BOSTON – Defeated Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (search) has released his convention delegates, telling his supporters to "vote your conscience."
Kucinich, who formally endorsed presumed nominee John Kerry last week, met with his roughly 64 delegates twice this week, with many saying they would still cast a vote for the four-term Ohio congressman at the roll call Wednesday night, according to an e-mail Tuesday from his campaign.
"I'm releasing you to vote your consciences. You will be the ones making your own decision," Kucinich said.
According to the e-mail, Kucinich stressed to delegates that it was important for Democrats to unite behind Kerry and vice presidential candidate John Edwards (search). Some supporters still insisted they wanted to cast their first-round ballot for Kucinich.
Vicki Rottman, a sculptor from Denver who participated in the anti-war protests outside the Chicago convention in 1968, said she still plans to vote for Kucinich. "I vowed this year that I would be on the inside of the convention and that I would voice my opinion," she said.
Candidates who do well in primaries or caucuses are eligible for "pledged" delegates to the convention. Party rules say these delegates should cast their convention vote "in all good conscience (to) reflect the sentiments of those who elected them."
However, they aren't bound to vote for any candidate at the convention. That means delegates for the dropouts —- or even Kerry —- are free to support someone else, regardless of whether their candidate has released them.