Michigan Democrats say no

April 4, 2008 6:57:23 PM PDT
Michigan Democrats are not going to hold a do-over presidential primary.

The state party's executive committee made it official Friday, saying "it is not practical" to conduct a party-run primary or caucus as a way to get the state's delegates seated at the Democratic National Convention this August in Denver.

Michigan and Florida were stripped of their convention delegates for moving up their primaries before Feb. 5 in defiance of party rules. Florida Democrats already had decided against holding a second primary election.

Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Jan. 15 Michigan primary. Rival Sen. Barack Obama had pulled his name from the ballot. Many of his supporters voted for uncommitted, which got 40 percent of the vote.

Michigan Democrats hope the campaigns can agree on a way to split Michigan's delegates so they can be seated at the convention.

The Obama campaign has called for splitting Michigan's 128 pledged delegates 50-50, regardless of Clinton's Jan. 15 win. The Clinton campaign so far has rejected that idea.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., in a letter this week to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, proposed awarding delegates based partly on Michigan's primary results and partly on the popular vote in all the nation's presidential primaries.

Dean reiterated that Michigan and Florida have two options: Either submit a new plan for choosing their convention delegates or appeal to the Convention Credentials Committee, which resolves issues about the seating of delegates.

Four top Michigan Democrats - Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger and Democratic National Committee member Debbie Dingell - have been working with the two campaigns and the state and national parties to find a way to seat the delegates.

After conferring by telephone Friday, the four and Dean said in a joint statement, "We have every expectation that we will succeed in that endeavor."

The Clinton campaign said it would be wrong to ignore the results of the Jan. 15 primary in which Clinton got 55 percent of nearly 600,000 votes cast.

"Already, over 100,000 people have signed our petition calling on the DNC to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida. We urge Sen. Obama to join our efforts to ensure that the votes of the people of Michigan and Florida are counted," Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the Illinois senator doesn't agree that the Jan. 15 results should affect how the delegates are divided.

"A 50-50 split of the delegates is an eminently fair solution, especially since originally Sen. Clinton herself said the Michigan primary wouldn't 'count for anything.' It's now up to the Clinton campaign: They can agree to a fair resolution or they can continue trying to score political points and change the rules," Plouffe said.

The Republican Party also penalized the two states for early primaries by cutting their delegate totals in half.