Democrats try to resolve primary turmoil

09/05/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Florida Democratic leaders intend to meet on Friday in Tampa to try to reach a compromise that would allow presidential contenders to campaign in the state.

According to the Miami Herald, one of the potential compromises being considered is a party meeting after Feb. 5 to allocate a full slate of convention delegates to the presumptive nominee, regardless of how the state votes on Jan. 29.

Another proposal would have Florida cuts its slate of Democratic delegates in half as punishment for moving the primary up – similar to sanctions that the Republican Party of Florida is facing.

Some Democratic National Committee members have suggested that the state should conduct a caucus, instead of a primary. WMNF asked Jon Ausman, a Florida DNC member, if that would limit the number state Democrats who could vote for their selection for president.

Yesterday, Gov. Charlie Crist put a kibosh on any thought of having the primary date moved back to February, saying he’d vote against any such legislation. And Michigan officially moved its primary to Jan. 15, which puts that state in the same situation as Florida.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller says the national Democrats are making a terrible mistake, especially allowing South Carolina to be one of the first states to vote.

Geller told the Tallahasse Democrat today, “... punish Florida for the sake of South Carolina, which last voted Democratic when Strom Thurmond was a Democrat - that's real rocket science."

''Then let's punish Michigan, another big state the Democrats really need," Geller added.

Candidates are free to campaign in Florida until the Democratic Party's decision takes effect, and their pledge does not exclude fund-raisers. All the Democratic candidates plan to take part in a nationally televised debate in Miami on Sunday sponsored by Univision and the University of Miami.

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