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« MI Deal In The Works? | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: The More Things Change... »

FL, MI Deals Reached

After a three-hour lunch meeting in which Rules and Bylaws Committee members privately argued over solutions by which delegates from Michigan and Florida will be seated at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer, committee members surprised observers by returning two quick verdicts.

The committee agreed unanimously with a proposal offered early this morning from Florida DNC member Jon Ausman, under which the Sunshine State will send a full compliment of 185 delegates to Denver, all of whom will have one half of one vote. An initial motion to seat every Florida delegate with a full vote failed, though by a surprisingly narrow 12-15 margin.

Michigan, which initially moved its primary to January 15 in violation of DNC rules, caused significantly more consternation during deliberations today. But after extended negotiations, a motion from Virginia committee member Mame Reiley, a Clinton backer, allocated 69 delegates to Hillary Clinton and 59 delegates to Barack Obama, each delegate with half a vote, passed by a 19-8 margin.

Dissenting members, largely backing Clinton, criticized the motion for what they said was a violation of a party rule known as fair reflection, arguing that by removing four delegates from the 73 Clinton would have gained out of Michigan, the process was unfair.

Overall, Clinton earned nineteen net delegates from Florida and five from Michigan, before super delegates from both states will be included. With the additional delegates allowed seats in Denver, the magic number Clinton and Obama strive for will be 2,118, up from the 2,026 delegates needed before today.

Not everyone left the hall happy, though. As co-chairs James Roosevelt and Alexis Herman attempted to gavel the meetings to a close, protests erupted in the back of the hall. "I'm not voting for Barack Obama!" shouted one woman, while others chanted, "Madam President!"

But ten hours after the committee convened, the specter of a nomination by just 48 states has been excised. The Rules and Bylaws Committee will next meet to offer their final report to the convention credentials committee in late June, a meeting Roosevelt promised to arrange by telephone.