(CNN) – Democratic leaders in Michigan and Florida suggested Sunday they might be moving toward a solution that would allow them to send voting delegates to the party’s presidential nominating convention this summer.
Both states lost that privilege when they scheduled their primaries before February, despite party instructions, and the major candidates did not campaign there in advance of the contests. State and national party leaders and representatives of both remaining presidential candidates have been meeting to try to resolve the dilemma of whether – and how – to ensure representation for the delegate-rich fall swing states.
On Sunday, the idea of a mail-in primary seemed to be gaining some traction, despite concerns over the security and cost of a new vote.
On CNN’s Late Edition, Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Claire McCaskill of Missouri - surrogates for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively - did not rule out the prospect. “We can't change (party) rules in the middle of this process,” McCaskill told anchor Wolf Blitzer, but added that if party leaders “come up with a fair way to redo this, whatever they decide, the Obama campaign will respect” the new process.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Clinton supporter, weighed in against the idea. "I would resist a re-vote for a couple of major reasons," she said on Fox News Sunday. "Number one, the re-vote that's being talked about right now would be a mail-in ballot. And we have never conducted a mail-in ballot in Florida. And in an election that is this important, an experiment like that is - now is not the time to test that."
But Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who released a statement Friday that argued a second primary was impractical, said on ABC’s “This Week” that a mail-in vote was the only logical way to repeat the contest.
“Only a mail kind of a vote will work,” said Levin. “And there’s a lot of logistics which are involved in that which people are looking at right now to see if it is possible. If it is possible, I believe it should be considered.”
State leaders in both Michigan and Florida have expressed a reluctance to fund new Democratic contests. Levin said that he did not believe cost would be an obstacle to a re-vote: “If there’s a practical way to do it which people believe is secure and fair, I believe a couple of million dollars could be raised.”
Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate to appear on the ballot in Levin's home state Democratic primary in January; she won both the Florida and Michigan votes, and her campaign has argued that those results should stand.
On CBS's Face the Nation, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said he did not think cost would be an issue in Florida at all.
"Senator (Bill) Nelson and I have had some discussions which could lead to something fruitful, which is that the Florida party would be able to raise money,” said Dean. “They can take unlimited amount of money in Florida. I don't know if that's possible in Michigan or not, and there's some discussion of that too."
Nelson was the original proponent of the mail-in primary idea.
The state’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist, told ABC's "This Week" he would be willing to assist in ensuring a re-vote could take place in Florida.
Dean said the ultimate resolution of the potential crisis was up to state leaders – with the only stipulation that both Clinton and Barack Obama feel it is fair.
“I have to run these rules so that the losing side feels it’s been treated fairly,” Dean said on “This Week,” adding that he has discussed possible solutions with both Nelson and Levin.
–CNN's Peter Lanier contributed to this report