Florida Democratic primary, 2008

The 2008 Democratic presidential primary in Florida took place on January 29, 2008. Sen. Hillary Clinton won with over 50 percent of the vote. The Democratic National Committee initially stripped Florida of all its delegates for holding the primary prior to February 5. However, on May 31 the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee voted to seat all of Florida's delegates, with each delegate having only half a vote.

Background

In August of 2006, the Democratic National Committee adopted a proposal by its Rules and Bylaws Committee that only four states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina would be permitted to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5, 2008.cite news
title=A Possibly Super Problem
url=http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21130
first=Michael
last=Tomasky
work=New York Review of Books
accessdate=2008-03-15
date=2008-03-20
] . In the spring of 2007, the Florida legislature passed by House Bill 537 [ [http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=35049 CS/HB 537 on State of Florida web site] ] which moved the date of the state's Republican and Democratic primaries to January 29th, a week before the earliest permitted date [cite web
url = http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/index.cfm?Mode=Bills&Submenu=1&BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Billnum=0537&Year=2007
title = House 0537: Relating to Elections
author = State of Florida House and Senate
date = 2007-05-21
] of both parties. The Democratic Party of Florida tried to amend the legislation and make the date February 5th. The Republican-controlled legislature refused. [cite web
url = http://www.fladems.com/content/w/party_statement_on_primary_situation
title = Party Statement on Primary Situation
]

In response, the Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee voted on August 25, 2007 that Florida was in violation of its rules, and gave the state 30 days' notice to change the date of its primary. As Florida did not respond, the Committee stripped Florida of its delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.cite web|url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1016/p01s01-uspo.html|title=www.csmonitor.com/2007/1016/p01s01-uspo.html ] On August 31, officials from the four approved early-voting states asked all the candidates to pledge not to campaign or participate in Florida, and all the major candidates signed the pledge. Despite the pledge, the major candidates remained on the ballot, as Florida rules do not allow candidates to remove their names without withdrawing completely from the general election. [cite web
url = http://www.fladems.com/page/content/makeitcount-faqs/#q17
title = Make It Count Florida
author = Florida Democratic Party
date = 2008-05-31
]

In October 2007, Democrats from Florida's congressional delegation filed a federal lawsuit against the DNC to force the recognition of its delegates: however the suit was unsuccessful.

Delegate controversy

On January 25, 2008, Hillary Clinton advocated permitting Florida's delegates (along with simarly situated Michigan's) to be seated and vote at the Convention [cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN2533575920080126|title=www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN2533575920080126 ] [cite web|url=http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/NEWS15/80125025/1004/NEWS02|title=www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/NEWS15/80125025/1004/NEWS02 ] despite the DNC ban, stating

I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. [cite web|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gR3WqJGTzfbQ71E5a1z5Jnp24O_gD8UD68I00|title=ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gR3WqJGTzfbQ71E5a1z5Jnp24O_gD8UD68I00 ]

Clinton's supporters argued that Michigan and Florida's citizens should participate in the nomination processes, and that it would be a mistake for the Democratic party to overlook the states that might be crucial in the November general election. They also argued that the Clinton campaign had not had a voice in the decision to strip Florida of its delegates.

Critics charged that changing the rules in this way was unfair and that Clinton's position was motivated purely by political expediency. [cite web|url=http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2008/01/hillary_clinton_trying_to_steal_nomination/|title=www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2008/01/hillary_clinton_trying_to_steal_nomination/ ] [cite web|url=http://www.rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs/index.php/2008/01/25/clinton-rewrite-the-rules-for-me/|title=www.rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs/index.php/2008/01/25/clinton-rewrite-the-rules-for-me/ ] [cite web|url=http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/any-means-necessary/?ref=opinion|title=opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/any-means-necessary/?ref=opinion] Among their arguments was that neither Clinton nor her campaign had made any public protest when Florida's punishment had first been announced in August 2007; that Clinton was adopting this position only after results from the first primaries had made it apparent that the campaign was not running the way she had expected; that Clinton, along with other candidates, had signed the pledge not to campaign or participate in Florida; and that at the time the pledge was signed, Clinton's then campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle had proclaimed that cquote|We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process.... We believe the DNC's rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar.

Candidates

*Hillary Clinton
*John Edwards
*Mike Gravel
*Barack Obama

Candidates Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Bill Richardson dropped out of the presidential race before the Florida primary. However, they remained on the ballot. [cite web|url=http://enight.dos.state.fl.us/2008PPP/20080129_DEM_SUM_PRE.html|title=enight.dos.state.fl.us/2008PPP/20080129_DEM_SUM_PRE.html ]

Polling

Campaign

Although Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards had pledged not to campaign in the state, supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton conducted unofficial campaign efforts, and over 350,000 Democratic voters had cast early ballots as of January 25, 2008. [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/us/politics/27florida.html?_r=1&oref=slogin|title=www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/us/politics/27florida.html?_r=1&oref=slogin ] Mike Gravel was the only candidate to openly campaign in the state. [cite web | url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/27/all-but-gravel-shun-fla-convention/ | title=All but Gravel Shun Fla. Convention | last=Wheaton | first=Sarah | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-10-27 ] [cite web | url=http://www.gravel2008.us/events | title=Mike Gravel campaign events listing | publisher=Mike Gravel for President 2008 ]

Clinton fundraising visits

Two days before the January 29th election, Hillary Clinton visited Florida and held three fundraisers. On election day senator Clinton returned to Florida and held a rally after polls closed to celebrate her victory. While these visits were permitted fundraisers, the timing raised controversy among Obama supporters. [cite news
title=Campaigns spar in Florida: Clinton's visits were against Democrats' rules, Obama fans say
url=http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/01/28/FLA28.ART_ART_01-28-08_A1_AO96BHC.html?sid=101
publisher=The Columbus Dispatch
author=Jonathan Riskind
date=2008-01-28
accessdate=2008-05-14
] [cite news
title=Senator earns 1st GOP-only victory
url=http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20080130/1a_offlede30_dom.art.htm
publisher=USA Today
author=Martha T. Moore
date=2008-01-3-
quote=Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton held a rally in Florida after polls closed Tuesday to celebrate her victory in the Democratic primary, although she won no delegates.
accessdate=2008-05-14
]

Obama campaign advertisement

In the run-up to Super Tuesday on February 5, the Obama campaign ran a nationwide television advertising campaign that was shown in all states, including Florida. Obama's campaign asked for the ads not to be shown in Florida, but were told by the cable networks this was not possible. [ [http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080123/NEWS/801230668 HeraldTribune.com - News - News stories about Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in Florida, from the newspapers of record. - HeraldTribune.com ] ] The campaign then sought and received permission to run the ad from South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler as at that point South Carolina had not already voted. [cite news
title=Obama's CNN ad draws fire
url=http://www.sptimes.com/2008/01/22/State/Obama_s_CNN_ad_draws_.shtml
author=Adam C. Smith
work=St. Petersburg Times
publisher=St. Petersburg Times
accessdate=2008-04-25
date=2008-01-22
quote=The cable networks could not eliminate Florida from the national buy, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said, so the campaign sought and received permission from South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler.
] Clinton adviser Harold M. Ickes has claimed that this violated Obama's pledge not to campaign in the state.

Results

{| border="1" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" style="margin: 1em 1em 0 0; font-size: 95%; text-align:right;"
-bgcolor="#EEEEEE" align="center"! colspan="6" | Florida Democratic presidential primary, 2008 [cite web |url=http://election.dos.state.fl.us/elections/resultsarchive/SummaryRpt.asp?ElectionDate=1/29/2008&Race=PRE&Party=DEM&DATAMODE= |title=January 29, 2008 Presidential Preference: Democratic Primary |accessdate=2008-03-01 |publisher=Florida Department of State]
-bgcolor="#EEEEEE" align="center"! rowspan="2" style="width: 17em"|Candidate! rowspan="2" style="width: 5em"|Votes! rowspan="2" style="width: 7em"|Percentage! colspan="3" |Delegates [ [http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/FL-D.phtml Green Papers] ] cite news |url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10732.html |title=DNC panel agrees to seat Mich., Fla. |accessdate=2008-06-04 |first=Amie |last=Parnes |coauthors=Avi Zenilman |date=2008-05-31 |work=Politico ]
-bgcolor="#EEEEEE" align="center"! style="width: 5em" | Primary Result! style="width: 5em" | RBC Allocation*! style="width: 5em" | Estimated Current** [cite web |url=http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/2008/05/what-happens-to-edwards-delegates.html |title=What happens to Edwards' delegates? |work=Democratic Convention Watch |accessdate=2008-06-04 ]
-
align="left"| Hillary Clinton
870,986
49.77%
105
52.5
52.5
-
align="left"| Barack Obama
576,214
32.93%
67
33.5
38.5
-
align="left"| John Edwards
251,562
14.38%
13
6.5
1.5
-bgcolor=#FFE8E8
align="left"| "Joe Biden"
"15,704"
"0.90%"
"0"
"0"
"0"
-bgcolor=#FFE8E8
align="left"| "Bill Richardson"
"14,999"
"0.86%"
"0"
"0"
"0"
-bgcolor=#FFE8E8
align="left"| "Dennis Kucinich"
"9,703"
"0.55%"
"0"
"0"
"0"
-bgcolor=#FFE8E8
align="left"| "Christopher Dodd"
"5,477"
"0.31%"
"0"
"0"
"0"
-
align="left"| Mike Gravel
5,275
0.30%
0
0
0
-bgcolor="#EEEEEE" style="margin-right:0.5em"
Totals
1,749,920
100.00%
185
92.5
92.5*As awarded by the May 31, 2008, meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC). **Subsequently some Edwards delegates switched to Obama.

Proposed revote

Shortly after February 5th's Super Tuesday contests, the media and some politicians like Iowa Senator Tom Harkin [cite web|url=http://www.iowaindependent.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1950|title=http://www.iowaindependent.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1950 ] began to endorse the idea of a possible revote in Florida and Michigan. However, the cost of an all mail-in Florida primary has been estimated at greater than 4 million dollars, a price tag that neither the DNC nor the state party may be willing to pay [cite web|url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/11/price-tag-precludes-revo_n_86119.html|title=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/11/price-tag-precludes-revo_n_86119.html ] .

Republican Governor Charlie Crist has announced his support for another Democratic primary, though he opposes using government funds to cover the expenses. Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Thurman has stated that a new contest would have to meet three requirements: both Obama and Clinton would have to fully participate, there would have to be sufficient funding provided, and all registered Florida Democrats -- including those out of state -- would have to be able to participate.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean stated that he was encouraged by Governor Crist's support, and that Florida Democrats could "resubmit a plan and run a party process to select delegates to the convention." Cite web|title=Dean Statement on Florida and Michigan|url=http://www.democrats.org/a/2008/03/dean_statement_45.php|author=Democratic National Committee|date=2008-03-05|accessdate=2008-03-06] On Friday, March 7, 2008 Newsweek reported, "A plan to raise soft money to pay for a second Florida Democratic primary -- this one by mail -- seems close to approval, according to Sen. Bill Nelson." [Cite web|title=Deal Close for 2nd Fla. Primary|url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/119901|author=Newsweek|date=2008-03-07|accessdate=2008-03-07] On March 17, 2008, a letter from the Florida Democratic Party was released indicating that a revote would not occur. [cite web |url=http://thepage.time.com/florida-democratic-party-letter-on-revote-decision/ |title=Florida Democratic Party Letter on Revote Decision |accessdate=2008-03-17]

The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee

On May 31, 2008, The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee decided to seat all of Florida's delegates according to the primary results, but to give each delegate only half a vote at the Convention.Cite web|title= Dem panel votes to seat all Florida delegates with half votes|url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/31/dems.delegates/index.html|author=Candy Crowley, Ed Hornick, Alexander Mooney, Mark Preston, Josh Rubin, Bill Schneider and Rebecca Sinderbrand|date=2008-05-31|accessdate=2008-05-31]

Before the Democratic Convention, Florida, as well as Michigan, were approved with full votes. All 211 delegates were given full voting abilities. They voted during the role call. The majority for Obama.

ee also

* Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
* Florida Republican primary, 2008
* Michigan Democratic primary, 2008

References

External links

* [http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=45&year=2008&elect=1 US Election Atlas]
* [http://florida-delegates.com/ Democratic National Convention Florida Delegate Seating]
* [http://www.select2008.com Select2008's] virtual primaries let voters influence superdelegates


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