September 22nd, 2007
04:10 PM ET
7 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. CJ Milliken CO

    I'm sorry, in the grand scheme of running a country does it really matter when the state primary is held? Is Februray 5th that much better then Janurary 29th? We need a NATIONAL Primary day, say the second Tueday of May, this would give both parties 6 months to race to the finish. The money the parties and candidate spend would be more even and we wouldn't have state reaching for the almighty dollar.

    September 23, 2007 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  2. Bob, Miami

    SB, Maryland:

    Jeb Bush is not the governor of Florida. The article clearly states it was Gov. Charlie Crist who signed legislation to move the state's primary.

    September 23, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  3. AB, Tallahassee, FL

    First of all, the Florida House and Florida Senate are dominated by the GOP which passed this law. The votes of the Democrats were meaningless.

    Second, Florida primary voters have had little say in the nominating process (regardless of having all their delegates) the past couple of elections because the races have been over by the time Floridians get to vote. The goal of making Florida an early voting state is to get candidates to pay attention to Florida and break the Iowa/NH logjam.

    Third, Howard Dean is WAY out of line by threatening to punish Florida Democrats for the actions of a GOP majority in the legislature (and the Governor). Just what is it about running the DNC that entitles him to do this?

    Fourth, the overreaction by the DNC is simply to preserve the status quo of the Iowa caucuses and NH primary being the first in the nation. This is absurdly traditionalist and with all due respect to Iowa and NH, its time for other states to be given a chance to get the first crack at the candidates.

    September 23, 2007 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  4. Adam, Miami, FL

    Why they can't just compromise on, say, February 2, I have no idea. Guess I won't be voting for any of the candidates (since it won't count) come January.

    September 23, 2007 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  5. Randall Norris, Rock Falls, IL 61071

    It doesn't matter when Florida holds its primary or general election. They'll screw it up no matter when its held. The people in Florida should have to vote on paper ballots so they can get it right.

    September 23, 2007 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  6. Elizabeth Sterling, Moscow, Idaho

    Wooo... Isn't the US supposed to be a DEMOCRACY? You know, government by the people for the people? How can a party that purports to be a part of that process dictate the rules of engagement to the people it's supposed to be serving? And how can the candidates even consider it ethical to punish a state by not campaigning in a place that doesn't play by the party rules? That's just absurd!

    <sarcasm&rt;Oh, I get it! The dems want the republicans to win again. Riiiiiiiiight.</sarcasm&rt;

    *baffled*

    September 23, 2007 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  7. Concerned, Kapolei, HI

    Here we have the DNC getting tough about states wanting to vote early, and then they roll over when faced with the GOP/Bush slick news machine. Let people vote and have their voices heard. Change the rules to have rotating regional elections. And limit the elections to the year of the election, I am so sick of the 2008 election that started in 2006. Are the people running for President in 2012 going to start running on 22 January 2009? This election is a sad commentary about how the press is obsessed with elections. I recommend that the primary elections should be held in March, April, May, and June in the year of the election.

    September 23, 2007 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  8. Keith Turner Marion NC

    This gives them time for all of their "recounts".

    September 23, 2007 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  9. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    The timing of the primaries is unfortunately enshrined within state legislation, and it is not the responsibility of the unelected national committees to override that. Having said that, the current system is a joke and must be remedied before 2012. This will take tactful negotiation on the part of the national committees, not the "first strike" diplomacy of Howard Dean (imagine if he had been successful in his Presidential campaign?), possibly through the national Governors' caucus.
    As far as New Hampshire and Iowa are concerned, the former has not selected a successful Democratic challenger since Jimmy Carter, and Iowa never. What reasons are there why either of these states should claim priority in the selection process?

    September 23, 2007 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  10. Jose Valdez, Jacksonville, Fl.

    The term "democrat" originated as an epithet and referred to 'one who panders to the crude and mindless whims of the masses. The Democrat Party, why would you expect them to follow the rules?

    September 23, 2007 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  11. Terry, El Paso, TX

    For the past few elections, Iowa and New Hampshire have had a disproportionate influence over the choice of the nominee. By the time our primary rolled around here in Texas, the nominee was already known. We essentially had NO say in the nomination process. While Florida's defiant rescheduling of its primary may not help things, it can't hurt anything that I can see. I doubt seriously that the Democratic Party will abandon Florida at the convention. That would cost many votes in a critical state.

    The whole nomination process is flawed. It came out of the "smoke filled rooms" and into the light by adopting state primaries rather than state conventions. Now instead of being crooked and rigged, it is merely insane. It gives us candidates like Bush and Kerry, two lightweights that couldn't run a shoe store, much less a nation. Something needs to change.

    September 23, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  12. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I agree with Dan in TX – everyone needs to research their choices for presidential candidate –

    Hillary – socialist. untrustworthy (remember anti-war/Bush bloggers – she voted for it...from the same intell Bush had....which might lead you to believe that she would "do the same if she were president" – which you would be able to make excuses for her...again and again)

    Obama – honest, sincere – yet still a left winger looking for higher taxes and more goverment programs

    Edwards – trial lawyer who sued insurance companies – then claims "can you believe there are people who can't get affordable insurance?" (wonder why)

    The country needs a moderate – there are NONE on the Democrats side – and only one on the Republicans – Giuliani

    September 23, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  13. anon, new york, NY

    A couple of guys here blamed the Clinton machine for the Florida's decision to move up the dated because, in their views, Hillary will lose in the primaries of Iowa, New Hampshire & South Carolina. What a bull!

    These guys must be republicans which, like George Bush, are in denial!

    The fact is that Hillary is leading in polls of the dem votes in all the 4 DNC mandated primary states (Iowa, NH, SC and Nevada), and the margins are increasing. She also leads in FL by a big margin.

    With or without FL votes, she will win these primaries. The only way she will lose is someone rigging the voting machines.

    September 23, 2007 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Rich Orl, FL

    Another poster correctly stated the FL results would still have influence on subsequent primaries. The lack of leadership from the FL governor, legislators, and national parties should not deter anyone’s vote when the presidential election is so important. They do not have the right to render any votes meaningless. It's unconstitutional, and the results would be upheld if it comes to a challenge. Florida voters of both parties should ignore this charade; vote for their candidate of choice; and let the courts deal with the upholding our rights in the event our delegates are the deciding votes.

    September 23, 2007 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. Ben, San Diego, CA

    I would say Clinton had just as much do with this as any Republican. As it's been mentioned she needs Florida because she's going to lose the other early states.... It's a no brainer. Use your machine and strong arm the system to win no matter what. She's like a George W reincarnated.

    September 23, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. Ben San Diego, CA

    Um... Anon. I am not a Republican and telling everyone Hillary is behind this. Also, I don't know what polls your refering to in Iowa that shows her breaking away. You know she's going to lose it.... Iowans are too smart for her lying and backstabbing. Maybe that passes the smell test in New York but not in most of the rest of the country..... Get a clue. Hillary lies at will, she flip flops, steals from other campaigns, and she divides. She will continue to divide this country and I will be even more cynical about politics than ever before. Republicans aren't Hillary's enemy... All Americans are.

    September 23, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Proud New Yorker

    Florida seems to be a thorn in our side. The nonsense that comes out of that state. We would not be in this mess if they had invested the money in their voting machines. Their scandalous hanging chads caused havoc on this nation. I have no sympathy for them.

    September 23, 2007 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. Christian, Tampa FL

    Gee, thanks FL democrats! Now my vote's pointless and there's really no reason for me to be a Democrat anymore.

    Thanks a lot, really. I mean, you just do so much to encourage young voters like me this way.

    September 23, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Steve Wittlake Blaine Washington

    Go Florida Go.

    September 23, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. Dave Cheverly, MD

    It is clear that the plan is to have Florida being talked about more then any other state on and after their Jan 29 Primary. The Media will constantly talk it up as a controversy because the DNC promises that their votes won't count. Florida will institute a court challenge to insure it is front-page news. That media coverage will boost whoever is the winner of Florida’s DNC Unrecognized primary at that time. The plan is to make that winner be Hillary. Since all Dems agreed not to campaign in Florida, So Hillary would win Florida’s primary since she has the most name recognition because of Bill Clinton.

    This entirely orchestrated political move is to give Hillary some momentum, as she would have just lost Iowa, NH and S.C. Primaries.

    Howard Dena who I do NOT believe is a non-intelligent person. Is either a non-intelligent person or in on this plan. When he plays into the totally Republican run Florida decision to move their Primary by grand standing and taking away their delegates. He plays his part in the scheme. So is he a non-intelligent person or is he in on the plan?

    I would think his utmost priority FOR NOW would be to move the primaries around to make sure all states delegate and votes are included. ANY other actions should be saved for after the General election when true dialog can be had on how to do the 2012 election. That’s what an intelligent DNC leader who is not part of this scheme would do. To Howard Dean.. Driving a car with a nail in the tire eventually will result in a blow out. (U should know this from experience in your 2004 Presidential bid.) As Hillary CANNOT win the General election!! Howard,You are MISCALCULATING AGIN!! You should put pride aside and do what’s right and make all this work fairly!!

    September 23, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Danny, Gainesville, FL

    Although blame may lay with many people, the source of this problem is Charlie Crist. Charlie Crist is the one that advocated for having FL primaries on Jan 29th.

    Anyone happen to notice which party in Florida is hurt infinitely more by having early primaries? Anyone happen to notice the party Charlie Crist is in???

    September 23, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. KD, Dallas, TX

    Oh my, the following statement from a Republican who I bet voted for Bush...the king of no common sense impulsiveness. LOL

    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!

    Posted By Gregor, Sacramento, CA : September 22, 2007 9:41 pm

    September 23, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Oh yeah...it's the Florida "voters" fault...morons...

    September 23, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Mrs. America

    The hanging chad circus temporarily grew Florida's economy. Maybe they're trying to do it all over again.

    September 23, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. SB, Maryland

    Gregor, Sacramento:
    I'm glad you can laugh at this, but the actual truth is that Florida agreed to all of the conditions outlined by the DNC a YEAR ago, and then tried to change the date a MONTH ago. The sad thing about this is... The residents of Florida will not be heard. I can't imagine anyone in Florida being happy with that decision.

    September 23, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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