Howard Dean meets with Florida Dems on Primary Date

06/21/07 Mitch E. Perry
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One of the top political analysts in Iowa wrote today that there is a growing possibility that Iowa will be forced to move the date of the caucuses, which traditionally has been the first in the nation to weigh in on the Presidential races.

The current plans call for the caucuses to be held January 14th. The new Nevada caucuses come Saturday, Jan. 19.

New Hampshire's primary comes Tuesday, Jan. 22, followed by South Carolina on January 29.

But with Florida moving up to January 29th, South Carolina and Michigan are now making noises about moving forward.

David Yepsen is a political columnist with the Des Moines Register. He wrote today that the Iowa caucuses could now move into sometime in the first 3 weeks of December.

Meanwhile, members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation held a closed door meeting with DNC Chairman Howard Dean in Washington this afternoon, to discuss what can be done about the situation the state and national party find themselves in.

By moving ahead their Presidential Primary into January, DNC rules say that any state will be sanctioned – to the extent that Democratic candidates who get the most votes in that Primary won’t earn ANY delegates to the national convention- which could be critical in a close race.

James Roosevelt is the co-chairman of the national party committee that will formally review the drafted plan submitted by Florida Democratic Chairwoman Karen Thurman recently. (roll tape#1 o.q. “ has a review”)

Roosevelt said that the DNC did want to make changes to the traditional early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and made those changes last year…He said every state was invited to bid to move their Primary up – but Florida was nowhere to be found (roll tape#2 o.q.”Florida did not apply”)

Screven Watson is a former Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. He said he understands the Democratic National Committee’s Point of view on the issue, but says it’s time to break up the Iowa New Hampshire hegemony (roll tape#3 o.q.”Florida or California”

DNC Chairman Howard Dean has been relatively quiet about what the national party might do – if anything at all, to sanction Florida, and the candidates who compete in the January 29th Primary. Conventional wisdom has been that Washington’s opposition to the early date will eventually evaporate, since the state is arguably ‘purple’, not already in the Republican or Democratic bank. But Dean was caught on camera earlier this month as saying that Florida would pay for its leapfrogging the Primary calendar (roll tape#3 o.q.”for delegates”)

Lately Florida Democrats have been using the D word – Disenfranchisement – in discussing what it would mean if the national Democrats were to make the January 29th Primary election essentially meaningless. Democrats have said that the DNC would be ill-advisded to ‘disenfranchise ‘ Florida Democrats, particularly in light of the 2000 election…Former State Party Chairman Screven Watson agrees (roll tape#4 o.q.”

But the DNC’s James Roosevelt says that argument isn’t necessarily a winner for Florida’s Dems (roll tape #3 o.q.”being reasonable”)

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