Obama, Clinton Fight Over Edwards’ Gays

The presidential race hits critical mass this week as candidates prepare for Super Tuesday. Semantics aside, the Democratic contenders – Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – are hoping to boost their standing by nabbing former rival John Edwards’ gay supporters. And Obama seems to be in the lead.

Kerry Eleveld from The Advocate reports:

A critical mass of John Edwards’s LGBT steering committee is going public with support for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton. Twenty-two members of the Edwards campaign’s 59-person gay and lesbian committee will now be working for Obama victories next Tuesday and throughout the rest of the primary season.

The new Obama converts include Eric Stern, who headed up Edwards’s LGBT steering committee, and longtime gay activist David Mixner, who famously campaigned for Bill Clinton in 1992, holding some of the very first gay fund-raisers for a U.S. presidential candidate.

A grand total of 30 former Edwards folk headed to Obama’s camp.

Mixner also took a look at Obama’s fresh flamers, including former Edwards fundraisers Jeff Anderson and Jeff Soukup. The duo spoke with Mixner recently and explained that they feel Obama keeps Edwards’ vision alive:

We want anything that we do to honor the causes and issues that John and Elizabeth have fought for. Jeff and I believe that supporting Barack is the best way to do this.

Stern echoed the men’s comments, particulary with regard to Barack’s campaign structure: “It is a pure grassroots, activist-oriented operation.” Stern also seems to think an electoral shift can help boost Obama’s delegate standing:

We believe that Obama can pick up more delegates if the 12%-15% of Edwards supporters nationwide — and even more in some states — will turn out for Obama. We believe we can make a difference.

Not all of Edwards’ gays are going toward Obama, however, Eleveld tells us she’s heard of at least fifteen of Edwards-loving are helping the former first lady reach her electoral goals.