WASHINGTON — Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who won 18 percent of the Democratic vote in Oklahoma's presidential primaries on March 6, said Tuesday that he will fight the state and national Democratic Party organizations if they deny him delegates to the national convention.
Terry, of West Virginia, said in an interview that he is confident he will be awarded at least one Oklahoma delegate based on his statewide showing. But he predicted that national party officials would do “anything in their power” to make sure he is not given more delegates based on his results in congressional districts.
The question, he said, is whether the state party “will bow to the pressure and disregard the voters of Oklahoma.”
Terry said, “We'll fight in any manner that we can” to get Oklahoma delegates.
Jim Rogers, a retiree who lives in Midwest City, also received enough votes in three congressional districts potentially to qualify for delegates. Rogers said in an interview that he was not familiar with Democratic Party rules about qualifying for delegates because the party had not sent him any information.
Rogers, a perennial candidate whose campaigning typically consists of holding a sign on a street corner, said he met federal and state requirements to be on the ballot and that the Democratic Party should have told him how to qualify for delegates.
“Surely you understand that there are people who don't want to have to give them to me,” Rogers said. “I want my delegates. If I earned them, I earned them.”
State Democratic Party officials have not announced how delegates will be allotted, saying they were waiting until primary results were certified. They were certified Tuesday.
Under party rules, qualifying candidates could be awarded delegates if they receive 15 percent of the statewide vote or 15 percent of the vote in any of the state's five congressional districts. Terry and Rogers both broke the 15 percent threshold in the three congressional districts that have large rural populations.
President Barack Obama got 57 percent of the vote statewide and won a majority or plurality in all of the congressional districts. The president would qualify for the vast majority of the delegates.
Terry said he could qualify for as many as six delegates in Oklahoma; Rogers said he didn't know how many he might qualify for under party rules.
Terry, who has been airing commercials that show what he calls “images of babies murdered by abortion,” is aiming to prevent Obama from getting the Democratic presidential nomination unanimously. He will also be on the general election ballot in Florida and four other swing states and said he could deny Obama a second term if he gets enough of the vote.
In a letter written in January, when Terry was seeking to buy air time for his ads during the Super Bowl, a Democratic National Committee official wrote a letter saying Terry was not a bona fide Democratic candidate and could not satisfy the requirements for getting national delegates.
“Mr. Terry's claims to be a Democratic candidate for president are false,” Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the DNC, said in the letter. “Accordingly, he should not be accorded the benefits of someone conducting a legitimate campaign for public office.”