Seeing the apparent likeliness of Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama ending up with a stalemate, the Democrats in Michigan and Florida on Friday came up with new plans to settle the scrapped issue of Michigan and Florida delegates over their disputed January primaries. Aiming to ward off any possibility of split in the Democratic Party, Michigan and Florida Democrats brought up a new plan to hold Michigan primary in June, while keeping status quo in Florida.
Several Michigan Democrats proposed the Democratic National Committee to hold primary in the state in early June, while Sen. Bill Nelson, led democrat from Florida, suggested to let the results of Florida’s disputed January primary stand, but awarding each of Florida delegates only half a vote at the August convention i.e. seating half of its delegates at the convention.
The Democratic National Committee had penalized Michigan and Florida for conducting their primaries early in violation of national party rules. Clinton won Michigan and Florida primaries, but the committee didn’t approve the contests. Instead, the committee disqualified Michigan and Florida delegates from the Democratic convention this summer. So, neither candidate campaigned in the states; Obama didn’t even put his name on the ballot in Michigan.
Now, the Clinton, Obama race for democratic delegates is getting extremely tight. According to the current Delegate Count, Obama is some “124” delegates ahead Clinton, while only a few of the primaries are unclosed or left and the issue of Michigan and Florida delegates still standing unresolved.
Considering the intensity of the current situation and Clinton Obama race, several influential fund-raisers for Clinton have been pressurizing national party leaders to resolve the issue of Michigan and Florida delegates. Some have even threatened to stop their donations to the Democratic National Committee unless it allows seating Michigan and Florida delegates or holds new primaries in the two states before the August convention.
Clinton, who won over 50% of Florida delegates, has always been advocating counting the results of disputed January Primaries, but Obama has been consistently rejecting seating of any delegates based on the January votes in Michigan or Florida. According to Obama, it’s unfair because neither candidate was allowed to campaign there. In Michigan, where he didn’t even put his name on the ballot, many of his supporters voted for “uncommitted” that includes 40% of Clinton’s 55% vote.
Clinton has been calling for seating the delegates from both contests, or staging the primaries again, but Obama has been rejecting the idea of seating delegates from the unsanctioned contests, however he has said that would work to find an agreeable solution.
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, a Clinton supporter, has proposed to count half of the Florida delegates that Clinton had won in Jan vote. If this proposal is accepted, Clinton, who trails Obama by 124 delegates, would get 19 more delegates rather than the whole of 38 Florida delegates. Mr. Nelson told that he discussed the plan with Obama and Clinton on the Senate floor on Thursday, but they said that they wanted solve the Florida issue, but didn’t support his “half-a-vote plan”.
Meanwhile, influential fund raisers of Democratic Party and Clinton supporters have come up to resolve the issue. Paul Cejas, a Miami businessman, one of the influential fund-raisers and Clinton supporters, who has funded the Democratic National Committee $63,500 since 2003, has threatened the party demanding back his 2007 contribution of $28,500, which they have agreed to do.
Mr. Cejas, former US ambassador to Belgium, said, “If you’re not going to count my vote, I’m not going to give you my money.”
Florida Real Estate Developer, Christopher Korge, one of Clinton’s ardent supporters, who funded about $140,000 for the national party last year, said, “If we do not resolve this issue, I think it’s safe to say there will be a request for a return of $140,000.”
The two States’ Democrats and the Party big wigs are well aware of, how tense the situation has become. That’s what compels them to do something to find an agreeable solution to prevent the possibility of fractured party going for the presidential election 2008.