Delegate Battles Embroil 2 States
Remember Florida 2000? You ain't seen nothin' yet!
There's one lot wants their money back.
Reflecting how tense the situation has become, influential fund-raisers for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton have stepped up their behind-the-scenes pressure on national party leaders to resolve the matter, with some even threatening to withhold their donations to the Democratic National Committee unless it seats the delegates from the two states or holds new primaries there.
In the middle of it all the Clinton spin machine is flying into orbit:
Mrs. Clinton won the primaries in both states, but the contests were not sanctioned by the party, neither candidate campaigned in the states and Mr. Obama did not even put his name on the ballot in Michigan.Actually, Senator Clinton accidentally forgot to have her name taken off the ballot in Michigan, you know, a bit like forgetting to cancel the gym monthly payments...
And the "non-campaign" in Florida included a televised event in the state a couple of days before the vote (obviously a long-standing engagement that couldn't be re-arranged for the following week, you understand). In fact, the bit I really liked was the victory party for the non-campaign.
Pushing to seat the Florida delegates, at least one top Clinton fund-raiser, Paul Cejas, a Miami businessman who has given the Democratic National Committee $63,500 since 2003, has demanded Democratic officials return his 2007 contribution of $28,500, which they have agreed to do.
“If you’re not going to count my vote, I’m not going to give you my money,” said Mr. Cejas, who was the United States ambassador to Belgium from 1998 to 2001.
Hmm. Is it really legal to appoint as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium someone who's main qualification was to give under $30,000 a year? If buying ambassadorships is that cheap, can I have one?
The post is presumably important, given that the E.U., N.A.T.O., and a couple of other international bureaucracies are based there. Its not like Ambassador to St Lucia or Monte Carlo. Also, we can assume that the threat means Mr Cejas doesn't expect to get a big-time job this time. Is he worried the Democrats might lose?
Just in case you think Florida's bad...try Michigan:
The new vote, which would be run by state elections officials but financed with money raised from private sources, is far from a sure thing. It requires approval by the divided state legislature and from the Clinton and Obama campaigns. There is also no assurance that the party can quickly raise the estimated $10 million it would cost to redo the January contest.
Now you might be forgiven for thinking it was the Republicans stirring the pot and making it hard to arrange a re-vote. But no:
The person said that Michigan Republicans, who control the State Senate, said they would not stand in the way. But Democrats, who control the state House of Representatives, are divided between Clinton supporters and Obama supporters. “The Clinton people say they’re not going to block it,” the source said. “The question is what the Obama people are going to do.”
I always thought the Florida 2000 fraud claims were dubious: the Democrats in Florida have a rotten record of organizing elections, and in many of the areas where disputes occurred, the local election boards were, shall we say, not exactly in the hands of Karl Rove.
At stake is a net THIRTY-EIGHT DELEGATE gain for Senator Clinton. According to some counts, this reduces Senator Barack Obama's lead by a third.