Mrs. Jackson gets no special treatment in quest to become national delegate

Helen Jackson, mother of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, naturally would like to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention this summer in Atlanta.

But there are no party rules that give her any edge over anyone else seeking to become a national delegate.

State and county Democrats say, however, Mrs. Jackson has a lot of sentiment on her side though anyone selected as a county delegate has an equal chance to become a state and national delegate.

“The delegate selection process is very complicated, and there is no party rule that says Mrs. Jackson should get special treatment,” said Chris Verenes of Columbia, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

But Verenes said he is certain many Democrats feel Mrs. Jackson should be a delegate to the National Convention, which will be July 18-21 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

“It would be a kind gesture by South Carolina Democrats to choose Mrs. Jackson as a national delegate,” Verenes said. “It would be a lifetime opportunity for hers since her son is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Greenville County Democratic Chairman Billy Webster said he thinks it’s great that Mrs. Jackson wants to become a national delegate.

“I for one certainly hope she makes it,” Webster said, “but she will play by the same rules as everyone else wanting to become a national delegate.”

Mrs. Jackson, one of 54 delegates chosen at the March 12 county convention, said she would like to be a state and national delegate, but she does not expect any special favors from the party.

“I naturally would like to go the National Convention to do everything I could for my son … it would be a great honor,” Mrs. Jackson said. “But I’m involved because I believe in constructive change and helping everybody.”

The South Carolina Democratic Party will choose 44 delegates to the national convention at its April 16 state convention in Columbia: