April 2nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Dean meets with Florida Democrats

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

(CNN) — Florida’s Democratic leadership and national party chairman Howard Dean presented a united front today as they met to resolve their dispute over the seating of that state’s delegation at the presidential nominating convention in Denver.

"It is my commitment, working with the Florida delegation and the campaigns to find a fair solution so that Florida will be seated - and we are confident enough that we have reserved hotel rooms for the delegates from Florida in Denver," said Dean.

"There will be no empty chairs on the convention floor in Denver," added Rep. Alcee Hastings.

The session, held Democratic National Committee headquarters, included Dean, congressional Democrats and state party chair Karen Thurman. Shortly afterwards, the group issued a joint statement. After a joint meeting today among Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman and Florida’s Democratic Congressional Delegation, the participants issued this joint statement.

“....We all agree that whatever the solution, it must have the support of both campaigns. While there may be differences of opinion in how we get there, we are all committed to ensuring that Florida’s delegation is seated in Denver. We’re committed to working with both campaigns to reach a solution as soon as realistically possible," said the statement.

"...We will continue to work towards a solution to ensure delegates are seated and logistics are in place for a Florida delegation in Denver.”

The Clinton campaign praised the meeting. "We have long maintained that pretending the voters of Florida and Michigan don’t exist is not fair in principle and unwise in practice," said spokesman Phil Singer. "Chairman Dean is clearly committed to seating the Florida delegation and we urge Senator Obama to join us in calling on the rules and bylaws committee to make this a reality."

The national party stripped Florida of its delegates last year, along with Michigan, when both states scheduled their primaries in January, in violation of DNC instructions. None of the major candidates campaigned there ahead of those votes.

The major presidential candidates all agreed not to campaign in the state in advance of the January 29 contest. More than 1.75 million voters – a state record – weighed in, and Hillary Clinton won a majority of the vote, but no delegates were awarded.

Florida’s Democrats had been weighing several options for a re-vote, including a possible mail-in primary, ahead of the DNC’s June 10 deadline – but two weeks ago, the state party announced that it would not hold a second primary, regardless of whether the cost was covered by outside contributors.

At the time, Wasserman Schultz, who had been staunchly opposed to a re-vote, told CNN then that “now it’s time for all the people involved in ensuring Florida’s delegation is seated to come together and make sure that happens.”

She also expressed a willingness to consider a proposal that would allow the full delegation to weigh in at the convention, but for each delegate to get just half a vote.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, rejected that proposal, which seemed to gain traction as prospects for a new contest grew more remote.

He told CNN’s Gloria Borger that the Illinois senator would like to “give Florida the opportunity to vote” – but not in a way that would change the overall outcome.

The Clinton campaign – which won in both Florida and Michigan, which faced the same penalty – has pushed for both states’ delegations to be seated, with spokesmen accusing the Obama team of looking to “disenfranchise” voters.

- CNN Associate Producer Rebecca Sinderbrand

(updated following DNC press conference)

Filed under: Florida
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Wendy

    Let the original votes be seated!!!!! Don't blame the voters for the screw up by Dean, the DNC, and the governors.

    April 2, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. In Indiana

    Dems can win without Florida in November.

    April 2, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. sozzi

    Dean, NO RE-VOTE. Hillary has already bad mouthed Obama with Florida voters. It wouldn't make any difference come November, the state is run by the republicans.

    April 2, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Ray, West Indies

    Daschle is afraid if Florida do a revote or the delegates are seated, if this happens he might not be able to get a cabinet position since Hillary will be the nominee and off to the presidency.

    April 2, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. FEDUP

    Florida delegates should be seated, everyone was on the ballot, nobody campaigned, Hillary won, split them amongst the candidates who were on the ballot or give them to her. A 50/50 split would not be fair, since Obama did not win 50% of the votes. At the very least count the popular vote.

    April 2, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Stanley Porteur

    The state of Florida should have waited until its regular
    voting date and not moved it up. The officials of the
    had plenty warning.


    April 2, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Ray, West Indies

    CNN please post my comments, I did several and none was posted, even in the Caribbean, we think that your network is pro Obama.

    April 2, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Dan in CO

    Use the Republican punishment and seat half of the delegates.

    But if Florida (or Michigan) gets their full representation back from the tainted January results, it's fraudulent, and 2012 will be chaos.

    And this Democrat will vote Republican.

    April 2, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. from Boston

    Dean has already done enough damage to Florida and Michigan and in my opinion is demanding that the superdelegates come to a decision by July. Is he rewriting the rules – what happened to going to the convention to decide. Besides, something fishy is going on behind the scenes that the public doesn't know.

    It is Dean and Company and Obama's supporters who have actually damaged the Democratic Party.

    April 2, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. georgette

    I've not heard clear explanation re:why Fla.& Mich .broke the known rule in the first place.However,it is very clear to me that when you break the rules,you live w/the consequences !

    April 2, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. ariel

    Whatever the solution devised by these parties, Obama should support it and take this issue away from Clinton.

    April 2, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. kentucky

    Why is it that every time this story appears, it is implied that Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in Michigan? No other candidates were on the ballot. She {in Clinton fashion} Left her name on the Ballot after agreeing to rules of the DNC. Can you imagine what she would be saying had she like the others, removed her name and the only one that left his name on the ballot there was Obama? So please when reporting this story in the future, tell it like it is. The DNC cannot trust her and neither can we.

    April 2, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Dave W.

    The DNC is opening itself up to alot of trouble if they seat Michigan and Florida, even with 1 delegate. The state goverment broke the rules. They were penalized. Now they threaten to vote for Republicans if their votes are not counted. I have not heard one state politician own up to the fact that it was their mistake. Now they are going to have the deciding voice in this process. What a joke. I guess that if Hillary throws enough tantrums, she gets her way.

    April 2, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Paul

    Clinton does not want these states to revote, don't be fooled. Rasmussen's latest polls from Michigan and Florida show that both states favor Obama much more than the orginal primaries suggest. Seating delegates based on the orginal primaries would be criminal to say the least.

    April 2, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. lets make it happen


    Won't be a fair election if you pander to the Obama demographic and then disenfranchise the Clinton demographic.

    The DNC and democratic party elites have disadvantaged Clinton enough already.

    We want a fair playing field

    April 2, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Madison , PA

    Rules are rules; Democrats voted for rules and need to keep the rules. No exception should occurs. Rules can't be change in the middle of the game... This is just ridiculous... Hillary knew thes delegates should not be counted... What make it the big deal. When Primaries and caucusses will be over , Michigan and Florida should be setted at the convention 50/50. That's fair.

    April 2, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. jw, canadian,ok

    C'mon Dean, this is your last chance to make a 'positive' difference, so far all you have done is snafu'd the Democratic party and election process to date.

    April 2, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. breanna

    obama wouldnt want a do over anyway because one of the cats have been let out of the bag (Wright issue) and he would probably lose even more delegates than the few that he would have won.

    April 2, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Phong Nguyen

    The title of "Clinton lead narrows in Pennsylvania" is more neutral than "Clinton falters in Pennsylvania": an example of meadia bias???

    April 2, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. too late

    DNC and party elites,

    You blew it. Instead of leaving it to the voters, you tried to sway this election.

    You backed and pushed and advantaged Obama.

    You sabotaged and handicapped and swiftboated Clinton.

    Now that you have succesfully damaged her chances of winning the nomination you start trying to be fair.

    Hillary democrats will remember all this hatred and unfairness in Nov.

    April 2, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Katie

    Let's rephrase the last paragraph to reflect reality:

    The Clinton campaign – which faced the same penalty – has pushed for both states' delegations to be seated, with spokesmen accusing the Obama team of abiding by the rules.

    Do you think that Team Hillary would be fighting to seat the delegations if she had lost? Didn't think so. It's never about the voters; it's always about her and her power-lust.

    April 2, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Pete

    Florida law makers should be held responsible for this mess. They did not follow the rules, they should pay the price. By the way, two-faced Clinton should blame those who didn't follow the DNC rules, and not blame Obama. Again, this goes to show that Clinton will do and and say anything to win. She has lost this die hard Democrat's respect.

    Obama '08!

    April 2, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Manuel TX

    Seat the delegates per the original vote...or lose the general election.

    It's that simple. 🙂

    April 2, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Mook

    We are the world's greatest democracy. We like other countries to follow democratic process and monitor them.

    What happened to us here? There should not be even second thought on ignoring voters of Florida and MIchigan.

    Let's go do the right thing.

    April 2, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Hanging Chad


    April 2, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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