Clinton's road to nomination gets steeper
With revote plans nixed in Florida and Michigan, pressure is on for an acceptable solution.
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"Without the two candidates or their representatives agreeing to a formula for distribution of the delegates, the party is in a stalemate," Donna Brazile, an uncommitted Democratic strategist and member of the Democratic National Committee, said in an e-mail interview.Skip to next paragraph
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Meanwhile, party leaders in Florida and Michigan are adamant that their delegations be seated according to the popular vote. "I am deeply disappointed," Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement after talks collapsed for a state-run, privately funded primary on June 3. "Now that the Legislature has decided not to act, we will turn our attention to other options."
She and her aides didn't offer specifics. But analysts say they range from a mail-in contest to caucuses or a convention.
Florida, for its part, ruled out a new vote. "We spent the weekend reviewing your messages," Karen Thurman, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, wrote in a letter to Democrats there last Monday, "and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus is clear: Florida doesn't want to vote again. So we won't."
Nonetheless, says Alejandro Miyar, a Florida Democratic Party spokesman, "What we want is for Florida to be seated at the convention and the delegation to have a hand in picking the nominee."
On Friday, a federal appeals court in Atlanta threw out a lawsuit challenging the Democratic Party's decision to deny Florida its 210 delegates but left the door open for the suit to be refiled.
A DNC member from Florida has filed two appeals with the DNC's rules and bylaws committee. One charges that the party erred in stripping Florida of its 25 superdelegates. The other says the DNC breached its own rules by taking away all of Florida's delegates, instead of half.
James Roosevelt Jr., co-chairman of the rules panel, says he wants Florida and Michigan at the convention in August in the interest of party unity. But without new contests, he wouldn't support seating their delegations in a way that changed the outcome of the nomination.
"There was a fair and openly adopted set of rules that the legislatures in Florida and Michigan chose not to follow," says Mr. Roosevelt Jr., CEO of Tufts Health Plan in Massachusetts. "I don't think there is any inclination to honor an illegal process in a way that affects the outcome."
If the dispute isn't resolved by the time the 30-member rules panel disbands around July 1, it would move to a 186-strong convention credentials committee, a more freewheeling body with members from every state appointed by the presidential candidates in proportion to their delegate counts.
With the stakes so high, analysts say, the final decision on the Florida and Michigan delegates is likely to turn less on principle than politics. "Neither campaign has a pure argument" for counting or not counting the states, says Henry Brady, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. "Both sides have sinned."