May 31st, 2008
02:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Florida Democrats nearly united in presentation

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, argues his point while speaking during the DNC meeting
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, argues his point while speaking during the DNC meeting

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Democrats presented a nearly-united front to the Rules and Bylaws Committee Saturday in favor of Jon Ausman's proposal that would allow half the state's delegates to be seated at the summer convention.

"Today I am here fighting for the right of Florida Democrats to have their voices heard," said state Rep. Arthenia Joyner, in remarks that repeatedly referenced Florida's experience during the 2000 presidential election.

She said that the effort to prevent a repeat of that experience by passing a bill calling for a paper trail for every ballot had ironically resulted in the complete disenfranchisement of the state's Democrats.

The measure that moved Florida's primary date to January 29 was attached to that bill.

The committee asked whether she was calling for the seating of all the state's delegates, or would accept the 50 percent solution offered by Ausman.

"In life you don't get everything you want, but I want it all!" Joyner said as many in the crowd cheered.

Florida U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, an Obama supporter, said the state would need to accept a penalty for failing to abide by rules set forth by the national party.

"Our state acted outside of the rules of this committee. We cannot reverse the fact that this election was held months ago without a compliant delegate selection plan," Wexler said.

He urged the committee to accept Ausman's proposal - although he said the votes of superdelegates should be halved as well - saying that it had the support of both Clinton and Obama supporters and the state's Democratic leadership. Obama, he said, "offers this concession in order to prove reconciliation."

The crowd in the hotel ballroom where the meeting is being held began to grow restless during Wexler's remarks, with Obama supporters cheering and Clinton backers booing and hissing.

There are reports the committee is leaning towards accepting some version of Ausman's proposal, but some RBC members seemed skeptical, asking how seating of any delegates based on the January 29 vote would be fair to Florida Democrats who did not vote in the primary because the believed the committee's original ruling would make the contest meaningless.

Allan Katz - an RBC member who will not be allowed to vote on any Florida decision because he is a state resident - speculated that if the primary had been unsanctioned, as many as 3 million voters might have turned out.

Democratic turnout in Florida was heavy - about 1.75 million votes were cast, according to the Florida Department of State's Division of Elections - but lagged behind record rates in other primary states.


Filed under: DNC • Florida
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Brian

    The Obma camps and Florida Democratic Party can agree but its Hillary that doesn't want to because it does not benefit her enough. What a gret president she will make.... Another Bush only doing things that benefit herself!

    May 31, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Deloes of Florida

    To count only the votes that were cast in the No Count Florida Primary of Jan. 29th would be neither be fair, nor democratic to those of us who chose not to participate believing that it did not count because we were told it would not. I would have been there with my vote for Obama, as many other Florida Residents would have been had they not been told it was a no count event. The only fair thing to do is to cut them in half and split them down the middle. As an active voting member of the Democratic Party in Florida for well over 40 years, I am very sad that my Florida Party has not once done a poll of the people to see where we stand in this matter. I feel disenfranchised by my own party.

    May 31, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Steven

    Be fair to both side. I think it is a gesture of goodwill & party unity is more importance as we more or less know the nominee

    May 31, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Debra4Obama

    Harold Ickes is just that – ICKY! Such indignation for not being allowed to CHEAT! The ruling while not perfect, was fair. We are a nation of rules. This was a nice display of our great democracy in action.

    May 31, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    this only proves that cheaters all ways win !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    shame on you

    May 31, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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