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. Tiffanie (Southern Bell)

    Enough already! Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. How is it fair.

    April 2, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. DemocracyNow

    My State followed the rules and Florida broke them when the Republican controlled Government moved the Primary.

    You brake the rules thats it end of story.

    No Revote if the Clintons had been ahead of Obama in this battle for the nomination they would not be complaining to our DNC and Howard Dean.

    I am calling the DNC to tell them and Dean to stand their ground.

    Its over and No Redo's

    April 2, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. April in Texas

    WTG Dean.... Stick to the rules and keep the morals of following the rules.

    Obama 08

    April 2, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Mike, Kalamazoo, MI

    It's too bad that the representatives from Michigan and Florida didn't put half of the time and energy into following the rules from the start. Bottom line, though, is that they didn't - they broke the rules and now they must face the consequences.

    The only people "disenfranchising" voters are the representatives from Michigan and Florida!!!

    April 2, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Mike

    This is freaking outragous!! Why can't Dean just follow the rules!!! I promise you the wrath that is about to sweept this nation when those Delegates are seated is going to rock this nation. How can you honestly feel good about changing the rules in the middle of a game to give someone an unfair advantage???? This is a mess!! This is the end of the Democratic party as we know it!

    April 2, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. B J in ATL

    Hillary has defiled the system, making Howard Dean take action.

    April 2, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Tom Swift, Shopton

    Dean... don't Flip-Flop on this one. No wonder the Democrat party is a mess. Wishy-washy.

    Everyone knew the rules. Live by them. Stop this nonsense.

    Gore/Biden '08

    April 2, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Tracy

    Stop the Insanity-

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Those who believe in what Hillary or BArack say but then insist they will vote for McCain if their candidate doesn't win- PLEASE stay home and don't vote. Educate yourself and realize we can't handle another 4-8 years of Republican rule.

    If you are a democrat, vote democrat.

    Anyone but a Republican in '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 2, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Seth

    Lest we forget... Hillary had no problem with following the rules and stripping the MI and FL delegates in the beginning. It wasn't until she has practically no hope of winning that she cares.

    Now she wants to break the rules to help herself. This is another case of how incredibly selfish Hillary is.

    If she really cared about the voters of MI and FL why didn't she oppose the stripping of delegates in the first place? Why did she agree not to campaign there? Because she didn't really care until it effected her. That isn't the kind of president I want

    April 2, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Kim

    NO! The votes can not be counted as they stand today. Many Democrats did not go to the polls because they knew their vote would not be counted. Either don't count them at all, or there must be a re-vote or just split the delegates 50-50. As a Florida Democrat (one who DID vote because of a property tax amendment that I oppose), I would absolutely disagree with any decision that would count the votes at this time.

    April 2, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Cindy,CA

    It's the voters right to vote. The problem with the rules is that it took that right away from the people...That is not a democracy. We can't keep having elections where it is ok to take away our rights.
    When will it end????

    April 2, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Joe - Virginia

    The FL governor and legislature are the perpetrators of this problem. Voters should seek results from those responsible and not political parties who enforced rules that all candidates agreed. The same is true in Michigan. Why is the media not taking it to the face of the state governments? Wimps - beginning with that "best political news team at CNN."

    April 2, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Mack

    To not count the delegates in FL and MI was a bad rule in the first place. The DNC messed this up. That's why someone needs to fix it. People's votes should count. This is America, not some far off unrest country that you might hear about on the news.

    April 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Robert Santa Rosa CA

    I favor the democrats on the issues, but if they cannot prove that they can run a primary election, how can we trust them to run the country?

    April 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Cecil

    Correction to Txdude;

    If the DNC disenfranchise FL & MI…democrats will still wiin in November!

    Obama 08

    April 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Will

    I live in Fl., and the Republicans moved our primary day, Democrats had nothing to do with moving it up, This is to be blamed on the Republicans. I voted and want my vote counted. Howard Dean and the Democrat party where a bunch of idoits stripping the delegates. They should get it fixed or I will be voting straight Republican ticket come Nov.

    April 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Amy

    If I'm a state whose voters must wait until March, April, or even June to vote, I'd move my primary up as well, regardless of any penalties imposed by my "party". It would to be my duty to protect voters and clearly affirm that their votes do count for something. This "Clinton should bow out graciously" talk is like the banter of primaries in the past, primaries whose late showing reflects a one-sided, lopsided, contest. Why vote at all? "One man one vote?" That's what I remember hearing in the eighth grade...

    What's more expensive after all: Having a revote, or disenfranchising voters?

    If you want to make it "fair," have all primaries on the same date. What were thinking in the first place???

    April 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. vic nashville,Tn

    I thought Democratic party belongs to Obama. What Mr Dean is doing now? Obama campaign making the rules in the party .Mr Dean like a rubber stamp When Obama need him he is using him. If Dean want to resolve FL & MI he will favor Obama

    April 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Brad

    The states decided to break the rules, they should have to pay the consequences. Period. Poor decisions on their part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

    They want to re-vote? OK, but they should have to pay for it, and it needs to be far enough away that the candidates have time to campaign there. It is the only way to be sure that it is done fairly. The first election essentially didn't happen, whether you voted or not, it didn't mean anything. Sorry.

    What is it with Florida? Why do they consistently cause election problems? Why are they above the rules?

    April 2, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. rhonda

    NO RE-VOTE!! Rules are rules.. The DNC needs to step up and say that this mess in not Obama's fault–it's not right that so many (Clintons) are blaming him...

    Split the votes 60/40!! And if they don't like it tough!!!!!!!

    April 2, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. joe foreigner

    Consider this, when people genuinely cast a vote and for technical reasons, their voting slips are invalidated, are they allowed a revote? Or do their choices get credited with the invalid vote anyway someway down the line?

    I suspect your answer is as good as mine.... Respect The Rules.....

    April 2, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. yvrose

    Why every one want to put Hillary down

    She is the best whatever you do whatever you says she rise.

    April 2, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. rhonda

    The citizen's of Florida and Michigan voted in thier politicians–not they need to stop whining and get to the root of the problem–those politicians!!!

    April 2, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. California Voter

    Obama and his campaign want to win at any cost – even without the votes of Michigan and Florida. Wake up America and wake up democrats!

    April 2, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Bella from Florida

    I truely believe if our votes are not counted there is going to be an uprise in Florida and I will be participating. It's easy for those that live in other states to say tough that is what you agreed on. They should have done a survey or something to ask people how they felt about this and I am sure people would have been oppossed to it. The real danger in this is that people will not be willing to cast their votes for someone they didn't vote for in the first place. And to those who say that now Hillary is concerned about the party She is absolutely right .It is for the good of the party no matter who you are voting for.It's in Obama's best interest to get these votes counted because I will not vote for him if our votes are not counted in some way or another.

    April 2, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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