Half Votes For Florida?
by Todd Beeton, Tue May 27, 2008 at 07:08:34 PM EDT
In a possible preview of things to come on Saturday, The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that Florida DNC member Jon Ausman has revealed that the DNC is leaning toward giving Florida's delegates half votes at the convention (h/t TPM):
"I think we're moving toward half votes for everybody," DNC member Jon Ausman said of his appeal to be heard Saturday by the DNC's rules and bylaws committee. That would mean superdelegates would have the same vote as pledged delegates.
In other words, Florida Democrats would have the same say in the presidential nominee as Democrats in Guam, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands.
Ausman, you may recall, is the author of one of the appeals being heard on Saturday. This is how Ben Smith described it in April:
Ausman's two-pronged appeal asked to reinstate all of Florida's 23 superdelegates, and to give Florida at least half of its pledged delegates back -- his reading of the rules dictates that stripping the superdelegates and reducing the number of pledged delegates by more than fifty percent is prohibited.
Many people have felt that this should have been the sanction levied against MI & FL from the beginning and Terry McCauliffe admitted on Hardball recently that if the DNC had merely stripped MI & FL of half of their delegates from the beginning, "we wouldn't be sitting here talking about Michigan and Florida today." But to the extent that it differs from the Clinton campaign's stated goal of a full seating of both delegations, one does wonder, assuming this is the best remedy Clinton can hope for out of the RBC meeting on Saturday, which I think it is, what her reaction to it will be. The upside for Hillary is that it would serve as an official ratification of January's primaries by the DNC, which by definition puts those popular votes in play. The downside is that it's, well, far short of what she's asked for, which from a practical standpoint means the delegate threshold Barack would need to cross to win the nomination is lower than the 2209 the Clinton campaign regularly touts, and hence more readily reachable.
Update [2008-5-28 3:47:58 by Todd Beeton]:Tommy Flanagan brings us news from The AP that we should not expect full restoration of the Michigan and Florida delegations out of Saturday's meeting. Ya don't say.
A Democratic Party rules committee has the authority to restore delegates from Michigan and Florida but not fully seat the two states at the convention as Hillary Rodham Clinton wants, according to a party analysis.
Party rules require that the two states lose at least half of their convention delegates for holding elections too early, Democratic National Committee lawyers wrote in a 38-page memo.
The memo was sent late Tuesday to the 30 members of the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee, which plans to meet Saturday to consider the fate of convention delegates from the two states. The party is considering plans to restore at least some of the delegates to make sure the two important general election battlegrounds will be included at the nominating convention in August.