WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Democrats conceded in their opening remarks that a party penalty for holding their primary was unavoidable but pleaded with Democratic leaders to seat half their state's delegates at the summer convention.
"We recognize, in fact, that Florida has violated that timing rule," said Florida Democratic National Committee member Jon Ausman, who had challenged the original penalty, and a punishment of some kind was "appropriate."
But he said Florida's superdelegates did not need to face a similar reduction under party rules.
He appealed to party unity as he urged the Rules and Bylaws Committee to reconsider the penalty.
"When we leave the room, I want all of us wearing our blue jerseys, so we can take on the Republicans in their red jerseys in November," Ausman said.
But the meeting took a more contentious turn as RBC members cast a skeptical eye on some of Ausman's arguments.
RBC member Don Fowler called Ausman's assertion that superdelegates should not be affected under any penalty "totally incorrect."
And David McDonald, who hasn't publicly backed a candidate, questioned an argument by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who followed Ausman, the state's Democrats had been victims of a decision by the Republican-dominated legislature.
Nelson took offense to the "adversarial" manner that McDonald challenged his argument and said he would push back in kind.
"I was not going to rehash this in the name of party unity," Nelson said.