April 2nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Dean meets with Florida Democrats

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/02/art.dean1.gi.jpg caption="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. Bacio83

    Hillary and Obama only agreed to not campaign in MI and FL that's it. Week before the primaries both Obama and HRC vowed to have FL and MI counted. It was only after Obama lost that he flip-flopped on this. The man is a flip-flopper and a lier the truth will be known and many of ya'll will want your vote back. Mark my words.

    Hillary Clinton 08

    April 2, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. josie

    Obama's slogan is CHANGE, then why can't he support the idea to make it possible to CHANGE the rules for PEACE and to let the voters make their choice of who is the best candidate to be the president of the United States. What you guys are afraid of???? If you think he is really the winner, then prove it..

    April 2, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. NC_Guy

    Obama has been campaigning as a unifier! But, he can't even unify his own party. When you look at the voting numbers, both he and Clinton are virtually tied. A true unifier would have a much higher percentage. In addition, he can't bring an end to the Florida and Michigan debacle. So, if he can unify, now would be the time to step up to the plate and do so. Obama, we are waiting!

    April 2, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Tesa P

    Do not seat either, the voters can only blame their governors for ignoring the rules, and they can voice their opinion with the people responsible. I understand that people will be upset, but actually neither contest was fair if voter were confused or only one candidates name was on the ballot. The states can just chalk it up to trial and error. Fair is fair and the other states followed the rules.

    April 2, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. jdona

    CNN why do you keep saying none of the candidates campaigned in Florida? Barack Obama most certainly did campaign in Florida until the Clinton camp called him on it. Ignoring that is certainly showing your bias for Obama isn't it?

    April 2, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Guillermo

    Voters in Michigan and Florida are not victims. They knew they were voting in primaries that were scheduled in open violation of DNC rules. Stop treating them as victims. Their votes should not count! 48 other states followed the rules. Let them learn to play by the rules in 2012. Meanwhile, stop attacking Obama. He played by the DNC rules.

    April 2, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. David

    Billary is a fraud.She lost and needs to step down and support OBAMA.He won fair and square .Billary knew the rules beforehand and agreed to them.I say to get this all resloved. Split the delegates and seat have at the convention as punishment. The rules were clear.

    April 2, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Alvin NC

    Clinton can have Florida, she still can’t win. That’s what you people don’t understand. Its over!

    April 2, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. George

    Are we going to let Florida be the state that once again embodies the
    term "shady politics"? All the candidates agreed beforehand not to
    count the votes, that agreement should stand. However, if the states are to be considered, it must be a revote, that would be the only FAIR way to allow their votes to count.

    April 2, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Dave Froyalde/Washington

    Since both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama didn't campaign in Florida, I believe the fairest way the delegates should be allocated should be base on the percentage of votes each candidates got. I hope the Obama camp agreed to this arrangement. Otherwise if they oppose this arrangement my question is: Where is the rethoric about inclusiveness?

    April 2, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. enough

    If a party is not capable of anticapting what a rules change might do to their primary, how can they be trusted leading the country!!!

    April 2, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Harold in california

    Sen Obama didn't even campagin in either of those states. He knew what the rules were and he followed the dictates of the party. The fair thing to do is divide the delegates 50-50 and move on. If the process is deemed unfair some voters may stay home and Senator McCain wins. Contrary to what Geraldine Ferraro and others may think, Sen Clinton does not have a devine calling to be the nominee.

    April 2, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    This is the one time that the Republican got it right. The DNC should have stripped FL and MI of half of their delegates and allowed the candidates to campaign in their states. As it stands right now, I think that they should strip both states of half of their delegates and award the remaining delegates based on the previous primary voting. Award Hillary her delegates based on the vote and Obama would receive the balance.

    This would eliminate the need for re-voting in both states, adequately punish both states for moving up their primaries, and not give any candidate an overwhelming advantage from the primary results. Hillary would be upset that she didn't gain more delegates and Barack will be upset because he would not have had a chance to campaign and possibly win the states. Neither on is completely happy but the problem would be solved.

    April 2, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Debra

    "The United States, which has raised concerns about election fraud, called on Zimbabwe's government to make sure "the counting of the votes ... ensures the will of the people is heard," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Monday."

    The Union is eager to establish justice in Zimbabwe. That´s good. Democats: How about Florida and Michigan, there is no difference of principle? Obama has objected that the will of the people in the two states is heard in a fair way!

    April 2, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Micah

    Florida gets sat , the new Michigan plan will hopefully be accepted. Hillary wins big in Penn., Kentucky, Puerto Rico and WV. She narrows her loses, or even pulls a few surprises in the remaining primaries. Hm...looks like Hillary will be the nominee after all. I'm glad the Democratic party is waking up and leaving fantasy land.

    April 2, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Joe McCallum

    Seems to me that whether Florida's or Michigan's delgates are seated or not, whether it is right or wrong, rules were put into place for all of the candidates to follow. They all agreed to the arrangement. At the time Hillary had a large and seemingly unsurmountable lead. Now that she is losing, she wants to change the rules. The Clintons have always made their own rules. Have we all forgotten this fact. I f Obama was losing, this matter would have been over already.

    April 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Joel King

    Michigan and Florida will not be seated. This is because Clinton agreed to not seat them back in October. This is the clear sign of desperation in the Clinton camp that she is pushing for these so hard. With that said if she wins the remaing states at 55% to 45% on average, which she will not, she still would fall short in the delegate count. Her selfishness and greed is going to ruin the party. I was a strong supporter of hers early one and make no mistake about it she was the HEAVY favorite to win the nomination. I was laughing at her comparision to "Rocky" since she started off as the establishment candidate. She should stay in the race until the last primary, but once the people have spoken she needs to step aside. By the way when was the last time someone of merrit endorsed Clinton?

    April 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9