Tampa Democrat preps for fight against DNC

09/27/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Earlier this week, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson threatened to sue the Democratic National Committee unless it reconsiders plans to strip away all of Florida’s delegates to next year’s nominating convention. But one Tampa Democrat has already beaten him to the punch, and he says he’s not backing down in suing the DNC and the Florida Democratic Party.

Tampa Political Consultant Victor DiMaio filed the suit earlier this month. Recently, both the DNC and the Florida Democratic Party responded by filing motions to dismiss. DiMaio says he has a problem with the state party disassociating themselves from his claim.

Earlier this week Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman announced that the party would go ahead with its primary on Jan. 29 despite the threat of sanctions and potential boycott of the state by all of the major candidates.

Why is DiMaio suing the Florida Democratic Party?

DiMaio’s attorney, Michael Steinberg, said the DNC is being sued because it is violating the constitutional rights of Florida voters. But if the DNC did not violate the 14th Amendment, the state Democratic Party had an obligation to comply with the national rules, hence the suit against the state party.

When asked what Steinberg and DiMaio would like the Florida Democratic Party to do, the two said they didn’t have an answer.

Steinberg was challenged by Tampa Tribune reporter William March about the lawsuit, saying that most election experts he has spoken with say he doesn’t have a case. But Steinberg sharply disagreed.

Steinberg has sent a letter to Sen. Bill Nelson after hearing that he is considering filing a lawsuit against the DNC. Steinberg said he believes if that were to happen, the courts would consolidate the two lawsuits.

Nelson has name recognition but DiMaio says he represents the average Florida Democratic voter, and doesn’t plan to move aside.

Steinberg seconded that, saying he was fighting for all Floridians.

Steinberg anticipates the Court will rule by the middle of October.

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