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. liz

    Seat ALL of the Florida delegates. Award the delegates according to the original vote.

    This way of running a primary is ridiculous. Just have 1 primare date like we have 1 General Election date. End of story.

    April 2, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. skylark

    Hillary put her name on the ballot in Michigan knowing full well that Obama would follow the rules. She cheated. She is owed nothing.
    The same rules apply as for Florida. Let them vote in the main election. Winners never cheat and cheaters never win.

    April 2, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Voice that matters.

    Howar dean please tell them that their delegates will sit on the back seats and they will be splitted by both candidates.

    Save the money for re-election.

    April 2, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Alice

    I am an Obama supporter but I can honestly say that I would be against counting the FL primary even if Obama had won there. You just can't change the rules after the voting took place.

    I am not against seating the delegates with some other kind of sanction, such as only counting half and splitting them 50-50, which doesn't validate the results of an invalid primary.

    April 2, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. PR

    Does it really matter if FL is seated or not, past history has shown the GOP continues to steal the votes.

    April 2, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Mike

    "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."

    Isnt tat what votes do? what a ridicuolous statement. Obama diesnt represent change, he is doing jsut what bush did in Florida in 2000!!

    April 2, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Donna

    A new poll released today has Clinton leading Mcain in all of the key states (which includes Florida). In Florida Mcain trails Clinton but boosts a healthy lead of 9 points (47 to 36) over Obama. People do forgive but it is impossible to forget. It is a great risk to not seat the florida delegates. A lot can happen between now and November that would be arrogant on behalf of the democrats to think the next presidency is "in the bag" no matter which candidate is nominated.

    April 2, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. CG

    Interesting how Clinton didn't give a hoot about the voters in Michigan and Florida when she was way ahead in the polls and nary a vote was cast. Indeed, Clinton's top aides voted to deny Florida and Michigan their delegates.

    Now that Clinton is down in the polls and Obama leads in delegates, Clinton, and the aides who voted to unseat the delegates from Michigan and Florida are screaming disenfranchisement.


    April 2, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. NC_Guy

    Just play by the rules. Florida and Michigan should not be seated because the DNC punished them. So, there vote should not count. If it was an issue, then it should have been raised at the time they were punished, not now. Also, since the rules state Superdelegates can vote for whoever they want, both parties should embrace that rule as well. I'm tired of the selective compliance by BOTH Obama and Clinton.

    April 2, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Mikey, Scottsdale AZ

    Why didn't anyone complain when the candidates agreed not to seat the delegates ? Was there any sniper fire around to maybe stop a debate then .
    Hey, here's a novel idea ...How difficult is it to give 50% to both.. can someone in Florida divide by 2 ????

    Hillary missed her calling. If she were the coach of the Patriots she could have moved the goalposts in the 4th quarter and they would be World Champions today !

    April 2, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Fair and square

    Let the original votes be counted.

    Hillary won them.... SHE SHOULD GET THEM.

    SHE WON THEM – fair and square – SHE SHOULD GET THEM.

    We all are tired of CNN's negative reporting on Hillary.

    April 2, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Mel

    George Bush and Rove have shown to us that perception is reality or so
    they make many to believe. Many no longer seek the truth or even care
    about the truth. If the majority can just believe the lie or what is spun to seem like the truth that is all that matters to some politicians, especially
    the ones to whom it was done a great deal.
    I will vote Dem. regardless of who wins the nomination, but I may have to hold my nose if it is not Sen. Obama.

    April 2, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. True American

    Every tax payer should have the right to vote. Count FL and MI for God's sake!

    April 2, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. bessie

    For those millions of people who haven't voted in both Michigan and Florida because they thought their votes didn't count, their voices need to be heard. Since this turns into such a close race, you cannot disenfranchise us by not allowing us to vote. We're demanding for a RE-VOTE! C'mon Obama, all we need is your "okay", what are you afraid of?

    April 2, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Bayou Joe

    Too little too late. Florida will vote Republican, so it doesn't matter what Deano and his Demo Dinosaurs come up with to seat the delegates.

    PA voters give the Democrats a chance to win in November. Vote for
    Hillary she is the only chance you have to win.

    Obama will take the Democratic party and the Country back to the 60's. The damage is done. The genie is out of the bottle and she won't go back in. He will also take down many Democrats in Congress who are running for re-election. I hope that Dean can live wth that.

    April 2, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Jim

    It's about time!

    Hillary is going to win this thing and no one can change that!

    Go Hillary!!!

    April 2, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. akaDoug

    Too bad Florida couldn't follow the rules! Now they should pay the price! You don't reward someone for running a red light, so don't reward Florida or Michigan because they tried to make up their own rules!

    That being said, if Hillary wins the nomination she will need Florida to win. When Barack wins we won't, he can win Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado, Georgia and other states that Hillary could never dream of winning.

    The better candidate is winning!

    April 2, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Jason

    The delegates should NOT be seated. Follow the rules you fools!!! All this would show that cheaters win. Get it togeather Florida. If they get seated I'll be starting the campaign 2012 primaries next December.

    April 2, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. KevinPenn Sr Alabama [Teamsters Local 402]

    What's wrong clinton news network? W e having Blog problems. Go Obama 08!!

    April 2, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. p.g.

    Please do something about Forida and Michigan delegates. If Obama wins, it will just add to Obama's gargantuan shortcomings in the Electoral College. I would like to see the Democrats win.

    April 2, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Clinton supporter

    Go Hillary! Obama is just afraid that Michigan and Florida will end up counting. He just wants to be the nominee on disenfranchised delegates.

    April 2, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Democracy

    (CNN) – Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal is backing Barack Obama's White House bid, the Illinois senator's campaign said Wednesday. 4 /2/08

    Yes we can!!!!

    April 2, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. J.dos Santos

    If my vote doesn't count, why bother to vote in November, I'm from Orlando Florida, I voted in early vote, in January, and later I learned that my vote dosn't count....very sad..... This Country is not a Democratic country anyway. Democracy means one person, one vote. as simple as that.

    April 2, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. w.l. jones

    When you have a person register as both Democratic and Republican in the state at one time do not look forward to a re -vote. Nobody to hand you twelve roses.

    April 2, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Green in Brooklyn

    To those of you who want to seat all the delegates with no penalties – do you really want to start having primaries and caucuses on Halloween of 2011 With campaigns starting next year? Because that is what you'll get if the Florida and Michigan delegations are not penalized somehow.

    And please – for those of you ticked off enuf to not vote Dem in November, remember there will be Green, Independent and Libertarian alternatives to McCain on most ballots.

    April 2, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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