(Video above: Alabama’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention is short one vote)
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — With anticipation building for the Democratic Party to officially put forward Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party, Alabama led off the roll call vote with an embarrassing flub that quickly made the rounds on social media.
Alabama had a total of 60 Democratic delegates up for grabs when the presidential primary was held in March. 53 of them were “pledged delegates,” meaning they were awarded proportionally based on the statewide vote totals, and seven of them were “super delegates,” party insiders who some critics say have outsized influence over the nominating process.
Hillary Clinton won just under 78% of the vote in Alabama’s Democratic primary, giving her 44 pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 9. Clinton also secured all 7 of Alabama’s super delegates.
So as Baltimore Mayor and Democratic National Committee Secretary Stephanie Rollings-Blake opened the roll call vote for Mrs. Clinton’s coronation Tuesday afternoon, she was expecting Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley to announce how Alabama’s 60 votes would be allocated.
That’s not exactly how it went down.
“Alabama, you have 60 votes,” Mayor Rollings-Blake began. “How do you cast your votes?
“Thank you, madam secretary,” Mrs. Worley replied. “The state of Alabama has champions, not only in football, but we have champions in civil rights, in voting rights. We have champions for equal pay. And we cast, proudly, 50 champion votes for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and we cast nine votes for Senator Bernie Sanders.”
A puzzled Rollings-Blake quickly did the math, along with everyone else in the arena and the millions watching on television, and realized Alabama had come up short.
“Don’t y’all have one more?” She sheepishly asked as the crowd laughed. “I’ll count it as an abstention.”
The ridicule came quickly on Twitter.
“Who abstains during a roll call at a national convention?” Tweeted political commentator Jon Ralston.
“Nobody abstained,” replied elections prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg. “It’s Alabama. They miscounted.”
“I am not a member of any organized party, I am a Democrat,” joked another commenter, referencing the famous Will Rogers quote, while another speculated that whoever it was may have just been stuck in the bathroom.
USA Today reporter Mary Orndorff Troyan did some digging and found out that one of Alabama’s delegates had somehow missed the roll call.
“Bama delegate who missed signing roll call sheet at the hotel this AM was Roger Bedford III,” she tweeted.
Bedford III is the son of longtime Democratic state senator and Hillary Clinton super delegate Roger Bedford, Jr., who was defeated in 2014 after serving seven terms in the Alabama Senate.
Unfortunately for the younger Bedford, his notable absence is likely getting a lot more attention than his presence ever would have. As Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”
To see the full roster for Alabama’s DNC delegation, click here.