Florida And Michigan Revotes Unlikely By James Joyner

by John Hawkins | March 19, 2008 7:00 am

The hopes of Democratic Party leaders to solve the delegate impasses in Florida and Michigan have been dashed, as technicalities have proven impossible to overcome.

The AP reports that, “Facing strong opposition, Florida Democrats on Monday abandoned plans to hold a do-over presidential primary with a mail-in vote and threw the delegate dispute into the lap of the national party.”

The same situation obtains In Michigan[1]

State lawmakers looking at a Democratic presidential primary redo in Michigan appear to be locked in a standoff heading into a crucial week: Legislative leaders say the U.S. Sen. Barack Obama camp needs to agree to the repeat election before legislation is written, and Obama supporters say they must see the bill before signing off on the plan. Whether Michigan has a do-over primary in June depends on resolving that issue.

State Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, said Sunday that allies of U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are bent on a do-over primary to enable their candidate to try to pull up to Obama in the presidential race. Hunter said he won’t sign off on a repeat election unless he sees detailed legislation answering his concerns. “Clinton folks will do anything to open Michigan back up,” said Hunter, who is co-chairman of the Obama campaign in Michigan. “She is in a hunt for delegates. Why this sudden pull out all the stops to give Hillary Clinton every opportunity to try to catch up? Guess what? It’s not going to happen. This legislator is not going to facilitate it.”

Further, as Marc Ambinder reports,

The proposed primary re-vote legislation in Michigan prevents those who’ve voted in the Republican primary from voting in the re-vote.

Fair enough, right?

But about 32% of the those who vote in the GOP primary, according to the exit polls, were Democrats or independents.

It’s a fair bet that many of them were Obama supporters, as he was not on the original Michigan ballot. This could be a dealbreaker for the Obama campaign in Michigan.

The bottom line is that the states’ decision to flout party rules by holding early elections unalterably changed the dynamics of the race. There’s no way to hold a do-over at this point that wouldn’t disadvantage one of the candidates.

This is complicated by the fact that Obama is now ahead in the overall delegate count and, reasonably enough, doesn’t want to put two contests that Clinton would be favored to win back into the game at the end. Had he lost them fair and square early on–but by relatively small counts–the race might well have proceeded much as it has. But two late Clinton wins could alter the perception of the race going into the convention.

There’s simply no solution to this that would be considered “fair” by both camps. Given that, playing by the rules as previously determined–and not seating the Florida and Michigan delegations while the nomination is up for grabs–is the least bad course of action.

This content was used with the permission of Outside the Beltway[2].

  1. In Michigan: http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080317/POLITICS01/803170373
  2. Outside the Beltway: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/

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