Howard Dean will not bend the party rules to grandfather in the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida, the Democratic party chairman said in a statement today.
Instead, he put the state parties on notice: either they can wait and allow the credentials committee to decide whether to seat their delegates, or submit to a re-vote sanctioned under DNC rules. "We look forward to receiving their proposals should they decide to submit new delegate selection plans and will review those plans at that time," he said in the statement.
"Everyone seems to be asking what the DNC will do," a Democrat close to Dean said. "But the question is: what will the state parties do."
Dean's statement implies that he has no intention of changing the rules to accommodate any solution proposed by the candidates or the state parties. There has been some suggestion that the two remaining presidential candidates might try to broker a deal among themselves. His line in the sand narrows the options for Hillary Clinton's campaign because it is unlikely that a credentials committee would endorse a delegation congenial to her mathematical interests.
Dean will make the rounds of the network morning news shows tomorrow to explain his reasoning.
The state parties better act quickly: they have to submit a new plan and run the contest before June 10.
Karen Thurman, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, issued a statement late Wednesday that seemed to discount the possibility of a second primary.
“It is important also that we are clear about one issue. At this time, no suggested alternative process has been able to meet three specific and necessary requirements: the full participation from both candidates, a guaranteed commitment of the millions of dollars it will cost to conduct the event and a detailed election plan that would enfranchise all Florida Democrats, including our military service members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The Florida Democratic Party cannot consider any alternative that does not meet these requirements. Indeed, it is very possible that no satisfactory alternative plan will emerge, in which case Florida Democrats will remain committed to seating the delegates allocated by the January 29th primary.
It's clear that whoever is the first to suggest a new primary would also to suggest a credible mechanism to pay for it.
The DNC stripped Florida and Michigan of 366 total delegates after the two states submitted delegate selection plans that violated party rules.
Here is Dean's full statement:
"We're glad to hear that the Governors of Michigan and Florida are willing to lend their weight to help resolve this issue. As we've said all along, we strongly encourage the Michigan and Florida state parties to follow the rules, so today's public overtures are good news. The rules, which were agreed to by the full DNC including representatives from Florida and Michigan over 18 months ago, allow for two options. First, either state can choose to resubmit a plan and run a party process to select delegates to the convention; second, they can wait until this summer and appeal to the Convention Credentials Committee, which determines and resolves any outstanding questions about the seating of delegates. We look forward to receiving their proposals should they decide to submit new delegate selection plans and will review those plans at that time. The Democratic Nominee will be determined in accordance with party rules, and out of respect for the presidential campaigns and the states that did not violate party rules, we are not going to change the rules in the middle of the game.
"Through all the speculation, we should also remember the overwhelming enthusiasm and turnout that we have already seen, and respect the voters of the ten states who have yet to have their say.
"As we head towards November, our nominee must have the united support of a strong Democratic Party that's ready to fight and ready to beat John McCain. After seven years of Republican rule, I am confident that we will elect a Democratic president who will fight for America's families in the White House. Now we must hear from the voters in twelve states and territories who have yet to make their voices heard."