March 6th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan could yet be pivotal

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan should consider paying for new primary contests.

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan should consider paying for new primary contests.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Whatever it costs the taxpayers in Michigan and Florida to re-do their primaries – whether it’s $18 million or $25 million or even $30 million – would almost certainly be money well spent for their states. That’s because those states potentially stand to gain a lot more from having another round of what could be critical presidential primaries.

The Democratic Party stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates because they moved up the date of their primaries in violation of party rules. If Michigan and Florida have primaries in June after the last scheduled Puerto Rico Democratic caucuses on June 7, and neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama yet has the needed number of convention delegates, those two states will become the center of the political universe.

Think about how many millions of dollars will be pumped into the Michigan and Florida economies. The two campaigns alone will spend millions in political advertising. Other outside political interest groups will pump in millions more in commercials. The hotels, restaurants and other related industries in the states will be in high demand.

Both of those states will also gain an enormous amount of publicity, not only in the United States but around the world. It would be a bonanza for their respective tourism industries. Just think about the coming economic gain for Pennsylvania which holds its primary on April 22. This is one of the best things to happen to that state in a long time.

Remember - those are key factors why both Iowa and New Hampshire are always so diligent in preventing other states from usurping their first-in-the-nation status for the presidential contests. People there make a lot of money from their caucuses and primary.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says the national party can’t afford to foot the bill for another round of primaries, and that the states should pay for a re-do of the votes. (Normally, states pay for primaries; political parties pay for caucuses.) Politicians in Florida and Michigan say they don’t have the cash. That, however, may be a shortsighted stance.

One can make a very strong case that two more potentially-decisive primaries – with hundreds of delegates at stake - would not only determine the Democratic presidential nominee, but would in effect become a significant economic stimulus package for both of those states. It would be an amazing cap to an already amazing political season.

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. david

    Why to spend millions of dolalr on these states again. the best option is split the delegates 50-50 for both the candidates. these are only the states that are critical and other states have no meaning at atll? some people at CNN are talking nonsensse.

    March 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Barb Canada

    Well seeing as Obama would rather have a new vote than settle for the first one.....Maybe he should fund it!!! At least he might have a better chance with his money than he did with the last batch!! I would like to see Obama make very clear that he won't accept money from anyone less fortunate than do otherwise is hypocritical of both candidates!

    March 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. T in NY

    I don't kmnow why eveyone is worried about Michigan and Florida's votes counting for. The media will be electing the next pres.

    March 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Emily Magrish

    Why should the Party pay to repeat the primaries in Florida and Michigan. Is this what we do when someone breaks the rules? I am a Hillary supporter but making the Party pay to have this vote – isn't fair and takes away money we need to win this election.

    Is anyone else sick of seeing the Republican Gov. of Florida – who is obviously trying to be McCain's running mate – and therefore the need to be on tv daily – telling the Democratic party what to do?

    Howard Dean has done a terrific job of raising money and getting out the vote. The media is promoting this whole mess and I am sick of it.

    March 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Randi

    The only people who are now whining about the rules are obama supporters who are afraid that she could catch up if the primaries are redone. This is not fair to Hillary or the democratic party if a fair vote isn't done. If she jumps ahead, then they won't be able to talk about the MATH anymore, will they?

    March 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Alex

    Come on, Wolf! It doesn't make sense to bring this all down to dollars and cents. There should be no caucus, no primary, no nothing. We cannot change the rules in the middle of the game! These states knew what they were doing when they thought they were calling the DNC's bluff, and now they have to pay the price. The primaries are private elections governed by the parties, and so there is no infringement on any public's right to vote. If a state's votes don't count in November, that's another story. That's a public, general election. These primaries aren't. Sorry Wolf, but you're wrong here.

    March 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. L. Tran, TX

    Michigan and Florida wanted to be the deciding states in the primary process ? Being last rather than being first ? This is funny in a way (for me – not for the party members – sorry 🙂

    How about a lottery system (who's on first...) every four year.

    March 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. If not Obama, then McCain/Rice '08

    Another underhanded trick by the Clinton campaign. Please, just let Obama take it and heal the Democratic Party. The likes of Rush and Anne C. are eating this up. The best way to allow the republicans to keep the white house is to continue to divide the democrats with racism, sexism, and the like. Democrats, WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS. If not, them McCain will get my vote.

    March 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Eric Gannon

    Even entertaining the notion that seating the Michigan delegates per the Jan. primary is absolutely insulting to all Americans' intelligence and love for democratic processes. The governor of Michigan is completely using her postition of power to rig the system for Hillary (it shows, she is trying to look like her anyway).

    Whatever happens in Fla. should be decided by the state of florida, and if they cant pay for another primary, then they should have thought about that back in sept, but the DNC should absolutely not pay for a redo.

    It is clear that the governors of Michigan and Fla. have mutual interests in prolonging or favoring Hillary in this election by either promoting the "Michigan Politburo Primary" or a Republican Governor openly calling for his rival party, the DNC, to fork out another $20 million, that (how conveniently) wont be able to be used in Congressional election campaigns this fall....

    This farce needs to be put to an end, Hillary QUIT!!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Chris

    Nobody seems to be mentioning that Florida is a Closed primary state. Only Republications and Demecrates are allowed to participate in the primary anyway. This does not seem fair or demacratic in any way. Why should we pay for elections we as independants are not allowed to participate in? I am hoping that in November there is a box to check for "NONE OF THE ABOVE", then we don't have to vote for any of these clowns.

    March 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Kevin

    Obama supporters how young and naive you are !

    Can't win the election without florida or ohio. Simple fact !!!!

    Obama won't win Fl, Hillary proved that he won't win Ohio.

    Besides once the Resko trial drops the O bomb he's finished

    Bye Bye Barack. Hope all you young people that sent him money which you couldn't afford to send get a refund!!

    March 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Susie Brewer

    Here we go again. Rules are not made to be followed? If we exclude Florida and Michican, we are not letting them count because the rules were broken? Oh.......I get it.....rules were meant to be broken!

    How about the other 48 states....our states followed the rules. If the people of Florida and Michigan want their votes counted, then their state should pay for a "legal" primary, not the DNC. Florida governor, don't penalize the rest of the states. We shouldn't pay because you broke the rules.

    Arlington, Texas

    March 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Warren

    I am not a political analyst by any measure, but if Florida is looking for a "do over" on the Democratic side why not have Obama and Clinton split the cost to do it again? They have both raised over 50 million in the past month what would a 10 million dollar hit do to their budget if they really have the peoples interest in mind? Just asking

    March 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Hadrian

    I feel that since both Mich. and Florida broke the rule in moving there Primary up instead of taking there deligates just split them in half between both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Oboma that way someone will reach the magic number by the time they get to the convention floor.

    March 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Annette Brannan


    You are just one more in a group of (Republicn) media determined to be Obama lovers....are you currently swooning over him? Probably....

    Perhaps you should advocate seating the delegtes from Florida and Michigan which is the democratice thing to do. But I forgot, they voted for Hillalry.....that is not what CNN wants.

    Maybe he can go negative and his wife will once more in her adult life, be proud!!! Or maybe Tony Rezko can give her another expensive piece of real estate!!!! Oh not...he is going to jail. Too bad Obamas to lose your sugar daddy!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. paul k

    florida & mich. knew the rules , to allow them to change the rules
    will not only insure a rep. win ; and it will surrely send a message
    to the avg. dem. that they dont really count. which in opinon will
    destory the democratic party. paul

    March 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Houston Texas

    DNC Chairman Howard Dean is a moron!

    March 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. A solution

    I have the perfect solution for all:

    Take the total delegates for both Michigan and Florida, combine them and give each candidate a total of one half; then seat them respectively for each candidate at the convention. This solutiuon costs the DNC nothing, the states/voters nothing and neither candidate is advantaged or disadvantaged. Finally, the residents of both states are treated equitably and none are disenfranchised (and the rest of the country is spared the vitriol of another battle front).

    The candidates have been splitting the votes/delegates in about half anyway. Why spend $18-25 million dollars to reach the same conclusion (that costs nothing).

    March 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Brett

    VOTE FOR WOMEN: You are irrational and precisely why our nation is in danger of its very exisitence! That you would vote for A BUSH CLONE that would amount to essentially FOUR MORE YEARS OF BUSH IS INSANE!!!! AND THAT WOULD PUT THE BLOOD OF MORE OF OUR SOLDIERS (MEN & WOMEN) ON THE HANDS OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND HILLARY!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Leericists

    I really don't believe we should be changing the rules in the middle of the race and Clinton didn't care about Florida and Michigan when she had the lead. The decision was made as a statement for those two states for moving they primaries and it should stay like that ! Now if the party really wants so seet those sates delegates, they should split them 50/50 as do the math suggested. Clinton should stop acting like she's being cheated ! Obama won big when he had to and she is not not. How can u expect to recover from being down 100 + delagates when you can't manage to win by more than 10 % in favorable grounds.

    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. starcm10

    I thought that the people from MT and FL voted for the early primary to boost the importance of their states in the primary election. If that's true, then they shouldn't be able to change the 'rules of the game'. I'm sure in hindsight, they didn't get the results they wanted, but if it was the "will of the people", then they've already had their say.

    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Joe

    Wolfe, how come you did not ask Florida Governor how come he wasn't considering Democratic voters democracy when he signed off on moving up the primary? At that time he knew that the democratic votes would not count. At the time he did not care because the republican votes would count. Is he concerned now because he thinks the results would help Hillary? Do the republicans want Hillary to win so she can go against McCain? I think so because the republicans think they can beat Hillary and Hillary would unite the republican party!


    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Brett (Dallas)

    It would be disgraceful for an economic boost to individual states to have anything to do with changing the rules which were agreed to in advance and affecting the selection process.

    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Todd

    Obama has my support 100%

    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. JOHNboy

    The Obama supporters present themselves as well-informed college educated individuals.

    However, one would never know that from the posts. Most comments are inarticulate and many are downright illiterate. You argue from emotion (name calling, insults and denigrating the opinions of others) rather than from reason (a well constructed factual argument). You spew hate instead of displaying vision.

    Ironically, this runs counter to the very positions of the candidate you claim to support. Putting the college education aside for a moment and relying strictly on intelligence and common sense- do you all really believe that this helps Obama in the end, by winning over voters?

    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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