March 7th, 2008
08:28 PM ET
6 years ago

Levin: No practical or fair way to hold a Michigan re-vote

(CNN) - Michigan Sen. Carl Levin - one of the most powerful Democratic politicians in Michigan - has weighed in against a re-vote that would allow the state’s delegation to be seated at the party’s national convention this summer.

“Senator Levin doesn’t see at this time a practical and fair way to hold a ‘do-over’ election in Michigan given the immense financial and logistical hurdles, and in any event believes that a change in course would require acceptance by both candidates,” read a statement posted on his Senate Web site Friday.

Negotiations over a new vote - involving representatives from the state and national parties and the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - hit a snag Thursday when the Michigan Democratic party chairman Mark Brewer said that it could cost as much as $10 million.

Levin’s statement said that unless an agreement was reached before August, the decision would fall to the Credentials Committee that certifies delegates – with their ruling subject to appeal to the full convention.

Michigan and Florida lost their voting power as a result of Democratic National Committee penalties for their decision to hold their primaries in January, despite party instructions.

The major candidates all signed an agreement that they would not campaign in either state before those votes, and most withdrew their names from Michigan’s ballot, with the exception of Hillary Clinton, who won both contests.

Levin has not backed any presidential candidate this cycle.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Michigan
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Keith Powell

    For the life of me I can not see what the big issue with this is. Rocket science this isn't. The DNC stated the rules for the primaries before the primaries and well as the penalties for violating the rules. Everyone knew what to expect. Florida and Michigan broke the rules and now are subjected to the penalties. Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Now Sen Clinton and her supporters want the votes to count and the delegates seated at the convention, obviously because that eliminates Sen Obama's significant delegate lead. Sen Clinton and her supporters say not counting the votes and delegates will disenfranchise the voters of those states and in the interest of democracy the voters’ voices should be heard. My question is, would democracy been served if the primaries had been held in accordance with the DNC rules?? If the voters of those states become disenfranchised, they should be disenfranchised with their state lawmakers who willingly chose to schedule their primaries prior to the specified date knowing what the penalty would be. This situation should really make democratic voters question the integrity and morals of a candidate who would even suggest disregarding the established party rules especially when they are behind in delegates. It seems that some believe if you ain't cheatin you ain't tryin and that they will do or say anything to win the democratic nomination. I suggest Sen Clinton have a talk with Gov Huckabee so he can tell her that is much more honorable to lose an election (or nomination) than to lose your morals and integrity trying to win. Shame on you Sen Clinton!??!

    March 7, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. Len

    They shouldn't be seated.

    March 7, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. William

    Once again, the C.linton N.ews N.etwork has proven to be the very shame that it is. There is nothing "objective" about its coverage of this presidential campaign. Even when it "pretends" to be showing Obama in a fair portrayal, it always finds a duplicitious way to blount the impact of any effect that the story could possibly effect upon its viewers. It's a total disgrace how partial one network can be "while" pretending to be a fair outlet of political news coverage.

    March 7, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Dan

    Obama won't win especially in Florida where they all had their names on the ballot. Imagine telling the people of Florida that the last time they voted, they didn't know what they were doing because they didn't see Obama. This will make even more people vote for Hillary and now that we know his true position on NAFTA Michigan will double their votes for Clinton It's over for sen Obama, From the purchase of his home with Rezko and all this double talk on important issues has awakened the american people.

    March 7, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. gene

    How can anybody in their right mind think that if we deprive the Michigan and Florida voters the right to make a selection on the Democratic nominee that we could win the general election. They are either nit wits or closet Republicans and that goes for Senator Levin too.

    March 7, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. DELMARVA

    Hey Yes...

    Once a candidates name goes on the ballot in the state of Florida, it cannot be removed. Didn't you notice the other candidates who dropped out prior to Florida still were on the ballot?

    And nobody abandoned the voters in Michigan or Florida. No one could campaign there.

    March 7, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. JIMMY

    MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA AS STATES OF THE UNION AND ITS CITIZENS HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION NOT WITHSTANDING THE DNC'S REUSAL TO SEAT THEIR DELEGATES. THE DNC HAS NOT THE POWER
    OF CONGRESS OR THE PRESIDENCY TO DISENFRANCHISE
    ANY STATE'S VOTERS FOR, EVEN THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS DO NOT HAVE THAT POWER. HOW ABOUT IF THE SUPREME COURT WERE TO WIEGH IN ON THE PROBLEM?

    March 7, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. Blu

    Obama did an interview with William March and Elaine Silvestrini of The Tampa Tribune on Sept. 30th '07 where he vowed to do everything in his power to seat the FL delegates despite national party sanctions. He changed his position after he lost the Florida primary. If these states have re-does I can’t imagine many votes cast for the candidate that wanted their voices silenced.

    March 7, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Mike Allen

    So Hillary wants to steal votes that her own party agreed would not count and uses the term 'Disinfranchise' that the Dems invented to cry about the Republicans in the past. How the worm doth turn. This is not a surprise when you sum up Hillary's campaign to date. Lets see...Hillary faults Obama for saying that he can get out of Iraq in sixteen months whilst forgetting that she claimed she could get out in six. Hillary acused Obama of being two faced about NAFTA just before the Ohio vote only to find out after the vote that she was the NAFTA two faced candidate. Hillary cries on TV just hours after being accused o f being haed hearted. Hillary cries about the press picking on her just before the debate so that they would be afraid to be tough on her. Hillary staff releases photo's of Obama in Arab clothes. Hillary staff releases photo of Obama with skin darkened by retouching. cries. How much Hillary can we stand?

    March 7, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. Andrew

    I am excited about politics for the first time in my life. Here is how I see it. Michigan and Florida politicians messed up. What bothers me is that the people have to suffer because of them. I am not afraid of a fight. I believe in my candidate and I believe in the people of Michigan and Florida to vote with their hearts on which candidate can motivate congress and the legislature to work together in a common cause and fix our problems. They say, "it is to costly to hold new elections in Florida and Michigan". I am from California and I will happily offer my first $25.00 donation for a re-do. If we multiply that by every Obama doanator and Hillary donator and we have just paid for the re-do with more to spare. All we need is a Florida, Michigan bank account to send it to. I believe that we Americans can share the load. Obama will still win, I believe. I am asking the govenors of both these states to set it up.

    March 7, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Eric

    Hear this " sniviling, whining, anti-hope Hillaryites" if you cheaters try and seat those MI and FL delegates "as is" you're actions will rip the party apart. Fair minded Americans will never stand for this scam and to even suggest such a thing is all the proof one needs to know your candidate is a monster who will stop at nothing in her lust for power. Do you really expect the other half of the Democratic party to sit back and watch you "steal" this election?? We watched this sort of thing with Bush in 2000 and we will NOT let it happen again.

    March 7, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. JIMMY

    THE DNC CANNOT REFUSE THE SEATING OF THE DELEGATIONS FROM MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA.. A RE-DO OF THE PRIMARIES IN THOSE STATES IS TOO EXPENSIVE AND MAYBE TOO LATE.
    SOME SOLUTION WOULD HAVE TO BE MADE BY THE CONVENTION DELEGATES...CERTAINLY NOT BY HOWARD DEAN
    OR THE DNC.

    March 7, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Polcomm

    This is a no-win situation and I blame the DNC to a great extent. We could go back to the beginning. Why is Iowa first? Why is New Hampshire the first primary? Why are these states given such a position to begin with? The entire primary set up is wrong. When the DNC tried to make it fairer by having a black primary (South Carolina) and a Latino primary (Nevada), it seemed fair at the time but in the end it back fired as well. The entire system is in default. Just like the splitting of delegates. No one wants to mention this, but if the Democrats had a "winner take all," Hillary would be the nominee and we would not be having this discussion. So, maybe that is the solution. But the Democrats in Florida and Michigan will "remember in November," and if they are not seated as they voted, then McCain will be President and all of this argument will be pointless.

    March 7, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  14. Andrew

    I will offer $25.00 for a re-vote. Who else is with me?

    March 7, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  15. Beltway Bandit

    Why dont they just split the votes 50/50 in both states and then the delegates can be seated.. This is crazy..

    March 7, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Instead of calling her a Monster, the advisor should have said Hillary is a Distorter, Smearer, or Pathetic Selfish Egomaniac who HAS been "acting" monstrous in her desperate attempt to win the democratic nomination. That would have been much more accurate than Monster. And by the way, I am a lifelong Democrat who voted for Bill twice. Obama is the real deal people.

    March 7, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. ed brace

    This campaign appear to be about power and money, in favor of the few good old boy and girls. It also appears that the people in general will have no choice but to accept whatever happens. it,s sad to think that if this kind of politics continue, we will eventually have caos among the people as seen in some other countries.

    Are we still the leaders of the free world???????????????????.

    March 7, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Tre

    Obama, you are raising so much more money than clinton, why dont you pay half, and she can pay half, this way, you've made the first step.

    Clinton can't match you anyway...

    It's almost a kiss of death. If she doesn't respond, the I guess the voters of both states know where they stand.

    March 7, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. xavier

    To Be Fair:

    I agree 100%

    I’ve been thinking about the Florida and Michigan delegate situation and how it impacts the democratic nomination. Admittedly, in spite of my age, I am new to politics and don’t really understand a lot of the details. But this much I do understand. The nominee needs to win ½ of the total delegates in order to clinch the nomination. I also understand that Florida and Michigan broke the rules and were penalized for that.

    I know there is some concern about disenfranchised voters, and there is discussion about having some “do-overs”, but money is an issue. From my perspective, those votes shouldn’t count. It doesn’t make any sense to punish somebody and then take the punishment away because of an unexpected need. Doing so would defeat the purpose of the punishment and I think it would make the judgment and credibility of the DNC questionable.

    But here is a thought. Since Florida and Michigan currently don’t have any delegates, doesn’t that make the total number at the convention less than 4047? And if the total number at the convention is less than 4047, shouldn’t the halfway point be less than 2024? If it is as simple as that, why can’t the DNC simply remove Florida and Michigan from the totals and keep the mathematics the same? I’m not sure how many delegates both states should have had, but that number should be subtracted from the total, and the new total should be divided by 2 and that should be the new number to clinch by.

    March 7, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. William

    I would go further than Levin. He said a change in course would require approval by both candidates.

    To be more fair, a change of course would not only require approval of "both" candidates, but also of all democratic candidates – even the ones who dropped out of the race.

    On top of that, this is our election – the people of the United States. Shouldn't we have a say in this matter too?

    Where do these other people get off thinking they can just go change the rules however suits them whenever it is convenient?

    We are getting really sick of our elections being manipulated every time. If it isn't the Supreme Court picking a president, it's party bosses and "super" delegates.

    Get your hands out of our elections. We want fair elections and we want them now.

    March 7, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Audrey AMW

    It is so reprehensible that the Democrats are made to look unfair in this situation that has been created by Florida's Republican governor and apparently an seems to uninformed Michigan governor.Sen. Clinton seems determined to win at whatever costs she has to pay. I wonder if the "shoe were on the other foot" if she would be so anxious to have these two states renege on their actions. I think this is deplorable for the voters ,but it is also deplorable for the other candidates.Redo the process in both states and allow both candidates to actively participate.

    March 7, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. Sherylanne

    Another policy that fail the citizens. In Florida, Obama had aired TV ads. There is always a winner and a looser. To eliminate the voices in that state is undemocratic in the utmost form regardless of which Party does it!

    The DNC is the one at fault so don't punish the citizens.

    In MI, they should split the delegates.

    March 7, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. Charlotte

    where did my comment go?

    March 7, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Charles

    As I understand it the switch to an ealier date in both Michigan and Florida was the responsibilty of the state legislatures with the governor signing on as an okay. I wonder what the political affiliation was of those who voted both for and against the switch. Plus the governors? It wasn't the public who selected the new date.

    March 7, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Marina

    This race is making me sick....because the Democrats will loose all chances of the White House. To the Democratic Party, you'd better get the Clinton machine in check....this isn't a popularity contest and there is serious business to attend to that can't be solved with the likes of Hillary Clinton...Are you going to allow them to continue to act in this manner and loose the White House? It should have been manditory for all candidates to reveal their personal finances before the primaries and you can't just leave out two huge states from voting...thats unconstitutional!!! I know Obama can do this, but with the Clinton machine mucking everything up, they may need a new candidate like Al Gore. Pull it together Democratic Party...........Only Obama can beat John McCain.........what is there to think about?

    March 7, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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