DNC member balks at delegate plan

May 29, 2008 5:52:52 PM PDT
A top Clinton supporter in Michigan said Thursday the state Democratic Party's plan to split the convention delegates between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama is "fatally flawed." Democratic National Committee member Joel Ferguson sent a letter Thursday to the co-chairs of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee seeking to seat all of Michigan's delegates based on the results of the disputed Jan. 15 election. Failing that, he says the pledged delegates should get a half-vote each and superdelegates should get a full vote, a plan Florida also is proposing.

Clinton, who won Michigan's primary, wants to have the full delegation seated. Obama, who is close to having enough delegates to lock up the nomination, has opposed that, noting he took his name off the Michigan ballot after the DNC said it would strip the state of its delegates as punishment for moving up its primary date in violation of party rules.

The rules committee is to meet Saturday to hear plans for seating delegates from Michigan and Florida, which was also stripped of its delegates for holding a January primary.

His letter puts him at odds with the Michigan Democratic Party's chairman and executive committee, which support a proposed 69-59 split.

State Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer disagreed with Ferguson. Under Ferguson's plan, Clinton would get 73 pledged delegates for winning the Michigan presidential primary, while "uncommitted" would get 55. The Clinton campaign has maintained that Obama should not get any Michigan delegates even though many of his supporters voted for "uncommitted."

"I am convinced that neither the RBC nor the DNC have the authority to take pledged delegates allocated to Hillary Clinton by virtue of the popular vote and assign them to either Uncommitted or to Barack Obama as the challenge seeks," Ferguson wrote in his letter.

The plan to split the delegates 69-59 was drawn up by a four-member team of prominent Michigan Democrats.

"We spent a lot of time working with both campaigns trying to figure out a solution," DNC member Debbie Dingell, who helped draw up the plan, said Thursday. "This is a consensus that was agreed to and the entire executive committee supported. At this point, we're fighting for a principle that's important."