Florida Republicans Creating Political Mischief for Democrats

Florida Democrats are in a bind because of a law passed by a Republican controlled Legislature and a Republican Governor. The Florida Legislature passed and Republican Governor Charlie Grist signed a law moving Florida’s Presidential Election to January 31, 2008.

Florida Democrats want the Primary vote for candidates to count in their selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention. As US News and World reports, the problem is that:

“In 2006, the Democratic National Committee voted to allow a handful of states to join the traditional “first” states of Iowa and New Hampshire in holding caucuses or primaries during the first five weeks of 2008; Florida was not among them. The rules were designed to create order, preserve tradition, and add diversity. But Florida decided to get more attention in the presidential sweepstakes, and that is creating bizarre possibilities”

“…the state could lose huge blocs of delegates to both national nominating conventions next summer. Republicans have left wiggle room to review state-by-state primary plans, probably this fall. The Democrats have gone further as disciplinarians, stipulating that any candidate campaigning in a state that violates the rules will be ineligible to win any of the state’s delegates. Florida Democrats could have avoided the problem by treating the January vote as a so-called beauty contest, without the power to choose delegates, but they decided to go ahead with a full-fledged primary.”

“While the GOP ponders its options, the DNC’s rules and bylaws panel is scheduled to consider the Florida situation on August 25, and DNC Chairman Howard Dean says the party won’t back down. “These are automatic sanctions,” says a Democratic strategist close to Dean. “Without these rules, all of the states would start leapfrogging.”

The Democratic National Committee is meeting today to decide the fate of Florida’s delegates if the Primary is held on January 29 in violation of the previously agreed upon rules for delegate selection and primary dates.

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