Obama wins backing of two more superdelegates

Two more Democratic superdelegates were set to endorse presidential candidate Barack Obama today as he moved closer to clinching the party’s presidential nomination.

Donald Payne, a black New Jersey congressman who has been supporting Mr Obama’s rival Hillary Clinton, will switch his support to the Illinois senator and will be joined by Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio, Obama campaign spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said.

The endorsements came after Mr Obama made a surprise visit to the Capitol yesterday in what many political pundits saw as a victory lap of Congress staged to position him as the party’s inevitable nominee.

Today, Mr Payne told The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey: “After careful consideration, I have reached the conclusion that Barack Obama can best bring about the change that our country so desperately wants and needs.”

He said it was “one of the most difficult decisions I have made” and added: “I’ve really been mulling it over for quite a while.”

Tuesday’s primary election contests, where Mr Obama won by 14 points in North Carolina and only narrowly lost to the former first lady in Indiana, have been widely seen as a “game-changer” in the prolonged nomination battle.

A steady flow of superdelegates are now lining up to support the 46-year-old senator, narrowing Mrs Clinton’s lead among the almost 800 elected Democrats and party officials who will decide the nominee.

With a virtually unassailable lead among pledged delegates, gained from his successes during the US primary season, Mr Obama now looks set to be the party’s presidential nominee.

Yesterday, Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe suggested the race would end soon after the conclusion of the final primary election contest next month.

“After June 3, this is going to come to a conclusion,” he told NBC’s Today programme.

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