Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Florida and Michigan inch closer... maybe

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The entire liberal/Democratic blogosphere has lit up in the past day with the comments from DNC Chairman Howard Dean on the possible solutions for seating the delegations from Michigan and Florida. Dean has stated he is "committed" to seating the Florida delegation and is "optimistic" that another compromise can be worked out for Michigan.

"We are committed to making sure that we do everything in our power to seat a delegation from Florida," Dean said. "We believe we will seat a delegation from Florida."

But the party chairman said it was critical that Obama and Clinton were "comfortable with the compromises that have to be worked out."

However, Dean has also stated that any solution would have to be agreed upon by both candidates' campaigns in order to be workable.

Dean's low-key style during this delegate dispute is starting to attract some criticism from across the Beltway establishment. According to The New York Times, Dean has never been comfortable with the D.C. political mainstream, spending his weeks travelling the country and his weekends at home in Vermont. When in D.C., he stays at a hotel rather than taking a residence. His "50 state strategy" approach has put him at odds with Rep. Rahm Emanuel and others who want to focus on maintaining immediate majorities, but Dean remains immensely popular with state chairmen for his investments across the country in building ground level infrastructure to build a "bench" of candidates.

How would a compromise work? Both states have tried and failed to plan a re-vote. If another vote proposal were to come up, it would have to be completed by June 10th to meet DNC rules.

In Florida, some proposals are to seat the Florida delegation based on their primary results, as both candidates were listed on the ballot (although both pledged to not campaign in the state). Another compromise is to use the primary results but penalize Florida by removing 1/2 of their delegates. This solution would net Clinton 38 delegates (Clinton 105, Obama 67, and Edwards 13) Clinton 19 delegates (Clinton 52.5, Obama 33.5, and Edwards 6.5).

In Michigan, the options are tougher since Obama was not on the ballot. Some kind of formulaic allocation based on the Michigan primary results and the overall national results seems to be the favored proposal currently.

In the end, though, any change in the delegate allocation strategy will still need to be approved by both Obama and Clinton, as well as either the DNC Rules Committee or the DNC Convention Credentials Committee.

Update from Oreo: I have to jump in on Charlie's great post for this special announcement. Dean said that there are in fact hotel rooms reserved for Florida. Long timers at DCW will remember that that's all we posted about before this whole superdelegate thing ;)

Update from Matt: Marc Ambinder provides some more detail:
Here's what's happening.

Remember the Ausman challenge? Well, there are actually two Ausman challenges -- one regarding Florida's superdelegates, and one regarding the ability of the party's rules and bylaws committee to penalize an entire delegation.

Sources close to the DNC's rules and bylaws committee say that the Ausman challenges WILL be heard -- and that if the votes are there, some Florida delegates could be seated -- temporarily -- by the end of April. (The seating would likely be appealed to the credentials committee, but we'll cross that suspension bridge when we pay the toll for it.)
We wrote about Ausman's challenges here (pledged delegates) and here (superdelegates). The superdelegate challenge, seems, on the face of it, easier to get through, and might be the first breakthrough in this stalemate.


andrewlong said...

Hold on—the FL delegate numbers you cite represents the full pledged delegation, 185:

Clinton 105, Obama 67, and Edwards 13

The "Half-Nelson" proposal would seat the entire pledged delegation, but give each delegate only a 1/2 vote. So Clinton's net would be 19.

It's unclear if the superdelegates' votes would also be cut in half. I doubt it.

Matt said...

Numbers have been cut in half.