MILWAUKEE — A Democratic National Convention delegate pledged to Hillary Rodham Clinton says she hopes to fight off an attempt by Wisconsin Democrats to take away her credentials because of her past statement that she would vote for John McCain if Clinton wasn't the nominee.
"Keeping national delegate status is very important to me," Debra Bartoshevich said Thursday. "I believe that Hillary is the better candidate of all of them."
She declined to comment on her previous comment, quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that she would vote for the Republican McCain in November if the Democratic Party nominated Barack Obama for president.
Wisconsin Democratic party chairman Joe Wineke said Friday he's confident Bartoshevich won't be at the national convention. Wineke said it's clear Bartoshevich violated party rules by failing to honor a pledge of intent to vote for the party's presidential ticket in the fall.
Wineke added that Bartoshevich would not have been chosen to be a delegate if people had known beforehand that she would vote for McCain if Obama were nominated.
Bartoshevich told the newspaper she felt Clinton was being treated unfairly and she questioned Obama's experience. She also said she had signed up with "Citizens for McCain," encouraged by her sister, who has served in Iraq and backs the Republican.
Not following party rules
That report came out just as Wisconsin Democrats were gathering for their state convention in Stevens Point on June 13, and the convention quickly approved a resolution to challenge Bartoshevich's status as a delegate to the Democratic convention in Denver in August.
"It's extremely important that we send a message that Democrats in the state of Wisconsin will never support somebody who supports John McCain for president," Wineke said at the time, to cheers from the hundreds of party activists.
Bartoshevich, 41, a registered nurse and mother of two from Waterford, said she got a copy Wednesday of the formal credentials challenge filed by the state party.
Among other things, it said she violated party rules by expressing support for the presumptive nominee of the opposing party and failing to honor a pledge of intent to vote for the party's presidential ticket in the fall.
Bartoshevich said she is new to the process and was never provided a list of rules that she is accused of violating, although she knows she signed a declaration that she intended to vote for the Democratic candidate.
Bartoshevich said Thursday she has always voted Democratic and would be open to considering all options once the party's nominee is selected, but no one from the state party contacted her to discuss her feelings.
Bartoshevich said she has 10 days to reply to the credentials challenge.
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