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Sunshine State Democrats
Will Fight DNC Rules

Howard Dean, seen here at an earlier DNC event, urged states to halt the primary scramble. (AP)

Florida lawmakers today angrily assailed the Democratic National Committee and its chairman, Howard Dean, for considering a plan to invalidate the state's presidential primary, which has been moved up to Jan. 29 in a move that has thrown the primary calendar into chaos.

The DNC's rules committee is expected to vote Saturday to sanction Florida for violating party rules against holding a primary before Feb. 5. The action would deny Florida its delegates at the party's national convention next year and prohibit Democratic presidential candidates from campaigning in the state.

The DNC "is poised to assault the basic right of a person to vote at its meeting tomorrow," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told reporters on a conference call Friday morning. He threatened to sue the national party to prevent the sanctions from being imposed.

"I hope that cooler heads are going to prevail tomorrow," Nelson said. "If they don't, and if the full DNC were to then take that position, then certainly we will have to assert what we think are important rights."

Nelson and other Florida Democrats laid the blame squarely at the feet of the party chairman, accusing Dean of trying to "disenfranchise" voters in Florida.

"There is no elected official that is going to allow their voters to become irrelevant," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Dean was not made available to comment. A spokeswoman for the DNC said that if Florida insists on having a statewide primary on Jan. 29, it must also hold another caucus or convention after Feb. 5 to officially choose delegates.

"We've spent months working with the Florida Democratic Party to come up with an alternative process and comply with the national rules they voted for," said Stacie Paxton. "In the end, we hope Florida will do the right thing."

But members of Florida's Democratic congressional delegation said they are opposed to holding a second nominating contest after Jan. 29.

Wasserman Shultz said that Dean's offer to turn the primary into a non-binding beauty contest would "completely disenfranchise almost every eligible voter. We are pushing for the party to inject some sanity into their process."

The clash between the DNC and its party leaders in Florida is the result of chaos in the primary calendar as states have rushed to move their primaries earlier. Efforts by the DNC -- and their counterparts at the Republican National Committee -- to stop the movement has so far been unsuccessful.

But the expected action by the DNC tomorrow would be an unprecedented move against the fourth largest state in the nation, which is also a key swing state in the last two presidential elections.

Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000 and is a member of the DNC's rules committee, said "No one has really thrown the book at them. We will enforce our rules."

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  August 24, 2007; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Primaries  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Romney's Plan:
Let States Decide

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Has anyone stopped to consider or dared to point out that the state legislature of Florida, which voted to violate the agreed upon rules for scheduling Presidential Primaries before February 5, is in the control of the Republican party which stands to gain big time from this debacle. Republicans everywhere, and no moreso than in Florida, have proven in the past decade that they will do anything to deliver the Presidency to the GOP. Stealing one election for Dubya wasn't beneath them; so why should disenfranchising the voters of their own state (or more accurately, Democratic voters of their state) get in the way of delivering another GOP Presidency?

Posted by: diksagev | August 29, 2007 6:08 AM | Report abuse

The polititions in florida are trying to control the nomination of the canadate. They are crying foul when they themselves are the aggressor. If they don't play by the rules they will be the losers.

Posted by: isuzupup99 | August 28, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

The DNC and Florida Democrats must come to their senses and an understanding. This dispute must be resolved soon or the Republicans will walk away with the state in the next election much the same way they did in 2000 (I'll give you 2004). The result will be the same. Also, such internecine sparring will give a forum to those who are opposed to the Democratic party and give rise to vitriolic attacks and moronic ravings and comparisons to tyrannical, despotic rulers who have no equal to anyone (in either party) or any institution (Democratic/Republican) in this great nation. There is a huge difference between having a change of heart and challenging an established rule (as was established and voted on by representatives to the DNC) and merely ruling by fiat or changing something by force as in say...Cuba? Please, enough with the waving of that bloody shirt!
As a fellow democrat I plead: DNC-Florida Democrats, for the sake of this nation and the party, heal this wound before it becomes impossible to heal. Amputation of the peninsula is not a cure to the problem.

Posted by: jtaracido | August 27, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

REPUBLICANS in Florida decided to move the date of the primary. Why is the RNC not complaining? Because they know this laid a trap for the Democrats! And the DNC walked right into it!! WHOSE SIDE IS THE DNC ON ANYWAY?? No wonder the major Democratic voter blocs are flocking to Daily Kos and leaving the DNC in the dust.

REPUBLICANS in California are trying to change the state's electoral vote from winner-take-all to district-by-district because they know the inland districts are mini Red states, thus handing 20 electoral votes to the GOP on a silver platter.

HELLO!!! The Rove bag of tricks for tilting elections is starting to wear thin, but it's still got surprises at the bottom!!

Posted by: toddpw | August 27, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I have two reactions to the state legislature and the state Democratic party in Florida:

1. It would be healthy if the Democrats simply wrote off Florida for 2008 and concentrated on an electoral strategy that made Florida irrelevant. It is ridiculous to read that these Florida Democrats think the world as we know it will come to and end because they can't have their little primary when the Florida Republicans want.

2. How much would we have to pay Spain to take Flordia back?

Posted by: johnbarcroft | August 26, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Democrats! Had enough of Dean yet?

Posted by: THORRI | August 26, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Grover Norquist chuckles as the DNC thrashes around, gasping for breath in his bathtub!

Posted by: H5N1 | August 26, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

As a regrestered voting Florida democrat I
have been disenfranchised by the DNC.
This leaves me 2 choices, bad and none.
While I will continue to support my candidate, I will not support the DNC.
It is time the party members handed Howard
Dean his hat!!!!

Posted by: dyoung9014 | August 26, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

speaking of florida, here are pics of barack in south beach tonite:

Posted by: matthewryan0974 | August 26, 2007 4:08 AM | Report abuse

This is an incredible gaff on the DNC's part. If Florida democrats take the DNC to court, or if the DNC acts upon its threats, Democrats will pay heavily for this despicable, heavy-handed act of arrogance and intransigence in so many ways. To force Florida out of next year's national convention would be a glaring PR disaster.

Posted by: StaggoLee | August 25, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Florida Democrats have to know in their hearts the DNC would never have imposed sanctions on Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, or Illinois Democrats, so why Florida?

Florida Democrats have to know in their hearts that the radical liberal DNC has contempt for Crackers and Cubans Christian black folks generally, as ignorant and benighted Southerners.

Will Florida Democrats now join the other Southern Democrats who voted with their feet and joined the GOP? Florida Democrats have to know in their hearts that Florida Republicans and the RNC would never have told them to go to hell!

Posted by: DaTourist | August 25, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Our whole nominating system is a joke. It is too early. We should have a national primary day in June allowing plenty of time for all candidates to campaign around the country and forget about all this "me first" stuff. We look ridiculous as a nation. Obviously our constitution was written for a much smaller country, the original colonies. Now the election system is broken. You either have to let the parties decide how to nominate their own candidate, however they want to do it, or have a national primary on the same day. Otherwise it is just chaos as we are seeing.

Posted by: goldie2 | August 25, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Will the radical liberal DNC, under the chairmanship of Howard Dean from the Democratic Republic of Vermont, actually impose sanctions on all Florida Democrats just as Barack Obama calls for removing sanctions on Communist Cuba? I am waiting with bated breath to see what happens today!

And if the DNC imposes its PC tyranny on Florida Democrats, do they have an alternative other than to submit to the Vermont chairman and his Politburo? It's America, dear readers, not Cuba! Howie and Donna can strut and talk like Fidel and Raul, but they can't put anyone in prison. Not yet...

Posted by: DaTourist | August 25, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Let's suppose it was the RNC who had a rule that no primaries be held before a certain date and all parties agreed on that date as a matter of course. Then the majority Democratic state legislators (who knew about the rule and agreed to it) decided to ignore the agreement and move the primary up without consideration. How would that be? OK or not?
Let's also consider another interesting event about to unfold in California. A prominent Republican (Party employed) Lawyer, in California, is about to propose that this state split it's 55 electoral college votes with no more than 2 "majority votes" going to the State's winner. This is a proposed RNC power grab of our electoral college votes that will be presented as a State Proposition to the voters 5 MONTHS before the National Election.
Maybe if we got rid of the electoral college all together and let candidates win on a popular vote, much of this would be mute. Of course NO ONE wants to seriously discuss that possibility.
That would mean the American People actually had a BRAIN and the RIGHT to truly elect ALL of their government representatives. Accountability all the way around...GOD FORBID!!!

Posted by: belladonn | August 24, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Like the Radical Republicans who imposed a draconian Reconstruction on the South after the War Between the States, despite the sane and humane opposition of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, the radical and zealous liberals of the DNC will now impose a "politically correct Reconstruction" on Florida!

What's Florida's crime?


Florida refused to allow the DNC to dictate it's primary date, and now Florida must be humiliated and put in its place by the Kommissars of the Democratic National Committee!

Isn't this the way those great liberationists Fidel and Raul put the Iron Heel down in the Socialist Paradise of Cuba?

Don't tell me the DNC hasn't learned anything from their socialist mentors!

Posted by: DaTourist | August 24, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

This entire scenario is becoming so insane, I'd almost rather go back to the days of candidates being selected in smoke filled rooms. We might as well all save ourselves . If early campaigning has to be done in big states, the only people ever going to be able to complete are the self-endowed rich. And I'm not talking just well-to-do, but super-rich, 9 figure rich.

Iowa and New Hampshire are first because they're CHEAP! Get it? So someone with big ideas, not just deep pockets can run!

This is the 21st century, why bother with a campaign at all, let's just put the candidates on American Idol and be done with it!

Posted by: ethanquern | August 24, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Like Iowa, Florida wants to be first... the thinking being that their decision will select the outcome. every state feels it should be the Decider for the rest of the nation. and this thinking is flat wrong! we as a nation need to be thinking of all 50 of us! I feel that the party officials in both parties are correct. FLA needs to cooperate with the rest of the nation, not try to dictate this most important decision. This is from a Coloradian.

Posted by: Froward69 | August 24, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

If the Vermont Diktator and the DNC stomps Florida under the Iron Heel, as they apparently will, it ought to be real interesting.

I don't think Floridians will be as meek as the socialist Vermont sheep! No, indeedy! I do not think so!

It ought to be just as interesting to see which Democratic candidates bow down and submit to DNC discipline.

Posted by: DaTourist | August 24, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Whine, whine, whine. The Democratic party long ago quit being Democratic. It is a party of the elites, by the elites and for the elites. The elites are Kerrey, Kennedy, Dean, Clinton. The elites no longer care for the little guy.

Posted by: dkaspar1 | August 24, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I think the best solution for all political parties is to hold a national primary. That way, no one state or handful of states controls the nomination process.

The current system is unfair. That is why Florida was trying to jockey for an earlier date.

Posted by: officialprizepatrol | August 24, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

This is completeley selfish of Florida, and I'm glad Dean is enforcing the rules.

Florida can throw around accusations that Dean is disenfrachising the Florida voters all they want, but they're either too selfish or dim-witted to acknowledge that Florida is disenfrachising voters in other states. There has to be a boundary somewhere, or the primaries will be held next week. The Democrats agreed that the boundary was Feb. 5th and no primaries would occur before then. Now Florida wants to ignore the rules.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | August 24, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting to me that states are so desperate to be first, when tight nomination fights might make a state more valuable closer to the end of the line. Unfortunately, the publicity hounds want to be first, and no one wants to be left behind.

Its sad, sick, and pretty selfish.

Posted by: JamesPDBuchanan | August 24, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

As someone who lives in Florida, why do the national party operatives give special privilege to small states like Iowa and New Hampshire? Floridians have as much right to have an early primary as any state. With more people in Florida than Iowa and New Hampshire together we have more right to an early primary than most. Maybe the Florida Democrats should break away from the national party and form a new party and become Independent Democrats.

Posted by: info4 | August 24, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The DNC Rules Committee is not making this decision based on what might or might not alienate Florida voters in the general election.

They are doing this to prevent an "every state for themself" melt-down.

Florida just happens to be the most egregious violator of the rules that have held together for decades.

The DNC told states long ago what would happen if they got greedy and started leapfrogging in violation of the rules (which everyone ratified).

If Florida's Federal elected officials worry about their voters being disenfrachised, THEY SHOULD DIRECT THEIR ANGER AT THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE WHO VOTED TO SELFISHLY JUMP THE GUN!

Posted by: jsmith021961 | August 24, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

How can the DNC Leadership seriously not be considering the ramifications on the overall presidential campaign of a decision such as this which will invariably alienate voters in what should be a key battleground state come November 2008? Alienating their base and giving local Republicans invaluable campaign ammunition this early in a state with such a large number of Electoral College votes smacks of short sighted hubris on the DNC's part.

Posted by: PaulBoudreau | August 24, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

So the Dems are going to screw around in FL again and likely lose the state again due to poor organization and in-fighting...

It's deja-vu all over again! The Dems are their own worst enemy.

Posted by: SUMB44 | August 24, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I have heard something about this and have yet to understand what is trying to be done. Someone please explain.

Posted by: lylepink | August 24, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

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