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Michigan Pol Proposes Solution to State's Delegate Stalemate

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) asks a question during a 2007 subcommittee's hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP.)

By Jonathan Weisman
Eight-term Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) proposed today a new system to parcel out Michigan's 156 Democratic convention delegates, granting most of them according to the results of the state's nullified Jan. 15 primary, with the remainder awarded according the nationwide popular vote.

In an open letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Stupak reiterated that he is remaining neutral in the contest between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, but he said it is imperative for the party to resolve the standoff over Michigan and Florida, which were stripped of their convention delegates after both moved their primary dates forward against party rules.

"I recognize that the DNC feels that both Michigan and Florida knowingly violated party rules in moving up their primary dates, but it seems unfair to punish so many for the actions of a select few," he wrote. "Both Michigan and Florida are critical to electing a Democratic president in the fall. We must make sure our voices are heard."

In Michigan, all Democratic candidates but Clinton removed their names from the Jan. 15 ballot. Under Stupak's formulation, that day's voting would grant Clinton 47 pledged delegates. The voters who selected "uncommitted" that day would give Obama 36 pledged delegates. The remaining 73 superdelegates would be awarded based on the nationwide popular vote after the last Democratic primary in June.

Obama's campaign has been pushing for an even split of all the delegates, who could then be seated at the convention but would not impact the candidates' vote advantages. Clinton has pushed for a re-vote. Stupak's proposal falls somewhere in between. Clinton would likely end up with more Michigan delegates than Obama, but she would be denied the momentum boost that she could get with a re-vote in May or June. That psychological component could be crucial to Clinton if she is to convince enough superdelegates to grant her the nomination, even if she still lags in the pledged delegate total.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 31, 2008; 2:33 PM ET
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