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« MI's Case: Electability, History | Blog Home Page | MI Deal In The Works? »

Ickes And "Fair Reflection"

As the Rules and Bylaws Committee prepares to break for lunch in advance of debate over solutions to the Michigan and Florida conundrums, Hillary Clinton backer Harold Ickes has signaled that his argument on Michigan will center on the concept of "fair reflection." By invoking Rule 13 of the Democratic Party's delegate selection rules, Ickes hopes to win delegates beyond the 69 of 128 a group of prominent Michiganders have proposed.

"Delegates shall be allocated in a fashion that fairly reflects the expressed presidential preference, or uncommitted status of the primary voters or, if there is no binding primary, the convention and/or caucus participants," Rule 13(a) says. Clinton's campaign is defending the 56% of the vote she won on January 15, arguing that any allocation of delegates below the 73 that amount gives her would violate the fair reflection rule.

An important second point about Rule 13: Should the remaining delegates, allocated when voters cast ballots for the "undeclared" option on the ballot, be seated, the committee will then have to decide who controls selection of those delegates.

"If a presidential candidate (including uncommitted status) has qualified to receive delegates and alternates but has failed to slate a sufficient number of delegate and alternate candidates, then additional delegates and alternates for that preference will be selected in a special post-primary procedure," Rule 13(c) states. Whether the Obama campaign controls access to that post-primary procedure, in which delegate slots become named delegates, will be hotly contested by the Clinton campaign.

However, it is highly unlikely that the Rules and Bylaws Committee will adopt any plan that would not hand full control of at least 59 delegates -- or 29.5 total delegate votes -- to Obama.