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Texas Democrats surprised by outcome

Although state Sen. Rodney Ellis wanted Barack Obama to win from the outset, he wasn’t sure that Obama could or that he would.

“I’m not sure that I believed in him as much as he believed in himself,” Ellis said Tuesday.

But the Houston Democrat — a veteran of presidential campaigns since he barnstormed the nation on behalf of Michael Dukakis in 1988 — recognizes that he’s witnessed a history-making event as an African-American is winning a major party presidential nomination for the first time.

“It is a historic moment in the history of America, especially in terms of this country being the leader of the free world,” said Ellis, the longest-serving African-American in the Texas Senate. “... I think the enduring legacy of Barack Obama’s campaign is that he focused on the future and not the past.”

And while Hillary Clinton lost the delegate race, local supporters are finding it hard to give up on their cause.

They say the race isn’t over until the votes are counted at the national Democratic convention in Denver this August.

“I’m not at a point ... to say this campaign is over,” said Jason Smith, a local Clinton volunteer. “Math is math, but right now, I still support Hillary.

“I’m still planning to go to the Democratic state convention and vote for Hillary Clinton and run to be a Hillary Clinton delegate to the national convention.”

For Smith and others who spent months campaigning for Clinton, seeing her presidential bid end isn’t easy.

But some say it’s time.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mark Greene, a volunteer organizer with Obama’s Tarrant County effort. “I think she has run a very aggressive campaign, proving how tough she is, showing her tenacity.

“I hope she puts her support behind Obama,” he said. “If she doesn’t, it will be what it will be.”

Some supporters are holding out hope for a twist.

“None of these delegates will be able to cast their votes until that convention ... and anything can happen in between now and then to change their minds,” said Sergio DeLeon, a Tarrant County constable and Clinton volunteer. “Hopefully delegates will realize who is in the strongest position to win the election this fall.”