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. M.S. Indiana

    Play by the rules MI and FL...

    Next move will be to re-vote in the states Obama won.... and then the other states to get the Clinton's to "win"

    April 2, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Excuse Me

    They're STILL meeting on this? Give it up. Follow the rules! 48 of the states were able to comply. Give us all a break and stop wasting our time with this and just accept the consequences and move on. You're acting like 2-year olds who don't get what they want.

    April 2, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. julia

    This is not about politicians or breaking rules anymore.

    Revote in this states is the only way for either Obama or Hillary to reach nomination without superdelegates intervention.

    I think it is just as much in Obama's interest to allow people in this state revote as in Hillarie's.
    If their vote wont' count, then comes general election and these states will go republican.

    April 2, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. WH

    I hope they called in there to tell him he's fired. 🙂

    April 2, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Mike

    Since both Obama and Clinton's names were on the ballot, and neither campaigned there, and there was a record high turnout, it would be impossible for a campaign to argue that the result should not be tabulated as-is. Both candidates were on even footing, and almost everyone who would have voted did in fact vote.

    April 2, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Robin

    The people who simply showed up to vote in MI and FL should not be the ones who's vote don't count. I think the Party leaders who scheduled it early should be punished, not the citizens.

    April 2, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Robert in Toronto,ON

    What I find unfair is the amount of sway now that having the Michigan and Florida votes carry when they should have been done long ago. This travesty should be done as long as their delegates are seated FAIRLY.

    April 2, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Lisa

    Too bad so sad...No changing the rules half way through the game.

    April 2, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. IDLHilary

    Mr. Dean,

    Please make this a forgone conclusion that is known to both Candidates especially Hilary Clinton. No Michigan and no Florida. No recount and no seating. Hilary should stop being a political hack and stop saying they are denying your votes and their need your voice to be heard.

    April 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Grif

    Hillary Won... They should be talking with her...

    April 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Celia Ann

    I live in Michigan and I did not vote because my candidate was not on the ballot and I was told the primary would not count because the State broke the rules. Senator Clinton, by my reasoning did not win and I take offense to her continually stating that she won.

    April 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Bond_Dallas

    Rules are rules. I follow them, you follow them,, they must follow them. Especially them,,, they are in public service, they must show utmost adherence to the rules.
    If these rules are changed now, they would favor one side and the other will cry foul. Let the rules be followed as was agreed upon.
    About the delegates, split them in the middle to allow them to be seated in the DNC this august.

    Tell them Dean, tell them.

    April 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. John Karsten

    hope Dean puts these state level people in their place. Rules are rules and I am SICK of the QUEEN trying to steal this election. FL and MI, you allowed YOUR STATE politicans to do this and they are the ones to blame for your vote not counting, not Obama. I wish you people would get real. Educate yourself if you think I am lying. But we all know how the QUEEN works, so she will go down, loudly!

    I support Barrack, and I have stopped watching the BS the queen spews everyday, so I will catch up with you all in the fall when the BS is over and she is out of the race.


    April 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Nando, Florida

    50/50 or nothing or these NUTS!!!!!

    April 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. maynard

    dont these people understand,,,, they broke the rules now they must must must live with the results.

    April 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Lisa

    Why? She already knew they would not count. What is the deal?

    April 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Chris in Columbus

    Hillary only won because she violated the agreement with the party. Why isn't she penalized for this?

    If Michigan and Florida are counted, absolutely nothing will change in the race. If they hadn't wanted to move, they'd be one of the most important primaries of them all.

    Sorry guys, you screwed up, now pay the price.

    April 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Cynthia

    Bottom line, the rules are the rules. But, I'm sure the DNC will have Florida and Michigan included in some form.

    April 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. Lisa

    I am so sick of her crying. I wish she would wipe her nose and drive on like a true trooper.

    April 2, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. NLC frm New York

    The reality is that Senator Clinton should get her delegates from Florida and split the delegates from Michigan with Senator Obama regarding if they voted ahead of schedule or not. This looks like the Obama's campaign wants to take the nomination from Senator Clinton one way or another. Do not let this happen Florida and Michigan. I hope this gets posted.

    April 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Mack

    To all Obama supporters and naive young voters. You can not cheat your way to success like Obama is trying to do by not wanting to count FL and MI votes. Fl and MI voices should be heard.

    April 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. John

    I believe the Public is being mislead with this mess why can't Hillary and Obama discuss this issue maybe during a debate present signed documents regarding who did said and signed off on this?

    April 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. thanks jo

    The Edwards are good people and I admire them.

    I applaus efforts to salvage this travesty.

    But when the opposition set out to destroy Hillary Clinton and got the support and approval of the DNC and the party… they violated the voters and they betrayed our trust in Democracy.

    We will stick with Hillary and then we will go over to McCain- until our party- the party of the people- learns not to swiftboat its best hope for America to pander to highly vocal minority opinions.

    April 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. An Agnostic Democrat

    Maybe Mr. Dean finally can show some leadership skills and settle this mess once and for all. It would be a real shame to see all the hard work he's done over the years to build Democratic support in nontraditional demographics go to waste over such a contentious issue.

    April 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Butch

    Mi & Fl voters must not be deprived of their right to vote, so their delegates must be seated.

    April 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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