September 22nd, 2007
04:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Florida Democrats will still go against party

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Florida Democratic Party will hold its presidential primary on Jan. 29, despite being told by the Democratic National Committee that doing so will result in the state losing its 210 delegates to the 2008 nominating convention in Denver, a Florida Democratic official tells CNN.

State party officials have scheduled a news conference for Sunday to make the announcement, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In addition to losing all of its delegates, the decision also means that most of the Democratic presidential candidates will no longer campaign in Florida. The candidates have agreed not to stump for votes in any state that does not follow the DNC’s nominating calendar.

Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed legislation into law that moved the state’s primary to Jan. 29, even though it violated rules established by the DNC to keep all but four states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina – from holding nominating contests before Feb. 5. The Republican National Committee has similar rules, but the penalty is less severe for states that violate them.

Last month, Florida Democrats asked the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee to recognize Jan. 29 as its primary date, a request that was rejected outright. The DNC panel then gave the Florida Democratic Party a month to submit an alternative date or risk losing all of its delegates.

Prior to the August DNC meeting, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, threatened to sue the DNC if the national party barred Sunshine State delegates from attending the convention.

"If the Democratic National Committee sanctions Florida then some of us (in) the Florida congressional delegation may ask an appropriate legal venue to determine whether or not a political party's rules can supersede someone's right to vote," Nelson told reporters.

Florida Democrats’ decision to hold their primary on Jan. 29 is the latest piece of the puzzle to fall into place in what is still a yet-to-be defined primary calendar less than four months before voters begin casting votes for president. It is still unclear what dates Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina Democrats will hold their nominating contests. Michigan has already moved its primary date for both political parties to Jan. 15, while the South Carolina Republican Party has scheduled its primary for Jan. 19. Both of these states are also in violation of the DNC and RNC rules.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Filed under: Florida • Iowa • New Hampshire • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    It boggles my mind why my state democratic party is pushing for these early primaries....

    September 22, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. Kurt, Twin Cites, Minnesota

    It also boggles my mind. Hello Florida Democrats, anyone home? Your vote will be pointless and you will become irrelevant. Idiots!

    September 22, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Bruce, MSP, MN

    Good for FL. Put the power in the people's hands instead of the committees' hands. It's about time someone stood up to the king-makers.

    September 22, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. Gregor, Sacramento, CA

    It doesn't boggle MY mind. They're Democrats. Democrats have never been good at thinking things through and they ALWAYS act on impulse rather than common sense. It's awesome!

    September 22, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. Ken Harn

    Apparently the two posters ahead of me just don't understand that the FORMER Democratic party had ABANDONED us in the seventies and eighties when they started attacking the US Constitution and turned toward socialism. S***W the DNC, this may be the start of the much-needed new party!

    September 22, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  6. Joe, Yorktown, VA

    I don't understand who this benefits if they hold early primary voting in Florida. It just seems pointless. Who cares if you vote the same day as people in 25 other states?

    September 22, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. Dave Cheverly, MD

    Allow me to UN boggle your mind. The CLINTON machine has pulled favors from Florida Dems to move their Primary up to the same day as South Caroline Jan 29 and before the big Feb 5 second round of primaries. Since Hillary will loose in South Carolina and would have just lost in IOWA and New Hampshire primaries. She will use that primary win to have the media to declare she is still in the race. Since all candidates pledged to not champagne in Florida Hillary would win that states Unrecognized DNC Primary because of her name recognition. By the media promoting it as a win state for her it will have a mental effect on the Feb 5th Voters letting them think a vote for Hillary at that time would not be wasted. Obama MUST find some way to have someone champagne for him in Florida to get a win in that state as well. The trick is to watch out for the Gotchas. (The California brake up of their delegate for the General election is another one.) The Republicans are doing that one to win the General election. Those things need to be STOPPED NOW as they will be Obams and the Dems undoing latter !!

    September 22, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. RC, Baltimore, MD

    This just shows the insanity of the primary system. Each state can, on its own, decide to be first. Thus we keep on dragging out the process. Ever wonder why campaigns cost so much? If you drag the process out so candidates have to campaign for two years to get elected, you make the process costly. Enough is enough, start the primaries in May, have nominations in July/August and then campaign for the general.

    September 22, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. Rich Orl, FL

    This was a “brilliant” decision by our legislature and governor. They knew the primary rules of Feb. 5th and decided to move it up one week to Jan.29th in defiance. Keep in mind; the RNC is planning to cut half of their delegates, too. The Dems apparently ceded their votes when an amendment was added to create a paper trail for all voting machines (Google: Sarasota voting machines).

    Not overlooking the obvious, every one of them knew the guidelines and decided to make their own rules when we are talking about the election of our next president. It is safe to advise each of these legislators, governor, and both national parties that if FL delegates from either party are the deciding votes, it will be challenged.

    Eventually, primaries should be held on one day or rotating regions, but until that passes states should be following the guidelines.

    September 22, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  10. Aubrey Horowitz, Boca Raton, FL

    It is such a shame that after all the nonsense floridians have had to deal with when it comes to politics that now they we are getting Democratic delegates knocked off BECAUSE of the Democrats being too impulsive. Of course the Republicans are encouraging the Dems to make this mistake- it favors them. Why are they being so stubborn??

    September 22, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. Helene, Melbourne, Florida

    Wonderful, so now my vote won't count. Florida, that's not fair. I think many of Florida's democrats won't even bother to go to the polls. Cannot see why all Democrats don't vote on primaries at the same time. Last presidential primaries- all the candidates but Gore had dropped out before we in Florida were able to cast a vote. So much for my vote counting then eiter. Maybe I need to look at the Independent party.

    September 22, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. Amy, FL

    I'm a Dem and for the life of me I can't understand why in the world they are pushing this. And I agree that it will probably benefit the Repubs. Have the primary on Feb. 5th, who cares. My vote better count. If it in effect does not because no delegates, I think there will be another legal challenge on the horizon for Florida voters. And by the way, how old are these DNC rules? Can you say amend if necessary... Somebody give already.

    September 22, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. SB, Maryland

    Why is it always Florida? First the hanging chads, and now this. I think the DNC should forbid Florida from releasing results of the primary until Feb 5. And I think Hillary Clinton should be exposed for violating her written agreement about not campaigning in Fla. (as I understand she has 5 events scheduled there).

    September 22, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  14. SB, Maryland

    Gregor in Sacramento:
    It was the republican leadership in Florida that has created this mess. They are telling their citizens that it's OK with them if their vote doesn't count. It will also help Hillary Clinton, who wants to achieve a "bump" on the same day she loses in South Carolina. She wants to gain some momentum because she will likely be losing ground by January 29. The republicans want her to win because she will be the easiest democratic candidate to beat in the general election. So it's not as simple as it sounds. It's a calculated move on the part of the Florida State government. Funny – Jeb Bush is governor.

    September 22, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Carlos, St. Pete, FL.

    Why don't we move the primary to last month. Ridiculous.

    September 22, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  16. Jim, Alna, ME

    Actually, it is the national Democrats who don't want the state's votes to count. They impose their political calendar through fascist rules and vague threats against states who fail to comply, taking away American's rights to vote simply because they think that they, the DNC, should control when every state in the country votes. What arrogance! What hubris! Both national committees need to abandon this national calendar system and let states vote when they want, not having undemocratic conventions without a real national nominee because some states were barred from participating.

    September 22, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  17., ca.

    very bad idea-whoever decide this one- go ahead and have primary and continue cmapigning.we need florida if we want to win. to naive dem. too naive candidate- dont let the committee decide- its a big delegate in flrorida. whos decision is this- go ahead have a priamry on jan.29 or jan?what date.

    September 23, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  18. Simonne Carter Chicago. Il

    Thank you Dave Cheverly of MD for clearing up that matter of florida's early primary it was very inciteful and really shedd some light on the how and why's of this issue ... perhaps you should consider advising obama.

    Simmone C. Chicago, IL

    September 23, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  19. Gregor, Sacramento, CA

    SB, Maryland : September 22, 2007 11:21 pm :

    LOL! Wrong. I know it's real easy and habitual for Democrats to simply scream "it's the Republican's fault" but that doesn't work here.

    "Last month, Florida Democrats asked the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee to recognize Jan. 29 as its primary date, a request that was rejected outright. The DNC panel then gave the Florida Democratic Party a month to submit an alternative date or risk losing all of its delegates."

    Yes, it was a Republican Governor who signed it into law, but that's only because it's his job to sign the request by the Democrats who voted for it.

    But keep screaming "it's Bush's fault." Eventually people will believe you.

    September 23, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  20. Monica, Orlando FL

    Democrats wanted to count and recount our votes so bad in 2000, but they don't want our votes to count at all in January 2008. I bet when the general election comes around they will want Democrat's votes to count. I say that if they don't want our votes in Januray, forget about them in November too. An automatic win in Florida for the Republicans in November is what the DNC deserves.

    September 23, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. curtis

    I can understand why FL and the other states moved up their primaries initially. It was an attempt to get the candidates into the state and spending money before a bunch/most dropped out and there wouldn't be so much money coming in. But I don't why they are sticking with it after the announced sanctions and the pledges of the candidates not to come to the state. Not to look like they are caving, I guess.

    And for all those bashing the Dems, who are worthy of criticism, don't be so quick to praise the Repubicans either. Re-read the article. They are doing the same thing other states.

    September 23, 2007 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  22. Steve, San Bernadino, CA

    Unless we go to a national primary, having all 50 states vote on the same day (yes, including New Hampshire and Iowa too), the 2012 primaries will start around October 2011. And the date creep will continue to happen until somebody puts some common sense into the process and just stops the silliness.

    September 23, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  23. Lynn, Reno NV

    I don't get this. Don't parties have a right to decide how to choose their own nominee? If not, why have a two party system? Why not have a free for all?

    September 23, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  24. Mike Ryan

    All I gotta say is that the old crappy primary system with Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina holding their primaries first gave us Kerry. The candidate that Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina prefers really has no bearing on whether a democrat can be elected president. Even if the Florida delegates can't be at the convention, you bet the others will notice who Florida goes for.

    September 23, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  25. Steve

    What's wrong with these stupid morons?

    Fight Bush. Fight Republicans. Fight fascism. End this g-– war. Give us affordable health care. Protect SS and Medicare.

    Sometimes the Democrats are so damn stupid I can't stand it.

    September 23, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
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