A Prominent New Hampshire Democrat Endorses Full FL/MI Delegation Seatings

Amb. Terry Scumaker is, indeed, a long-time supporter of Hillary Clinton's, but he is also a long-time supporter of the DNC rules process and a partisan of New Hampshire. He wrote today to members of the rules and bylaws committee:

Dear RBC Members:

I do not envy you your current assignment. To be clear, I write to you in my personal capacity as a lifelong Democrat, forty year participant in and defender of the NH Primary and as a former member of the DNC and the 2005 DNC Primary Calendar Commission--and not as the representative of any campaign or organization.

To those of you I know personally, including Chairs Roosevelt and Herman, Don and Carol Fowler, Elaine K., Sen. Clark, Harold, Donna and Tina, please accept my apologies for a group email, but time and my limited technical abilities did not permit otherwise.

As many of you know, we Granite Staters feel extremely strongly about our first in the nation primary and have gone to great lengths to preserve our tradition. At the same time, as one of the original 13 states whose motto is "Live Free or Die", we cherish democracy and our ancestors put their lives and honor on the line for our independence. I believe strongly that the delegates from Florida and Michigan, who were chosen in state certified elections by over 2.3 million people, must be seated or our party will make a mockery of our democracy and itself and will pay a heavy price in November. It appears we will need at least one of those states to win back the White House.

Sen. Levin and NH did not see eye to eye during the primary Commission meetings on many points so it would understandable for us to say seat Florida, but not Michigan, but that would be wrong. The voters of those states had no say in setting their primary dates. I perceive little difference between issues presented by the Florida and Michigan delegations so they should be treated the same. First of all, Sen. Obama took himself off the Michigan ballot presumably to curry favor in Iowa, and perhaps that worked. His absence from the ballot is a "red herring" in your deliberations. He made his decision not knowing what you would do about the delegates and therefore must bear the consequences just as Sen. Clinton did when she signed the pledge proposed by the chairs of the four early state democratic parties.

To say that 2.3 million voters in FL/MI did not know what they were doing when they took time out of their busy lives to go vote is insulting to their intelligence. Our party should never demean voters' intelligence or participation in democracy by voiding valid ballots cast. Please be assured that there is absolutely no clamor in our state to bar the delegates from Florida or Michigan from the convention because they moved their dates. Indeed, I believe the reverse is the case and that if asked, people here would say "count the votes and seat the delegates, that is the only fair thing to do"

As a lawyer, I believe in the rule of law, and that rules should be followed. However, as we lawyers also like to say, it is the exception that proves the rule. Even statutes must bow to the constitution and this is an analogous situation. The DNC rules must bow to the contstitutional principle that every vote be counted -- especially when it is in our party and our nominee's interest in November to do so. Our party can stand for nothing less and if the movie "Recount" didnt reaffirm that for all of us, we are missing the point. The American people won't, and the GOP will make sure they don't.

If the candidates and two states can agree on a reasonable compromise, I hope you will support it. If not, I urge you to vote to seat the entire delegations of both states. Thank you for listening.


Terry Shumaker
U.S. Ambassador, ret.
Concord, New Hampshire