Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More Maine Superdelegate Confusion

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What is it with Maine and their superdelegates? First, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell moves from Maine to New York. Ok, no big deal. Then, former DNC Chairman Ken Curtis moves from Maine to Florida. Now that is a big deal, because Curtis loses his superdelegate vote as the Florida delegation gets no votes, pledged or unpledged, under the current rules. And Curtis has endorsed Clinton.

Now we get word of more confusion in the Maine delegation. Lists of Maine's DNC members from last year have Jennifer DeChant as a DNC member. However, lists from earlier this year showed she was replaced by Rita Moran. But the most recent DNC lists show DeChant back as a DNC member. What's going on?

Tom Walsh of the Ellsworth American is trying to get to the bottom of it:

The latest roster of Maine super delegates provided by the DNC also includes the name of Jennifer DeChant of Bath. She is shown as a Maine super delegate by virtue of being the Maine Democratic State Committee’s female representative to the DNC. One problem: She’s not.

Having missed three consecutive state committee meetings, she was replaced by Rita Moran of Winthrop through a Jan. 13 state committee written ballot election that was sanctioned by the committee’s parliamentarian. Moran’s election is now being disputed.

In a recent letter to Maine Democratic Party Chairman John Knutson of Brooklin, state Rep. Stan Gerzofsky (D-Brunswick) asks Knutson to "immediately void the results of the DNC election from the Jan. 13, 2008, meeting, prevent Rita Moran from taking the DNC seat, and call for another election with sufficient notice."

Gerzofsky claims there was insufficient notice of the Jan. 13 election and challenges the claim that DeChant missed three consecutive mandatory meetings. He also feels DeChant shouldn’t be penalized for illness related to pregnancy complications.
...
DeChant told The Ellsworth American that, while she did miss three consecutive State Committee meetings, she was unaware that all were mandatory. Two of her absences, she said, were related to illness associated with pregnancy. "I was too sick to attend," she said. "This whole thing is very nebulous. Rules are only as good as the ethics they uphold."

Moran, meanwhile, has kept a low profile. She feels confident that the Jan. 13 election result that saw her oust DeChant will be upheld. "I’m puzzled and distressed by this whole thing," she said. "But it’s also very difficult to look at it dispassionately."

Arden Manning, the state party’s executive director, told The Ellsworth American that he and a DNC representative agreed last week to continue to show DeChant as a Maine super delegate until the issue is resolved on or before the next state committee meeting on March 16.

Manning said he saw no reason to replace DeChant’s name on Maine’s super delegate roster with Moran’s name until the matter is resolved. Curiously, the state party’s Web site lists Moran as the incumbent female representative to the DNC, not DeChant.
DeChant has not endorsed either candidate to our knowledge. And by the way, if you want to know who Moran supports, frankly, we'd like to know also:
I believe that the minority deserves a voice, as much as the majority does. If fewer than four Maine superdelegates pledge for Senator Clinton, I will join and become the fourth. If fewer than six Maine superdelegates pledge for Senator Obama, I will join them to represent the majority opinion which, I believe, deserves the majority vote.”
Finally, Ellsworth's paper tears into the DNC over the confusion:
If the way the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is being managed is any indicator, it’s probably a good thing for his patients that its chairman, Dr. Howard Dean, no longer practices medicine.

In our ongoing effort to understand and explain the DNC’s arrogant "super delegate" structure, especially as it impacts Maine’s delegation to the upcoming Democratic National Convention, The Ellsworth American has requested information from the DNC three times in the last 10 days. Three times such information was provided. And all three times it was wrong.
Update 3/17: DeChant has gotten her seat back. She has replaced Moran on our lists.

10 comments:

And Little Fishes said...

Those of us who know Rita Moran hope she prevails in the face of this harassment from Manning and Gersofsky. She won a fair election by a solid margin, according to the state party rules. Withholding her position while awaiting a "do-over" because some party insiders don't like the result is undemocratic and flies in the face of due process.

Edward Lachowicz said...

One curiosity:

Why is it that you would bash Rita over her stance on her vote? I think your answer is pretty simple- find out who else supports which candidate in our delegation, and you will know who she supports, won't you?

Considering the issue of superdelegates overturning the results of the election, I would think you would be thankful that she is principled enough to respect the will of the caucuses.

Matt said...

Edward-
I guess my problem with Moran's stance is that it seems a bit weak to me. I mean, what if all the superdelegates took the same stance? It also negates the value of her fellow superdelegates votes. If the last other superdelegate to decide would tip Moran's scales one way or another, Moran would automatically vote the other way, making the other superdelegates votes worthless. Not to mention she's going to have to revise her standards, as Maine now has 8 superdelegates, not 10.

mainefem said...

Manning never posts state committee election notices (or minutes, for that matter)--only regular meeting notices.

Nor does my county committee; and that's why attendance is in the crapper.

The missing three consecutive meetings rule has been in effect for quite some time (due to flagrant past abuses).

DeChant's lame claim that she was "unaware" of it is total bullshit (pregnancy, nonwithstanding--it isn't an illness/disease).

She lost the Jan. 13th election by a handful of votes.

Actually, the margin is irrelevant---Rita won.

Sorry--no Clintonista "do-overs."

That's why we have state committee *alternates*; when a multitude of life issues occur; and one is unable to attend meetings.

mainefem said...

Here's the latest Tom Walsh article.

State committee meetings are scheduled every two months.

I would question whether Ms. DeChant was also on bedrest (per doctor's orders) during that entire time (six months+; as DSC meetings are held on the weekend).

[...]

"For the past three and a half years, I've made a concerted effort to move the Democratic agenda forward," said DeChant, who has worked for the House majority office, the House speaker's office and in the state Department of Economic and Community Development. "It's concerning to me that that work could be negated because of a condition such as pregnancy, which couldn't be controlled. ... I was not at home going to barbecues or shopping. I was on bed rest."

[....]

If so, how many days of work (M-F) did DeChant miss from her workplace (if still employed in Augusta throughout her pregnancy)?

DeChant's DSC alternate would have logically stepped in if necessary; and/or, she should have resigned her DSC position (due to her "condition").

Anyone who has a difficult pregnancy does not cherry-pick life's daily activities.

If placed on ordered bedrest, that includes *all* activities (waged and unwaged).

mainefem said...

A Not-so-super System

Matt said...

Mainefem - thanks for the links. Post has been updated.

Edward Lachowicz said...

Matt, Rita's decision was based on her asking the State Committee what they feel would be a good decision to make, because she isn't a fan of the superdelegate system as it exists right now.

That was the decision that came back, there were a few that were being considered (including voting for the majority of delegates, or for whichever candidate did the most campaigning here).

Her "standards" do not need to be revised, either. Just the math. Apparently you are one of the people who supports the superdelegate concept, since your primary concern is her nullifying the vote of another superdelegate.

And mainefem? I'd contact your DSC reps if I were you, if you want the results to stand as they're written.

mainefem said...

You're most welcome, Matt.

My pleasure.

The onus isn't upon me to "report" anything to anyone, Eddie.

I blatantly refuse to do so.

DSC agendas and minutes should *always* be posted on the MDP's portal (which I've addressed many times in the past; only to be chastised, ignored, & ridiculed).

Don't even try it now....

I spoke w/you about these issues last year at DemocracyFest; and nothing's changed, correct?

Why are the DSC minutes and agendas *never* publically posted by the DSC Secretary, Susan Cook, Eddie?

DeChant is correct in her claim that the August, 2007 emergency meeting was not posted (it's M.I.A. on the portal's so-called "calendar").

Again--it's Susan Cook's role as *Secretary*; (*not* Arden Manning's, as Exec. Dir.) to notify DSC members well in advance of their absences, upcoming meetings, agendas, and minutes (all in a timely manner).

Blurred boundaries amok.

Furthermore, county members should not have to attend F2F meetings, in order to be kept abreast, re: what's happening by their DSC members--hogwash.

I haven't heard a peep out of mine--should be in writing every two months (published by all representative county DSC members).

There's ZERO accountability, (systemically speaking).

It's in the rules; which are 100% useless, unless enforced.

Duh.

Electronic "transparency" can sometimes save face, in situations such as this.

Penobscot County's DSC members were never voted in legitimately.

Why in hell would I bother to contact *them* (or county exec. committee "officers")?

Enough of the projection & blame-shifting, Eddie.

I'm beyond sick and tired of it.

...not my job.

We can't be the only corrupt county committee, by a longshot.

Corrupt MDP statewide committee (e.g., municipal, county, & state level) "elections" appear to be a systemic issue (e.g., negligent & corrupt leadership--from the top>down).

I personally know Carl Pease; and have to believe that his professional parlimentarian advice isn't being followed.

Get a pocket copy of Robert's Rules of Order.

I'm glad that Tom Walsh is addressing the issue.

It's long overdue.

It seriously needs to be taken care of; once and for all (akin to living w/a drunk in an enabling family). I don't buy into it--I never sweep things under the rug.

For over three years (and three so-called MDP "Chairs" and who-knows- how-many MDP "Executive Directors" ago), Penobscot County Democratic Committee has *never* held a legitimate DSC election (with appropriate advance notice to all county members--replete w/a nominating committee).

Over 95% of the county stopped attending meetings--let alone, holding their own municipal meetings, etc.

If they're holding municipal meetings, it's in secret (no huge surprise there, either).

I sat with David Bright (Jan., 2007 meeting); and we ripped Jim Martin & so-called "executive county committee officers" up one side & down the other--to no avail (as well as looooong before that meeting, also--during and after Jean's '06 Senatorial race).

Those county members who *do* have email contact may be notified of nominating committees and elections via said electronic medium.

All other county committee members (who do not have any internet access) receive postcards via snail mail (well in advance, so that their notices aren't arriving later than those sent out via electronic medium).

Said county committee elections for DSC members should *never* occur (unannounced) during a regular monthly meeting (sans appropriate prior notice).

Nada.

Which "fox(es)" is/are guarding the proverbial chicken house(s)?

That's why (on average) only 14 people attended Penobscot County Democratic Committee meetings this past year (if that).

Registered Dems. in Penobscot County ('06)?

34,082, estimated--yes, those are fluid, but illuminates the stark contrast.

The majority who attended that Jan., 2007 meeting took off in disgust--it most certainly wasn't the first corrupt county committee election we'd encountered since 2004!

Actually, it's an ongoing pattern of behavior (since '02).

Wanna win CD#2 in 2008 (esp. Tom Allen's race)?

Smarten the hell up.

Your DSC "clocks" are running out (and I don't want to hear any continued sarcastic or defensive blame-shifting posturing via the tubes from you, Eddie).

I most certainly expect that *all* 16 ME Democratic county committees (as well as municipal committees, where applicable) start behaving ethically.

Pronto.

Rita's situation is only the tip of the proverbial systemically corrupt iceberg.

If DeChant was *that* ill--requiring 100% bedrest during her pregnancy ("condition"), she should have resigned her (now potentially "superdelegate" statused ) position.

It's that simple.

I personally am aware of women who've had very difficult pregnancies--bedrest means 100% (to the point of being hospitalized, if necessary, if non-compliant per doctor's orders).

DeChant would've been rendered as incapapble of performing her DSC duties and roles, etc.

Furthermore, if DeChant commuted each week and month from Bath to Augusta M-F round trip to work during her pregnancy, I can't foresee any legitimate reason why she missed one meeting every two months (held during the day, on a weekend).

It simply doesn't pass the straight face test (esp. the timing of it all).

And Little Fishes said...

Mainefem, I'd appreciate a private e-mail exchange; andlittlefishes@gmail.com
I agree with you about the pregnancy, even more because people have been known to conference in on meetings. Pregnancy is not a disability. The rules don't distinguish between excused and unexcused absences. There was no discrimination going on at that election; DeChant could have been in a coma, or a man recovering from testicular cancer, for pete's sake, and the rules would have worked in exactly the same way. Come to think of it, you can't teleconference out of a coma...