Saturday, May 17, 2008

Florida and Michigan Delegate Status - 5/17

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

With the looming 5/31 meeting of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, it seems that there is increasing pressure to find a workable solution that allows all sides to get most of what they want while saving face.

It may be that no one wants to find out how the RBC would try to cut the baby of Florida and Michigan in half, so it's in everyone's interests to find a solution that works.

In Michigan, a proposal has gathered the support of Michigan's Democratic party (including the governor and the state's Congressional delegation) to apportion the delegates 69/59, giving Clinton a 10 delegate "win" as the best possible solution given that Obama didn't even appear on the ballot in Michigan. Clinton has recently rejected the proposal, saying she wants the delegates seated "as is". This stance seems a bit odd, given that a.) the current results would give Clinton a 73-55 advantage, which is only 8 additional delegates than the compromise proposed (assuming that the 55 assigned to "Uncommitted" actually became Obama delegates), and b.) that the RBC is most likely to decide to cut Michigan's delegation in half unless a compromise is reached.

In Florida, the Obama campaign is starting to quietly suggest it can live with a compromise that gives Clinton another 10 delegate lead (the results were 113-74 for Clinton, a stronger 29 delegate win). Murkying the waters is Edwards - now that he has endorsed Obama his delegates are starting to switch to supporting Obama as well. Giving Edwards' 13 FL delegates to Obama cuts Clinton's advantage to just 16.

It appears that in Florida consensus is building that the RBC may just leave the election results in place and cut the delegation in half. The result of this would be Clinton 56.5, Obama 37 and Edwards 6.5; cutting Clinton's lead to either 19.5 or 13 depending on Edwards' delegates. Given the really small numbers involved here, I'm surprised Clinton is taking such a strong line against a compromise, given the likely reality. Obama is under political pressure to have a compromise in Florida worked out by May 20th, when he has a rally planned in Tampa.

So where does that leave things?

Michigan: A compromise plan endorsed by the state Democratic party that is being sent to the Rules and Bylaws committee is the most likely solution given Obama didn't appear on the ballot. Hillary ends up with a +10 delegate count and the Michigan superdelegates come into play.

Florida: No clear compromise plan in place, so I'd say the convention wisdom is the RBC cuts Florida's delegate count in half and leaves the election results in place, giving Hillary a +19.5 delegate bump, and the Edwards delegates become new quasi-supers, courted by both camps.

The situation is still very fluid but will likely come to a conclusion on or before the 5/31 committee meeting.


DA English said...

The Michigan compromise sounds fair to me, but I kind of doubt Clinton wants Obama to get any delegates. On Florida cutting it in half would be the best solution. Again, don't expect the Clinton campaign to accept either of these plans, given it removes one of the only reasons for her to stay in the race.

Does anyone know if the rules commitee makes a decison whether it can be appealed?

bxlbjorn said...

I do understand why the Clinton camp would not be happy with anything less than getting all the votes/delegates.

The only argument that still somewhat stands for her to remain in the campaign is the so-called popular vote, although this calculation is by counting out caucus results. So much for the Clinton math.

Awarding the delegates as mentioned in above artcile would wipe out her last argument, defacto handing over to Obama the nomination.

Björn, Brussels (Belgium)

Amot said...

Obama camp gave two opinions on 59/69 proposal:

"We haven't totally signed off on the proposal," he [Obama] said. "But it provides the basis for solving the problem. Michigan is a big and important state and I'll be back here a lot."

"Plouffe signaled, as the campaign has for some time, that it would look favorably on a plan proposed by the state party to seat all Michigan delegates, but reduce the delegate boost that Hillary Clinton would receive from the Jan. 15 primary.
Clinton would gain 18 net delegates based on the primary vote, but the compromise plan would cut that to 10. Clinton has rejected the plan, calling for full recognition of the January vote.
"That requires us being pretty generous and seeing Senator Clinton gain delegates we do not think she earned," Plouffe said.
But Obama is nonetheless considering the proposal "in the interests of trying to make sure there's a positive resolution," he said. "One thing we can't have in September and October is raw feelings."

Finally, Obama has won as much as 35 out of 36 umcommitted delegates in MI. Some are strong supporters, some not so strong, but all 35 have been asked to pledge they will vote for Obama in Denver. 36th is union member and could also support Obama. 19 statewide delegates will be assigned by the State party committee to teh uncommitted. If Obama agrees with the state party to get those too, he will have 54 uncommitted pledged to him and he will be able to agree to full seating! He is also recently gaining MI supers!

kitchin said...

Look at the numbers:
Clinton's only chance is Scenario 5, full seating. But that scenario becomes about as bad as the others if the 55 uncommitted MI delegates goto Obama.

phrigndumass said...

Good info! However, according to Rule 20.C.1.a. of the Official Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention (which deals with violation of timing), both Florida and Michigan delegations will be halved after some sort of compromise is reached. Further, neither state's superdelegates (unpledged delegates) will be permitted to vote as members of the state's delegation.

Everything is halved, and supers are denied a vote. This is the only way, under the Rules, to certify compliance for these states.

The new majority of delegates would then be 2112, not 2209.

More info:

Great blog, guys!

- phrigndumass

bruce goldberg said...

i find any discussion about this that assumes the vote is valid and should stand as is - totally and completely absurd - it makes the clintons look so ridiculous.

Clearly whatever compromise is reached it SHOULD NOT affect the selection of the nominee at all.

billkapra said...

I'm surprised that people forget the relevant rule on this. A state must be penalized for transgressing the date-of-primary limits. The committee will certainly not seat 100% of either Michigan's or Florida's delegation (at full votes).

It sounds to me as if the Florida plan is a done deal... halve the delegates as apportioned by the vote numbers.

In Michigan, with so much of the state's contingent on board with the 'compromise' split, I'd guess we'll see that split then halved by the committee.

With luck, both decisions will be settled on the 31st so that the last open question is resolved and Hillary can step aside gracefully on the 4th of June.

Anonymous said...

per Florida, why not give Hillary her 50%, and Obama his 33% PLUS Edwards, Biden, Dodd, etc. (his endorsers) votes and percents?
In Michigan let it be 69 to 59 with Super Delegates independent?

page in Jax said...

As a Florida Democratic voter, I don't appreciate anyone saying my vote was absurd or invalid! I voted in a valid Florida election and my vote should be recognized--I didn't break any rules! The DNC's RBC should revise the punishment of FL and MI back to the half delegation, which was the original punishment before Dean and Brazile went on their Clinton-hating power trip.

Since this race is so close and the winner can ONLY win with support of PLEO delegates, aka superdelegates, Hillary should, and probably will, stay in this until the convention in August. Why not, isn't that what the convention is for? That would bring way more attention to the Democratic convention and our principals than the republicans could possibly dream of.

Those extra weeks will give ALL the delegates (pledged and un-pledged) time to see the reality of an Obama-McCain race--JM wins in an embarrassing landslide, as middle-Americans reject elitist BO. Remember all the delegates can change their minds and vote in the best interest of the Democratic Party--for Hillary!

Shelee Whitaker said...

I can't beleive this site it's as bad as This whole thing is so rigged and corrupt! It's all about Barak. After this election is over I am going Rebulican! If Barak gets the Nomination, I am Voting McCain! You can say I was never a true Hillary supporter if vote that way but it will be B.S., I will not allow my self to vote for someone who is anti-american.Of Course the vast majority of the world wants Oblabla. You the DNC is making a mockery out of us Americans as the rest of the world watches,laughs and waits...........

Shelee Whitaker said...


Yamaka said...

page and disgusted:

I agree with you on this matter.

1. Voters of MI and FL did NOT violate any Rule, as per Gov Dean.

2. Dean also agrees that the DNC and Party Officials violated the Rule and its implementation. Therefore, punish the Officials involved, and NOT the voters.

3. Give FL As-Is.

4. Divide the MI "uncommitted" between Biden, Richardson, Obama and Edwards. Hillary gets what she earned. Accordingly seat ALL delegates.

This is the fairest way of dealing with the situation created by the very poor implementation of the Rule.

Otherwise, expect a mass exodus out of the Democratic Party, which will guarantee a Minority status for decades to come.

Punish the Corrupt Officials, not the innocent Voters of MI and FL.


Kennyb said...

You people are unreal. The rule about not jumping primaries ahead and punishin states who do so is Terry McAuliffe's rule. Read his book; it's right there.

This is not a Clinton-Obama argument at all; it's an argument between the party leadership and state officials that were WILLING to risk giving up their seated delegates in the hope that their early non-binding primaries would still garner media attention and give momentum to the winner's campaign. Clinton and Obama (and the rest of the candidates) chose to support the DNC on this one, did not campaign in Michigan and Florida and thus the press pretty much ignored the democratic primaries in those states. It's only because the race is close and Clinton cannot win without the MI and FL delegates that she is championing their primary voting "rights" now. Be naive about it if you want, but the proof is in the Clinton campaign's rejection of the 69-59 Michigan split.

And for page in jax, your silly Obama-elitist comment shows how much of the Clinton kool-aid you've been drinking. It's just a rediculous statement when you compare the backgrounds of the candidates and, more importantly, how their POLICIES demonstrate favoratism to elitist principals. You've got ONE elitist candidate in this race, and he's married to Cindy McCain.

Blame said...

I was under the impresion that the Michegan Uncomitted Delegates were chosen half by Clinton supporters and half by Unions (probably also clinton supporters).

If Clinton had her way and they were seated "as is" she could very well get the lot! As for amot's assertion:

"Finally, Obama has won as much as 35 out of 36 umcommitted delegates in MI. Some are strong supporters, some not so strong, but all 35 have been asked to pledge they will vote for Obama in Denver. 36th is union member and could also support Obama."

Perhaps they are all willing to give assurances of undying loyalty to Obama, however may I make the point that there is no such thing as a Pledged Delegate. Once they get to the convention they would be free to change there minds, and it could just be that they are all suddenly inspired to go for Clinton because she has the better hair style.

tmess2 said...

I have not seen any list of the 36 delegates from the districts in Michigan or whether or not they have endorsed anyone. Obviously, in considering compromise solutions, the Obama campaign is probably tracking these 36 delegates.

Regardless of what anyone says on here -- once Obama goes over the number that the Clinton campaign wants to use, the campaign is over and they are going to fold up shop and pay down debts.

In talking about the penalties for non-compliance, folks need to remember three things. First, these penalties were imposed before any votes were cast in Michigan and Florida. While the elections in those states may have been valid state elections, they were not valid national democratic elections. At the time that the votes were cast, they were advisory primaries, just like the advisory primaries in Washington, Idaho, and Nebraska. Second, Clinton has a lot of supporters on the RBC -- including senior folks in her campaign -- these folks voted for the original sanctions. Third, there is a provision in the rules for waiving sanctions if the RBC determines that the state party did it's best to comply with the rules and that the fault lies with non-party people.

This third fact will be how the final solution is done. While it is probably factually incorrect in both states -- especially in Michigan -- the RBC can accept the position that it is all the legislature's fault and that party officials have no control over what any legislator does. Based on this finding, the party can relax all or any part of the sanction.

phrigndumass said...

To tmess2:

Good info, but most of the Florida supers were tantamount in moving that state's primary up in violation of timing. Many testified before committees in that state suggesting the idea's merit. It's reflected in the statehouse record. Further, only one Dem voted against the bill in the Florida statehouse to move up the primary in violation of timing.

I could do some study on Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover the same thing happened there.

It's ridiculous to believe that the fault lies solely with non-party people when the folks in the party in that state supported it.

There's a poster on DU named madfloridian who has done extensive research into this issue in Florida. Her journal is worth a good study.

- phrigndumass

cph said...

I think you're mixing up your FL numbers. The numbers you cite from Green Papers (113-74) include superdelegates. The number of pledged delegates from FL is 185 and the allocation was 105-67-13.

Yousri said...


Green Papers have moved 2 FL Edwards Delegates to Obama.
They now have:
105-69-11 without supers;
113-74-11 With supers.


Nospam4me said...

To Tmess2:

"Regardless of what anyone says on here -- once Obama goes over the number that the Clinton campaign wants to use, the campaign is over and they are going to fold up shop and pay down debts."

The problem with this scenario is that the number the Clinton campaign wants to use will keep changing to whatever number is needed to keep Obama from winning.

cph said...


The main post says "the results were 113-74" implying that those are primary results. They aren't.

Amot said...


initial signals about MI pledged uncommitted came mixed. Michigander for Obama claimed only dozen or so delegates (considered ultra strong), but many other Obama's groups were successfull to secure pledged delegates for him.
I searched the web for news and found a lot of sources, but the best article is here! Read the comments too - they are very informative. No one has to bother about MI, I am convinced that Obama is somewhat agree to get the delegates seated as is (see my previous post) because he knows that most(all but one) uncommitted will pledge for him immediately they are officially seated! Of course, he has worked on a deal with MI state party committtee to receive all uncommitted statewide delegates. On May 31st he will have 2025, and if FL is seated 1/2 vote each and MI as is or 1/2, on June 1st he will reach the new top line as well.

kitchin said...

phrigndumass, thanks for your explanation at,the best I've seen.

Question, is not "pursuant to Rule 8.A." in the official Dem rules a typo for "pursuant to Rule 9.A."? WTF?

The rules are at (which redirects to an bandwidth-saver, by the way), linked from

Is there really a typo in the official rules? Rule 8.A concerns pledged delegates, 9.A unpledged.

phrigndumass said...


You are correct! DNC has a typo in their Rules. Good eyes.

I believe it should be 9.A. instead of 8.A. since 9.A. deals with both pledged and unpledged delegates.

Thanks for the kudos.

- phrigndumass :)

Blame said...

amot I followed your link:

"In other words, it appears that Obama has ostensibly won just about all of the 36 uncommitted delegates, perhaps only missing one delegate in the 9th because of divisions among Obama supporting groups. However, a dozen or so of the Obama delegates are weak supporters, and might actually be truly uncommitted or even backing Clinton. I'll consider it a 35-1 Obama victory for now, but that number is tentative pending future information. In truth, mistrust of some of the more machine or union oriented Obama supporters who won the uncommitted slots is probably just hard-core Obama grassroots paranoia. If someone publicly says they are for Obama, I see no reason not to trust them until they publicly declare something has changed."

So the situation aint as bad as I have read before, but still a tad dubious.

I still think that there very little chance that these delegates will remain as stands, at least if they have voting rights.

stevie314159 said...

Why should the MI and FL super-delegates get to count at all?

They're the party bigwigs who created this whole cluster-f***.

They should be stripped of their SD votes entirely, and let them get their own hotel reservations in Denver.

Pinyan said...

page in jax: Dean announced last fall that if Florida or Michigan held their primaries in January, they would not count. They had plenty of time to fix it, and didn't. It's not about hating Hillary.

disgusted: If you think this site is biased, then you need to cut back on the truthiness. There is nothing but factual information in the posts on the delegate situation, with everything explained in great detail. P.S. Obama is not anti-American.

kitchin said...

There are two types of unpledged superdelgates. By my count, Rule 20.C.1.a would reduce

pledged: 128 to 64
super: 29 to 2

pledged: 185 to 92
super: 26 to 3

Amot said...

the other sources I checked say that those candidates were asked to officially pledge Obama in front of the audience! Of course, there can be a Troyan horse, but I agree it is more like paranoya! And I am sure Obama's campaign has already contacted them! there is no other reason why Obama would accept as is in MI as he hinted 4 days ago unless he has those delegates secured!

0 supers! Add-ons are penalized 100% too as they count as supers!

DNC rules make sense! They are created in a manner that allows candidates with not so deep pockets to run early campaign in just 4 states small to medium size. If they get viable they will get financial support and be able to participate in the big states! The only candidates that could pay for full campaign in January if MI and FL were included were Obama and Clinton! I doubt that even Edwards could afford it! I actually think Super Tuesday was too crowded - we need better structured calendar! But it is important that we have only few contests in January in order to give equal chances to all the candidates! Trust the rules - they are not perfect, but are much better than anarchy! And MI aimed just on anarchy!!!

edgeways said...

Strip the SDs and half the PDs allocating the UC vote in MI to Obama, let the Edwards PDs in FL decide who to cast their lot with.

Whatever the final outcome, full seating, half seating etc... the ultimate punishment of FL and MI is to not directly influence the outcome of the rest of the primary. And I hope they vote out the local asshole who put these rules in place. That is the ultimate punishment in a democracy.

page in Jax said...

kennyb: OB is elitist and arrogant. He is the dubya of the Democratic party and his fans (short for fanatic, ya know) are following, blind to his narcissism.

stevie said, " . . . superdelegates . . . are the party bigwigs who created this whole cluster . . . " Well, guess what, Stevie, it's the party bigwigs who are gonna decide this nomination, not the voters.

pinyna: read this from my very red hometown and very red newspaper,

Hillary is punching hard at the glass ceiling, even with the Democratic boys club standing on it, she could possibly break through.

Remember all those delegates, super or otherwise, can change their minds all the way up to the convention.

Kennyb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kennyb said...

page in jax, if you had a world of your own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t.

Many if not most of the party bigwigs ARE Bill Clinton, those beholden to Bill Clinton and the big Democratic money giving to Hillary Clinton. That's how she racked up superdelegate endorsements and the huge warchest that she wasted early on in the campaign. You can try to cast Hillary as the underdog insurgent candidate fighting the good fight, but that's only her persona of the month, which she wears when it best suits her purposes. Obama may be arrogant (nothing I've read about the way he runs his campaign supports that, by the way. Read the most recent Newsweek), but to say that he is elitist is to say that those who have successfully pulled themselves up to positions of power despite difficult circumstances (the American Dream?) are elitist. They may be elites, but they are not elitist. Bill Clinton did it and Obama did it. The much more privileged Hillary did NOT do it, except to the extent that staying with Bill was her difficult circumstance. My point, though, which you ignore, is that the POLICIES endorsed by Hillary or Obama are not elitist policies. Those are reserved for the big money Republicans, including John McCain, his wife and the lobbyists that fill his campaign staff.

The quotation at the start, by the way, is from Alice in Wonderland. I guess that knowing that makes me an elitist!

tmess2 said...

In reading the Delegate Selection Rules, I always assumed a typo and that the reference in Rule 20C to 8A meant 9A (otherwise the languange makes no sense). Rule 9A deals with the automatic delegates (DNC members, Representatatives, Senators, Governors, and DPLs). It does not deal with the add-on delegates. Besides stripping them of the automatic convention slot, Rule 20C also bans them from running for the elected slots.

As to a response to an earlier post, I know that the state parties in both states played a role in the rescheduling but facts can be ignored when it is in everyone's interest to ignore them. If the party decides to waive the provisions in Rule 20C requiring the exclusion of the delegates awarded under Rule 9A, it will be by creatively ignoring the roles of the state parties in the changing of the primary dates (and the refusal to use a caucus instead of the primary).

kitchin said...

Amot, the Add-ons are Rule 9.B, so presumably are not removed. But by Rule 20.C.5, the penalty can be increased for general reasons of fairness. And then after the May 31 meeting, all bets are off as the August convention can set its own rules, right?

kitchin said...

The 3 FL Add-ons are known:

Dan Gelber: Obama vote (Miami Herald)
Steve Geller: ?
Alex Sink: ?

For MI, the 2 Add-ons are due to be chosen by the state committee June 14.

nvizhon said...

I am proud how the democratic party has changed and became an empressive party now. We have brought out a greater voter turn out thn ever! When we start degrading ourselves we need to start Changing ourselves and start inspiration instead. Degradation never changes anything.

I believe accountability is important too. It only makes sense to hold MI and Fl officials accountable to the rules they knew were in place or other states may disregard them too.

Also, Hillary disregarded the signed agreement that she and Obama would not campaign/run in these states. She needs to be held accountable.

It does make sense to divide the delegates evenly amoung them.

The voter's of MI and Fl are subject to what these officials do because they voted for them like we did Bush. They can vote for another democrate next time.

This seems fair to me.

nvizhon said...

Well I didn't vote for Bush of course. But, we have to accept what is legislated by these officials until we can vote them out. All we can do is write/call our elected officials until we can vote them out.

Scott Nolan said...

No compromise that allows the FL and MI super delegates full votes is acceptable to me.

The voters of each state are responsible for their governors and state legislatures. Even if Republican controlled legislatures foisted this off on the Democratic parties in those states, the Democrats 1) had it coming for letting Republicans win and 2) they had an opportunity to stop that in both states and failed to do so. I have some sympathy for them, but you learn from the small pains of life. They can freely vote their will in November and try to fix this crazy nomination process next time.

The super delegates from these two states get even less sympathy from me. They were the leadership entrusted with preventing this from happening. They failed to do so, they should not get seated even if a compromise is reached for voted on and pledged delegates.

Clinton's gambit of slyly leaving herself on the ballot in Michigan and subversively campaigning in Florida even after lying to the other candidates and the DNC should not go unpunished. She tried to pull a fast one, if she'd gotten away with it - more power to her, but she did not. Rewarding her dishonesty and tricky behavior now is unacceptable to the millions of us who played by the rules, wether we like them or not.

The process clearly needs to be fixed, and BEFORE the next election cycle starts. To do nothing after this fiasco would be...

Oh wait, it would be the American Way. For we still have done nothing about the theft of the 2000 election nor the 2004 election.

seenos said...

My guess is that Clinton won't accept any compromise that doesn't allow her to spin the race as a popular vote victory.

She wants to cast herself as another Al Gore whose popular vote win was overturned by an "undemocratic" process (never mind disenfranchising Michigan voters who wanted to vote for Obama, or anyone in a Caucus state without a popular vote count.)

She hopes this will either undermine Obama's legitimacy in the general election and cause him to lose (making her the savior of the party in 2112); or allow her to go to the convention and convince superdelegates that they can't risk nominating Obama and having an "illegitimate" nominee!

What she doesn't seem to understand is that there is already no remaining scenario in which she can be a "legitimate" nominee!

Half the Democrats, and nearly all of the Republicans, despise her. She will likely never win another national election, and she may have trouble winning a State election outside of Appalachia!

PastorGene said...

It must be remembered that the purpose of whatever resolution is not to benefit one candidate or another but to produce a result that is as fair as possible to all concerned, respects and honors both the wishes of the voters and the rules for the nomination process, and takes away any capacity for the Republicans to say that they respected those states' voters more than the Democrats.

A reduction by half of either or both states' delegates nullifies any advantage the Republicans may try to claim, since they also cut the delegates in half for the same states and the same reasons. That's what the Democrats should have done to start with, and then had an honest campaign in the 2 states, and we wouldn't have this mess. (It pains me to say that this was one thing where the Republicans made a better choice than the Democrats. It certainly doesn't happen very often!)

So in addition to making some accommodation for the fact that Obama's name was not on the ballot in Michigan(as the DNC requested all the candidates to remove their names), cutting the delegations in half (or to a half vote by each delegate if seating all the delegates)would still give the voters back their vote, would put the Democrats on equal footing on this issue with the Republicans, and would at the same time honor the rules and preserve some penalty (some "teeth" for enforcement) for violating the rules and help prevent all-out chaos in 2012, with every state trying to hold their primary in January. It would give the voters their say but with a reduced influence, both due to the rule violation and due to the lack of a true campaign in those states.

It still gripes me to no end that Hillary Clinton is not being "called to the carpet" either by the DNC or the media about her hypocrisy consisting in the fact that she agreed to the rule and the penalty before the primaries started and only changed after seeing it would work to her advantage. Is that really what we would want in a President anyway? Isn't that a little too much like the one we have now?

Anonymous said...

I think the DNC has to "put Hillary out to pasture" by whatever means possible, and risk the wrath of "all of those who state they will vote for McCain rather than Obama". McCain looks like a fool to me, and my hunch is that once all the emotion passes, democratics will unite. Sorry women, it is not your time yet, ONLY because Hillary is not the right type of leader you really want. I can't believe people would rather have Bush II, because Obama is black, or a woman didn't get nominated. If we are that stupid a nation, we deserve to dissolve.

Anonymous said...

I find any discussion about this that assumes the vote is valid and should stand as is totally and completely absurd it makes the clintons look so ridiculous.Clearly whatever compromise is reached it SHOULD NOT
affect the selection of the nominee at all.
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