I have received several inquiries from John Edwards supporters wondering about tomorrow's primary. Some have already voted by absentee ballot and others want to know whether they can still vote for Edwards and have their vote count. So the purpose of this email is to answer those questions.
First of all, John Edwards has "suspended" his campaign but has not "withdrawn". This means that he retains the 26 delegates he had already won in the earlier primaries and caucuses, and he can continue to win delegates. Democratic party rules require that delegates be awarded to candidates who earn at least 15% of the vote in any state.
California has more delegates to the national Democratic party convention than any other state. In California it is not necessary to win 15% of the delegates statewide in order to be awarded delegates; rather some delegates are awarded statewide and others are awarded by Congressional district. There are 53 Congressional districts and in almost every district, a 15% vote for Edwards will mean that 1 delegate from that district will go to Edwards. Many Edwards supporters had already voted by absentee ballot prior to the time when John Edwards announced the suspension of his campaign -- so there will be votes for Edwards no matter what.
John and Elizabeth Edwards have not endorsed any other candidate and they have stated that they will not do so prior to the 22 state primaries and caucuses scheduled for Tuesday February 5. In a conference call the day of his announcement, he told his key supporters: "I'm counseling you all to keep your powder dry... to take time, take a deep breath, don't be in a hurry (in choosing who to support)..." "It's impossible to know what tomorrow holds..."
Because the campaign is suspended I believe that on a personal level, we each should vote according to our own conscience and preferences. Keep in mind that the election on Tuesday is a primary, not the general election -- and as such it is intended to be the place where all voices are heard. This means that you should feel free to vote for another candidate if you so choose --but at the same time you should not feel pressured to make that choice. There still is a very strong contingent of Edwards supporters and Edwards voters who plan to stand by their convictions and cast a vote for John Edwards on Tuesday.