kennedy, SDEC 15
Jennie Lou Leeder, SDEC 24, Former Llano County Chair
Judy Leunes, SDEC 5
Ronald LeVick, Burnet Count Chair
Gary Livingston, SDEC 12
Mary Bell Lockhart, Brewster County Chair
Duane McCune, Guadalupe County Chair
Michael McPhail, SDEC 9
Elias Olivarez, SDEC 20, President of Texas Stonewall Democrats
Sylvia Palumbo, SDEC 21
DNC Committeewoman Betty Richie (superdelegate)
Thelma Reyna, SDEC 27
David Rosen, Midland Democratic Chair
Diana Salgado, SDEC 19
Charlie Ray Smith, SDEC 10
Tracy Smith, Wise County Chair
DNC member Dennis Speight, (superdelegate)
DNC member Lenora Sorola-Pohlman (super delegate)
Jeff Strater, SDEC 23
Jean Taylor, Donley County Chair
Dr. Dennis Teal, SDEC 3
Benn Tibs, Waller County Chair
Celina Vasquez, SDEC 9
Vickie Vogel, SDEC 18
John Weir, Kendall County Chair
Karen Wheaton, SDEC 7
Carol Wheeler, SDEC 17
James White, SDEC 8
Donald L. Williams, SDEC 29
Shay Wyrick-Cathey, SDEC 23
Phyllis Kay Wright, Archer County Chair
Larry Yawn, SDEC 5
Jesse Ybanez, SDEC 7
Sandra Young, Medina County Chair