Report: Lawsuit against DNC still alive

02/27/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

A lawsuit filed by a Tampa Democrat against the Democratic National Committee over Florida’s loss of all of its delegates to the convention has been given a second life.

In August, political consultant Vic DiMaio filed suit against the DNC, claiming that stripping Florida of its Congressional Delegates because of the early primary voting date was unconstitutional. But in October, federal Judge Richard Lazzarra threw out the case.

But DiMaio and his attorney, Michael Steinberg appealed that ruling, and Steinberg said today that he has been informed that the 11th Circuit of the U.S. will hear his appeal next month.

DiMaio said he was estactic.

Both men said they are no “Johnny come latelies” when it comes to the question of what to do with Florida, as well as Michigan’s delegates.

Their suit was filed last August, at a time when Hillary Clinton was considered the Democrat to beat for the nomination for president.

But events have changed since then, and Barack Obama now holds a lead over Clinton in the number of delegates. Sen. Clinton and her surrogates consistently say that part of her plan to overtake Obama includes getting the delegates from Florida and Michigan, even though critics and Obama supporters say that is tantamount to changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson also filed a lawsuit challenging the DNC for stripping the state’s Democratic delegates, that was also thrown out. In that case, Judge Robert Hinkle said the DNC has a right schedule its primaries when it wants to.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean has said that if the delegate question isn’t clear after the last primary in June, he will convene the Credentials Committee of the DNC to sort the mess out.

Steinberg, who just last month was elected as chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, said this lawsuit could solve Dean’s dilemma.

Among the proposals of what to do with Florida’s delegates is to evenly split them between Clinton and Obama, or have a do–over in the form of another election, perhaps as a Caucus. But there has been little enthusiasm for that, or for that matter, for the proposal of a mail-in vote offered two weeks ago by House Minority Leader Dan Gelber.

DiMaio says that won’t happen either.

There has been speculation that if Hillary Clinton were to have the disputed states of Florida and Michigan ended up being the difference in the tight race, or if the superdelegates were to decide In her favor, such an out come could alienate some Barack Obama supporters, many of whom have never before gotten involved in electoral politics.

But DiMaio emphasized that his fight is not about Clinton or Obama delegates.

DiMaio and Steinberg will have their day in Court against the DNC on March 17.

comments powered by Disqus